October Festivals in the Smokies
By Bennie McCann © 2008, All Rights Reserved

According to the National Park Service, the Great Smoky Mountain National Park is the most visited national park in the country. The Smokies are filled with wildlife, waterfalls, and historic buildings. While all of these are definitely sights worth seeing, one of the main attractions comes in the fall when the Smoky Mountains show off their artwork in the form of beautiful scenery, inspirational music and traditional crafts.

During the month of October, the leaves begin to change and Mother Nature puts on her annual art show with exhibits of amazing color. Enjoy the performance art of music as numerous entertainers fill the air with toe-tappin’, hand-clappin’ gospel music during this month as well. Artisans from all over the south will also gather in the Smokies to display the art of craft making that has been handed down for generations. Just take a peek at the opportunities that await you in October.

Your Own Private Viewing

October starts a pilgrimage to the Smoky Mountains for those who love the turning of the leaves. Once green and brown, the trees make an unforgettable transformation into brilliant shades of red, gold, and orange. The mountains suddenly become a canvas that could have been painted by Monet himself. This great show of color is a must see, but with so many visitors the roads through the mountains can quickly become crowded. Don’t let that discourage you, though. Here are some tips for taking in the beauty without becoming part of the multitude.

If you plan an overnight trip to the Smoky Mountains, plan to rent a nearby cabin. By staying in a cabin you’ll find yourself nestled in the middle of the breathtaking scenery while enjoying peace and quiet. Perhaps your trip is only for a day. In that case, take a hike on one of the many trails that wind through the park. Trails range from those for the inexperienced hikers to ones for the tried and true experts. Hiking gives you an up close and tranquil view of the gorgeous fall foliage instead of seeing it through the window of your car.

That Good Ole Gospel Music

During the month of October you can enjoy the art of music at Dollywood’s National Gospel & Harvest Celebration. Over 30 popular gospel groups will perform more than 250 free concerts that are sure to lift your spirits. Jeff and Sheri Easter, Kingdom Heirs, Paid In Full and The Kingsmen are just a few of the groups that will be there to entertain you at the biggest southern gospel festival in the Smokies. If you find yourself hungry at the end of the show, visit one of the many booths offering dishes prepared from local ingredients. Traditional favorites such as fried green tomatoes are just one of the many treats available to purchase.

Generation after Generation

Voted one of the top 20 events by the Southeast Tourism Society, the Craftsmen’s Fair in Gatlinburg is truly amazing. You’ll find this collection of more than 200 artisans at the Gatlinburg Convention Center. Not only can you buy their works of art, but you can also watch as they create these treasures using techniques that have been passed down for generations. Looking for a birthday or Christmas gift? What about a treat for yourself? You’ll find countless unique works of art at the October Craftsmen’s Fair.

You'll find magnificent exhibits of all types in the sights and sounds of the Smoky Mountains. With so much to do in October, you'll want to make your plans now so you won't miss a minute of the fun.