Bluegrass and Hot Rods: September 2018 in the Smokies

Two completely opposite events are happening in the Pigeon Forge area Thursday through Saturday, September 13-15, 2018. There’s the astonishingly muscular Fall Rod Run classic car event in Pigeon Forge, and to the north a little ways in Kodak is the astonishingly musical Dumplin Valley Bluegrass Festival. Take your choice!

Fall Rod Run

In Pigeon Forge the local event is the Fall Rod Run, which fills the town with thousands of horsepower and a myriad gleaming paint jobs, as the classic cars and hot rods swarm into town to cruise the strip, compete in multiple categories for cash prizes worth $10,000, and generally have a nice time.

image courtesy of the Rod Run

Traffic gets a little congested,. as you might expect, and Parkway is the strip for cruising, late into the night. So plan on walking, bring a lawn chair and and gaze at all the cars during those days. The crowd, as with every event in this area, is super friendly.

The headquarters for the Rod Run is the LeConte Center, which hosts the huge Swap Meet and hundreds of show cars. It’s on Teaster Lane, close to The Island. There’s plenty of free parking, and some very fancy wheels on display.

The event draws thousands of extra visitors to Pigeon Forge, so expect a bustle around town. But if you want a party, here’s one that lasts three days.

See the Rod Run website for full details. And here’s some video:

Dumplin Valley Bluegrass Festival

And now for something completely different! If you want to get out of town and listen to some great bluegrass and country music, at a super kid-friendly event with some of the best music in the Smoky Mountains, then Dumplin Farm is where you’re headed.

The 19th Annual Dumplin Valley Bluegrass Festival takes place to the north of Pigeon Forge just a few miles, at Kodak where the Smokies Stadium is. Dumplin Farm is an easy drive, and has an RV camp and campground, which people book often a year ahead of time to be at the festival. Drop-ins are more than welcome, with tickets at the gate available daily.

The event attracts amazing talent for such a little-known festival. It draws around 3,000 attendees, and this year features 15 acts, performing from noon until 11 pm, with a “supper break” around 5 pm – and sometimes some late night jamming after hours that just goes on until everybody is plumb full of happiness. Many of those campers have non-professional musicians in them also, so music jams can break out at any time, day or night.

Children are more than welcome, in fact it wouldn’t be Dumplin Farm without them. Kids 12 and under get in FREE. The venue is covered, so rain is not a problem, with a huge tent area and a converted barn. There are clean restrooms, a spacious lawn to play on, and no alcohol for sale.

We should mention the food. It’s wonderful home cooking with good ingredients, and with many local treats including the legendary Dale’s Fried Pies! There are food trucks, merchandise vendors, and people who love great music, as well as know how to play it. Bring a lawn chair and come visit the Dumplin Valley Bluegrass Festival.

For more information check the Festival website and Facebook page.

Here’s a video about the event:


About Tony Perez

I'm a people person, and I enjoy the atmosphere that working with Cabins Of The Smoky Mountains entails, interacting with different types of people and trying to relate to each one uniquely. From Michigan originally, I've been coming to the Smoky Mountains since I was a child, with family in Wears Valley. Summer fun for me is exploring the Cades Cove area, swimming in the creeks, and hiking Mount LeConte and many other trails. I love the Smoky Mountains.