The Townsend Spring Festival is Friday and Saturday, May 3-4, 2019, and features all day and nighttime Bluegrass performances from dozens of musicians and bands. There’s also lots of food, arts & crafts, kid’s activities and other festivities! A parking pass for $10-20 is all it takes to join in the fun – bring your lawn chairs.
For the 34th year, Pigeon Forge holds its annual spring parade, on Friday, May 3, 2019 starting at 6 pm. It’s the Music in the Mountains Parade, northbound on Parkway from Traffic Light #6 to Light # 3.
The parade welcomes back baseball legend Cal Ripken, Jr again as Grand Marshal, and this year he is joined by Paula Deen, to lead the parade in a grand celebration of Smoky Mountains heritage and Music
Here’s what’s happening in the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge area in May, 2019. How merry is the month of May in the Smoky Mountains? Plenty! There are several festivals and events happening, so read on and choose from the selection below.
Gwendolyn is a lifestyle blogger who lives with her husband and daughter in East Tennessee, and runs the website Finding Sanity in Our Crazy Life. Recently she visited the Smoky Mountains area with a large group of other women for a ladies’ church retreat, and she chose to stay in one of our luxury cabins and share her thoughts about the trip on her blog.
Like many people, Gwendolyn was drawn to Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains for a vacation because the area is home to many different kinds of attractions, activities, and dining options that can please every member of a large group.
However, even when you choose a destination that has something for everyone, it can still be difficult to coordinate accommodations for a large group traveling together, especially without having to fuss with multiple hotel rooms, adjoining rooms, being spread out across the town, and other headaches. That’s why Gwendolyn and her crew were so pleased to discover Cabins of the Smoky Mountains, as we were able to provide her and her group with a relaxing and functional space where they could all enjoy their time away together.
The largest community of independent artisans in the nation is right here in Gatlinburg. They’ve been busy in winter, working on their latest creations. And on Wednesday through Saturday, April 17-20, they gather again to show it all off in the 2019 Easter Craft Show – admission Free!
Hosted in the huge Gatlinburg Convention Center at traffic light #8, the show regales the visitor with display after display of totally unique and high-quality, handcrafted items. The artists themselves are also in attendance, most of them actually at work on their craft, and all of them with endless patience to explain the finer points to all comers.
There’s quite a sight to see in downtown Pigeon Forge this April 11-13 as the Spring Rod Run comes to town. This event, as in years past, celebrates classic and muscle cars cruising the strip with an all day and late-night street party and festivities. Hundreds of vehicles are expected, giving visitors plenty to see and do.
Here’s what’s happening in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge in this month of April, 2019. There’s a lot going on as always – see the full list below.
And note our current Cabin Specials with deals up to HALF-PRICE. Check the Specials page for our Two Weekends in May 50% off large cabins (round up the gang!) as well as our Weeknights (Sun-Thurs through May 17) “Buy 2 Get 2 Free” specials on all cabins – that’s half price on a 4-night stay!
UPDATE: The Lottery for a parking pass to view the Synchronous Fireflies is open April 26-29. You can register here: recreation.gov. Lottery winners will be announced May 10. The dates for the viewing are May 30 – June 5, 2019.
March 16-April 14. At Dollywod, the annual Festival of Nations is in full swing, and will continue through April 14. A visit to Dollywood is always an adventure and Festival of Nations brings a multi-cultural world of food, dance, costume and song.
April 6. You can Sleep With The Sharks at Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg. This opportunity occurs a few times each year, and kids love it. If you’re 5 years old or above, you can spend the evening watching a diving show, participating in a scavenger hunt and late night activity, and then drift off to sleep while the sharks keep a watchful eye on you!
April 6-7. The first full weekend of April always brings the annual Spring Smoky Mountain Trout Tournament, a fun time for fishing in the best local waters, stocked with trout. Many prizes for young and old. See our feature story for full information.
April 8-10. Townsend, a few miles to the west of Gatlinburg, offers a visit to the Quiet Side of the Smoky Mountains. Close to Cades Cove, the town has unique events year round at its Heritage Center. You can see some custom jewelry on these dates, and more by different artists on April 15-18 and 19-20. Tuesdays are special too, with afternoon programs in summer. Want some expert advice on how to can food properly? On April 23 you can get some. Check the calendar for more.
April 11-13. Pigeon Forge hosts the annual Spring Rod Run, when the town fills up with muscle cars and gleaming chrome in the great American sport of Cruising the Strip. It’s a friendly – and congested – street party for 3 days.
April 11-13. Out in Townsend meanwhile, there’s a gathering of Ford Broncos in the largest Bronco show in the country. The Bronco Super Celebration features daily scenic drives in the mountains, food trucks, kid’s games, vendors and contest awards.
April 12-13. The Wine Weekend offers a chance to sample wines from Tennessee wineries along with small dish fare from some of the best restaurants in the Smoky Mountains. This is a popular event held on the campus of Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts – and any reason to visit this scenic campus in Gatlinburg is worth taking, for an in-town getaway.
April 12-14. Townsend hosts its annual Fiber Arts Festival at the Heritage Center, a place filled with history and local lore. Not all the artisans are in Gatlinburg: there are weavers and spinners out this way also, and this show presented by the Artisan Guild will demonstrate the “sheep to shawl” process with llamas, sheep, goats and angora rabbits.
April 12-14. Meanwhile in Gatlinburg, one of the largest communities in the country of independent artisans offers a chance to visit studios and enroll in personal instruction in a number of genres. This is Hands-On Gatlinburg, a recent festival that has become extremely popular, and now offers both a Spring and Fall event.
April 17-20. The Great Smoky Easter Arts and Crafts Show is a free event in Gatlinburg where many of the local artisans show their wares and demonstrate how to make them. These are always fun shows, with unique handmade items of high quality, to buy or simply peruse.
April 20. Breakfast or Brunch with the Easter Bunny. Every year there’s a chance in Pigeon Forge to spend brunch with the Easter Bunny at The Old Mill Pottery House Cafe & Grille from 9:30-11:00 am. After breakfast enjoy door prizes and activities for kids. Reservations are required – call (865) 428-0771.
April 20. After brunch with the Easter Bunny, step over to Patriot Park for the annual Easter Egg Hunt. Pigeon Forge hosts this free event for all kids ages 0-12, with thousands of eggs and also prizes. This usually starts at noon but get there early to be safe, and the action will be happening from 11 am on.
April 21. There are many places of worship in the area, but the Easter Sunrise service at the top of the mountain at Ober Gatlinburg is one of the more unique. The Aerial Tramway offers a free round trip that morning from downtown Gatlinburg.
April 24-27. The Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage annual event has been held since 1950 each year in spring. This is the short window of just a few weeks that produces a miraculous display of millions of vibrant flowers in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Pilgrimage ranks as the best way to explore many of the wildflower highlights. Led by experts and park rangers, the Pilgrimage draws people from all over the world to view the wildflower profusion.
April 26. It’s Earth Day and Earth Week, and runners and walkers are invited to celebrate by participating in the annual Earth Day 5k Run/Walk in downtown Gatlinburg. This is a night race scheduled to start at 10:00 pm. Athletes of all ages are welcome to participate in this USATF sanctioned event.
April 27. Just a few miles up the road from Pigeon Forge, at NASCAR Speedpark in Sevierville, it’s race day for walkers and runners – especially those who want to take their dog along. The Fourth Annual Color Me Mutt 5K features awards and medals in several categories, and a Pet Parade. Non-toxic fun colors are available to liven up your looks, and all proceeds go to help service dogs.
April 28 – May 5. The Yellow Mustang Registry Gathering offers yet another gathering of classic vehicles, this time it’s the Ford pony. This annual event is located at The Christmas Place Inn on Parkway in Pigeon Forge. View mustangs from the 60’s to current models. Call 888-465-9644 for information.
April 30. Finish off the month with some Appalachian music. Head to Townsend and the Smoky Mountain Heritage Center to hear the highly acclaimed Libby Weitnauer Perform Appalachian Music – with a jam session afterwards. Libby is both a classical violinist and a fiddle player of the more traditional sounds of Appalachia. Bring your instrument to jam after the show! It’s just another Tuesday at the Heritage Center, and the show is at 2 pm.
That’s the roundup for April. There are always plenty of things to do in the Smoky Mountains area, whether taking in the shows in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, the numerous outdoor Smoky Mountains activities, exploring the countless things to do in Gatlinburg with kids, or just hanging in the cabin.
The first full weekend in April means it’s time for the 21st Annual Spring Smoky Mountain Trout Tournament, on Saturday and Sunday, April 6-7, 2019. Cash and gift prizes are awarded in multiple categories, with hundreds of entrants fishing, and thousands of rainbow trout stocked in over 20 miles of local streams.
Keeping things fair, there are different divisions for children and adults as well as for locals and visitors – but wait, it’s even more fair than that, with a $500 cash prize for largest trout caught AND $500 for the smallest trout caught! A total of $10,000 is awarded in the spring and fall contests, while 10,000 trout are stocked each year in the largest trout tournament in the Smokies, acclaimed as the best.
The world-famous Synchronous Fireflies natural occurrence will happen again this year, in early June 2019, in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and surrounding area. Now is the time to be thinking about how to to watch this unique event that, outside of the U.S., happens only in southeast Asia.
There are two ways to get a seat at the show.
Shay is a mother of seven who blogs about her family life and a variety of topics at Wonderfully Chaotic, and recently she and her husband brought their family to Gatlinburg for a vacation. Shay and her family stayed in The Crown Jewel, one of our 5-bedroom luxury cabins that sleeps up to 18 people. After the trip, she shared her unique perspective about what makes our cabins such a great choice for anyone trying to navigate the complexities of traveling with a large group of friends or family.