The Great Smoky Mountain Hot Air Balloon Festival will light up the Smokies on Saturday August 18, 2018. Beginning at 3 p.m. and culminating with a spectacular glowing extravaganza, the second annual Great Smoky Mountain Balloon Festival is scheduled at The Townsend Visitors Center at 7006 SE. Lamar Alexander Parkway in Townsend, Tennessee.
Although the balloons will not be launched, short tethered rides (weather permitting) will be available. A short-aside here; hot air balloons cannot fly in rain because the heat from inside the balloon would cause the rain water to boil thus melting the balloon – not an adventure you want to encounter. Rides are scheduled from 6 pm – 8 pm and last approximately 5 -7 minutes rising to a height of about 30 feet. Tickets, for ages 8 and above, are $20 per person.
Visitors will also enjoy an up close look at the colorful and often whimsical balloons, the mechanism involved in launching them, and the huge wicker passenger baskets.
Balloons which glow for more than an hour, beginning about 8pm and lasting until 9:30pm, will provide a dramatic focal point for Tennessee’s famed sunsets. If inclement weather occurs, balloonist will perform a candlestick glow.
No outside food or beverages are permitted but there will be plenty of food vendors to satisfy every palate. A craft beer tent will offer a variety of regional brews and Nine Lakes Wine Country Wine Tasting is scheduled from 3pm-9pm. Tickets for the wine sampling (which includes a commemorative wine glass and wine tote) are $10. Wines will also be available for purchase by the bottle or case during the event. The wine garden opens at 3 p.m. and closes at 9 p.m.
Additional family friendly activities include live entertainment, arts and craft vendors; face painting; Eurobungy; a rock climbing wall; a trackless train, and a fun-filled water balloon war for the more intrepid.
Bring your camera-take your best shot and enter the GSM Hot Air Balloon Photo contest. Photos can be submitted to KMitchel@blountpartnership.com and should be accompanied by your name, phone number and a brief description of where it was taken.
Parking passes may be purchased online at brownpapertickets.com for $20 and guarantees a parking spot. Cost to park on the day of the event is $25. There is no handicap parking but shuttles will be provided for anyone needing assistance. The parking lot opens at 2:30 p.m.
This is a rain or shine event and parking passes are non-refundable. Pets are welcomed but must be leashed and poop bags are required. Be warned: inflating balloons is a noisy process and may frighten four-legged friends.
Smoky Mountain Bears are the symbol of the Smokies and sighting one is always a special event! With the tourist season in full swing and a record number of visitors to the Smoky Mountains predicted this summer, along with reports from National Park rangers of increased bear activity, the opportunities for an encounter with the Smoky’s most iconic symbol have increased as well. Approximately 1,600 black bears live in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and this year sightings and encounters seem to be on the rise.
There are a few things that visitors and locals alike need to know regarding black bears in the Great Smoky Mountains.
For many, spotting a bear is the most exciting part of their vacation in the Smokies. And rightly so, the majestic creatures are truly a sight to behold and their furry cuteness creates some sort of romantic notion about their gentleness. However, bears in the Great Smoky Mountains Park are wild creatures and can be dangerously unpredictable. At speeds of 30 mph, black bears can outrun, outclimb, and outswim humans.
Pigeon Forge Welcome Home Veterans Parade. Join the fun in Pigeon Forge and salute America’s military veterans at The Veterans Homecoming Parade on Saturday, August 18th at 9:00 a.m.
The parade route will proceed along the parkway in the shadow of Mount LeConte and the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Floats of all kinds will follow the Grand Marshall up the parkway. Visitors can expect to see vintage and modern military vehicles and patriotic motorcycle clubs, Shriners mini Mustang club, marching bands, ROTC cadets and more.
This event is one of the many great things to do during the month long celebration of freedom. The Veterans Homecoming Parade will travel northbound on the Parkway from traffic light #8 (Dollywood Lane) and wrapping up at traffic light #5 (Jake Thomas Road).
Following the parade, a free concert featuring James Rogers will be held at Country Tonite Theatre at 1 p.m. Country Tonite is located at 129 Showplace Blvd, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863. For more information on the show call (865) 453-2003.
“The City of Pigeon Forge has a long history of honoring our nations many brave veterans and that will continue on into the future,” says Butch Helton, Special Events Manager for the City of Pigeon Forge.
For more information call 1-800-251-9100.
The HeySmokies patriots created this fun video of the Welcome Home Veterans Parade.
Grainger County Tomato Festival is going to be a delicious way to spend a summer weekend! This Smoky Mountain event was organized in 1992 to promote world famous Grainger County Tomatoes. The mission is to promote all Grainger County agricultural products, specifically the Grainger County Tomato, and to promote local artists, authors, talent, and craftsmen.
Many special events have been added this year making the festival one of the largest free festivals in East Tennessee. Parade magazine named the Tomato Festival one of the top ten festivals in the USA. This family friendly event is alcohol free and attendees are expected to use good southern manners. The annual event is the last weekend in July in Rutledge,Tennessee.
Pets are welcome at the Tomato Fest but remember it occurs in late July and it will be HOT. There will be watering stations and misting tents on the festival grounds to help you and your furry friend keep cool. Remember to pick up after your pets and deposit their love in the nearest garbage can.
The annual art contest will get your creative juices flowing. If you wish to enter the contest bring your entries to the elementary school on Friday July 27th by 3:30 ready to hang unless it is 3D. There are several categories to enter for both children and adults. Please limit three per artist. Be sure to fill out the provided tags to identify your piece when dropping it off. Judging will be at the end of the day and the winners will be displayed Saturday.
The 4th annual Concert Series is headlined by none other than Trace Adkins! The show will be held on the middle school football field Saturday, July 28, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. Admission to the show is the nice price – FREE!
Charles the pig will be attending the festival and rooting around for a good time! Charles is the miraculous survivor of The Great Smoky Mountains Wildfire. Charles will be selling his books, art work, stuffed animals and what ever else he decides to make to help raise money for his family to rebuild their home. You can keep up with Charles and see how his family is doing on his Facebook page, Charles The Pig.
Story telling is a Tennessee tradition and Harry Bumgardner, a member of the Sons of the Revolution, will be on hand spinning a tale or two. Harry knows everything a man needs to know about the early history of America and loves to share his knowledge. His mesmerizing tales are a favorite with young folks! In addition to telling stories he will demonstrate his flint lock rifle. After spending time with Harry be sure and visit the long hunter’s camp located near the Living History area.
A working blacksmith will be on hand where you can learn what it is like to make your own tools at the forge. The blacksmith will be returning for the 8th consecutive year. He is the owner of Homegrown Forge, and makes many unique items including railroad spike knives, equipment for outdoor cooking and more. He will be working under the big tree in the Living History. He is always happy to answer questions about blacksmithing.
The infamous Tomato War is a must for every festival attendee! Choose sides, grab a bushel and get it on! This crowd pleaser is bound to satisfy your hankerin’ for maters. This year The Tomato Wars is a fund raiser for God’s Planet for Haiti.
God’s Planet for Haiti (GP4H) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization based in Maryville, Tennessee and received a charter from the State of Tennessee in March of 2010. GP4H is also recognized in Haiti as an international non-profit organization.