Gatlinburg Beans & Cornbread Festival on Thursday, May 11th!


HeySmokies it is about to get delicious in Gatlinburg, Tennessee at the Beans & Cornbread Festival! Photo credit – Idoby2013

Gatlinburg Beans & Cornbread Festival on Thursday, May 11th! No food is more comforting to a Southerner’s heart and stomach, than a heapin’ helpin’ of beans and hot cornbread. On Thursday, May 11, 2017 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. you can fill your tummy and warm your heart at the annual Gatlinburg Beans & Cornbread Festival presented by the Smokies’ beloved Bush Brothers & Company. The competition, which includes local businesses, restaurants, and caterers, will offer new ideas on preparing the best traditional and innovative beans and cornbread recipes. Bush’s Best beans are featured in all the dishes offered.

The Gatlinburg Beans& Cornbread Festival, named by Southeast Tourism Society as a Top 20 Event, will be held downtown Gatlinburg on the Parkway between traffic lights #3 and #8. Entrance to the festival is free; an unlimited sampling spoon can be purchased for $10. Entertainment for the festival will be provided by some of the musicians from the ever-popular Jody Medford and Cash Creek. The two have teamed up for the “Moonshine Angels Tour,” and are nominated for the ICMA Mainstream Group / Duo of the Year. Their new single and EP is called “The Hard Way.”

Join the City of Gatlinburg and Bush Beans & Company for a wonderful family event which celebrates the food, music, culture and heritage of the Great Smoky Mountains and the Appalachian region. For more information, call the Gatlinburg CVB at 800-588-1817 or 800-430-4148.

If you would like to discover more about the special heritage and history of Bush Beans & Company in the Smoky Mountains at the Bush’s Visitor Center, General Store, and Cafe in nearby Chestnut Hill/Dandridge TN. Visit Bush’s Visitor Center for more information.

The Dolly Parade is Ready To Roll!

The Dolly Parade is ready to roll! For 32 years, Dolly Parton has returned to her beloved Smoky Mountains to ring in the spring season with her millions of fans. Each year, Dolly has delighted parade-goers with her amazing grand marshall float and a matching outfit. This event is always incredible and 2017 will be no exception. The parade will host over 100 participants as the American icon rides atop her new float with beautiful Mount LeConte as the backdrop. About 60,000 visitors will attend this special event. If you can’t make it in person you can still join the fun on Facebook!


32nd Dolly Parade is on it’s way! Photo credit – BanditBlog


The 32nd Annual Dolly Parade will begin at 6:00 p.m. EST on Friday, May 5, 2017 in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. The parade route begins at traffic light #6 on the Parkway and travels to traffic light #3. This is expected to be biggest Dolly Parade ever and it should last about two hours!

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park Announces Synchronous Firefly Viewing Dates

Synchronous fireflies in Elkmont, Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Photo credit -Radim Schreiber

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Announces Synchronous Firefly Viewing Dates. Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials have announced the dates for firefly viewing in Elkmont. Shuttle service to the viewing area will be provided on Tuesday, May 30 through Tuesday, June 6. All visitors wishing to view the synchronous fireflies at Elkmont must have a parking pass distributed through the lottery system at

Every year in late May or early June, thousands of visitors gather near the popular Elkmont Campground to observe the naturally occurring phenomenon of Photinus carolinus, a firefly species that flashes synchronously. Since 2006, access to the Elkmont area has been limited to shuttle service beginning at Sugarlands Visitor Center during the eight days of predicted peak activity in order to reduce traffic congestion and provide a safe viewing experience for visitors that minimizes disturbance to these unique fireflies during the critical two-week mating period.

The lottery will be open for applications from Friday, April 28 at 12:00 noon until Monday, May 1 at 8:00 p.m. Results of the lottery will be available on Wednesday, May 10. A total of 1,800 vehicle passes will be available for the event which includes: 1768 regular-parking passes (225 per day) which admit one passenger vehicle up to 19’ in length with a maximum of six occupants, and 32 large-vehicle parking passes (four per day) which admit one large vehicle (RV, mini-bus, etc.) from 19’ to 30’ in length, with a maximum of 24 occupants. Lottery applicants must apply for either a regular-parking pass or large-vehicle parking pass and then may choose two possible dates to attend the event over the eight-day viewing period.

The lottery system uses a randomized computer drawing to select applications. There is no fee to enter the lottery this year. If selected, the lottery winner will be charged a $2.75 reservation fee and awarded a parking pass. The parking pass permits visitors to park at Sugarlands Visitor Center and allows occupants to access the shuttle service to Elkmont.

Parking passes are non-refundable, non-transferable, and good only for the date issued. There is a limit of one lottery application per household per season. All lottery applicants will be notified by e-mail on May 10 that they were “successful” and awarded a parking pass or “unsuccessful” and not able to secure a parking pass.

The number of passes issued each day is based primarily on the Sugarlands Visitor Center parking lot capacity and the ability to accommodate a large number of viewers on site. Arrival times will be assigned in order to relieve traffic congestion in the parking lot and also for boarding the shuttles, which are provided in partnership with the City of Gatlinburg. The shuttle buses will begin picking up visitors from the Sugarlands Visitor Center RV/bus parking area at 7:00 p.m. The cost will be $1.00 round trip per person, as in previous years, and collected when boarding the shuttle. Cash will be the only form of payment accepted.

The shuttle service is the only transportation mode for visitor access during this period, except for registered campers staying at the Elkmont Campground. Visitors are not allowed to walk the Elkmont entrance road due to safety concerns.

Visitors may visit the website and search for “Firefly Event” for more information and to enter the lottery. Parking passes may also be obtained by calling 1-877-444-6777, but park officials encourage the use of the online process. The $2.75 reservation fee covers the cost of awarding the passes.

For more information about the synchronous fireflies, please visit the park website at


Color Me Mutt 5K To Support Local Nonprofits

Color Me Mutt 5K to support local nonprofits.  The second annual 5K  Color Run and Pet Parade is geared to pet lovers.  Pets Without Parents, Sevierville’s animal shelter and adoption center, and the PARC Foundation, the charitable arm of NASCAR SpeedPark Smoky Mountains, are teaming up to host the Color Me Mutt 5K Color Run and Pet Parade on Saturday, May 13, 2017, at 8 a.m. at NASCAR SpeedPark.

A 3.2 mile 5K run, slated for 8 a.m. is open to running enthusiasts with or without their favorite four-legged companions. Owners and their pets can continue to show off their “true colors” during the Color Me Mutt Pet Parade beginning at 9:30 a.m. Prizes will be awarded in the following categories: Rough’n Tough, Miss Priss, Best Groomed, Best Personality and Twinkies (best owner/pet lookalike). A Best of Show will be presented to one of the five category winners. All 5K participants receive a race T-shirt, a commemorative pet charm, and a wrist band allowing unlimited access to NASCAR SpeedPark’s eight go-kart tracks, family and kid”s rides, mini golf and rock wall climbing. A marketplace featuring local businesses, crafters and artisans, most with pet-themed items, will be open to the public.

Color Me Mutt is a great way to spend the day with your furry friend!

To register for the 5K Color Run or Pet Parade, visit the race website at The entry fee is $40 or $50 on race day. Parade registration is $10 or $15 on the day of the parade.

Proceeds from the event benefits the Sevier County community through funding the shelter and other charitable needs met by PARC Foundation’s work.

The mission of Pets Without Parents is to provide a no-kill facility along with compassionate and loving care to canines and felines in need while striving to place them with a forever family and home. It also helps educate the public on the importance of spaying and neutering pets to help decease overpopulation.

It’s time for the 13th Annual Master Gardener Flower & Garden Show

It’s time for the 13th Annual Master Gardener Flower & Garden Show and Sale on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at the Sevier County Fairgrounds from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. The Sevier County Fairgrounds are located at 754 Old Knoxville Hwy., Sevierville, TN 37862.

The Sevier County Area Master Gardeners Association and the University of Tennessee Extension Service invite you to attend The Master Gardener Flower & Garden Show and Sale on Saturday, April 22. The event, scheduled from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Sevier County Fairgrounds, will include a vendor marketplace for lawn and garden equipment and supplies, flowers, shrubs, trees, yard art, and more. Ornamental plants, herbs, and fruit and veggies will be available for purchase and Master Gardeners will offer tips on attracting butterflies and bees to your garden, the advantages of beneficial insects, recycling, and local food sources. A tour of the Master Gardner’s Demonstration Garden “The Learning Patch” is sure to bring out a “green thumb” in everyone.

A children’s area will offer delicious and healthy snacks along with interesting crafts designed to spark their interest in gardening.

Admission to the the Master Gardena Flower and Garden Show is $2 for adults with a non-perishable food item to be donated to the Sevier County Food Ministry or $3 without a food item. Kids under 12 are admitted free. Proceeds from the indoor event, held rain or shine, benefit the SCAMGA’s community service programs which include 4-H scholarships.

For more information, visit the Sevier County Master Gardeners Association or call the Sevier County Extension Office at 865-453-3695.