Top Townsend Festivals: Celebrate Spring and Fall in Tennessee

Townsend, Tennessee, located less than an hour from Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, is a small town outside Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The town hosts several annual events, but spring and fall bring signature Townsend festivals that draw people from all over the state. Additionally, these festivals celebrate the town’s heritage and lifestyle, Southern food, handmade crafts and live entertainment. If planning to attend one of these seasonal Townsend festivals, here’s a quick guide to the best events.

Top 5 Townsend Festivals in Tennessee

Townsend Festivals Gatlinburg Fall Spring

Photo: Ellen Macdonald

Spring Townsend Festivals

Townsend Spring Heritage Festival and Old Timers Day

Typically held in early May, this is one of most popular festivals in Townsend. For two days, guests enjoy listening to music, clogging, Southern BBQ, crafts and more. Bluegrass bands play all day. And guests can bring banjos, guitars or other instruments, and join in.

Those who wish to explore can go for a wildflower walk, or ride the free shuttle from the Townsend Visitor’s Center, Trillium Cove, Little River Railroad and Lumber Co. and Museum Heritage Center. While strolling, see Appalachian skills demonstrations, and gather around for storytelling, which delights all ages.

Nawger Nob Arts and Crafts Festival

Also held in early May, don’t miss this arts and crafts festival in Townsend that features local craftspeople and their creations. Dozens of booths open all day, so browse for that perfect gift or mountain souvenir. The two-day festival is held under shade trees at the Nawger Knob Shopping Area.

Fall Festivals in Townsend

townsend festivals fall tennessee vacation

Townsend Fall Heritage Festival and Old Timers Day

One of the longest running Townsend festivals is the Fall Heritage Festival and Old Timers Day. The event has hosted festival-goers for more more than 20 years.

At the event, see mountain and Appalachian arts and crafts, local artists, and demonstrations. Families enjoy children’s activities, storytelling and, of course, comfort food. Guests also learn how artisans make baskets, fabrics and soap, as well as see live blacksmiths, beekeepers and food makers. Each year, the festival hosts an antique tractor and engine show. The event usually takes place around late September to early October.

Blue Ribbon Country Fair

Late September welcomes the Blue Ribbon County Fair. Guests of all ages are welcome to this old-fashion-style fair. Featured events include an interactive Farmer in the Cove exhibit, an all-day craft tent, an antique tractor exhibit and livestock.

Want to win a prize? Enter one of the many contests, which include hog calling, rooster crowing, skillet throws, watermelon seed spitting and others. Sign up for contests on the day of the event.

Little River Railroad Days

Celebrate trains and railroads at the Little River Railroad Museum, managed by the Little River Railroad and Lumber Company. The museum aims to protect and exhibit railroad-related companies and local culture. The free attraction opens on weekends, and the Railroad Days event occurs in late September. History and train buffs alike can learn about Townsend’s history and role in the area.

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