As spring starts, the city of Gatlinburg becomes enlivened with the songs of the birds, the blossoming of the flowers, the regaining of the colors in the trees, and, best of all, the Smoky Mountain SpringFest. This festival brings riveting events and entertainment, from art displays to hickory-smoked barbecues. Come out of hibernation and join the dozens of performers, merchants, and artists in this three-month festival of art, music, food, and history.
SpringFest lasts from March 9 to June 3, but throughout the month of April is the best time to go. Easter weekend brings an exciting arts and crafts show and a sunrise service, and the end of the month is packed with exciting nature adventures. Look below for a vivid view when you ride the Gatlinburg Sky Lift over the downtown streets and mountain hills. Or take the kids to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies to visit some of the beauty under the sea, just a block and a half from Sleep Inn & Suites.
Bountiful flowers and live musical entertainers line the streets of Gatlinburg for an animated atmosphere, as you stroll along the rows of merchants at the Easter Arts & Crafts Show. In early April, for three days only, local artists come together and put up their crafts for display and sale. When staying at the Sleep Inn & Suites, hop on the Gatlinburg trolley and be taken straight to the event. The Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community is a group consisting of talented artisans from the Gatlinburg area who specialize in woven baskets, hand-crafted jewelry, exquisite quilts, ceramic pitchers, and more. When you visit this spring, you will find these incredible works of art and be able to take a little piece of the Smoky Mountains home with you.
The Easter celebration brings more than arts and crafts. On Easter morning, join the locals in a celebratory tradition of Christ’s resurrection with a beautiful sunrise service. The sun ascends beyond the powerful Smoky Mountains for a magnificent view. This free event provides a beautiful backdrop for your Easter service, as well as a tram ride to the top of the mountain and a delicious breakfast buffet.
There are also a number of lodging and hotels in the area. The Sidney James Mountain Lodge is located on a mountain stream in the Smokey Mountains and is just three blocks from all the downtown attractions. You’ll never be far from any of the exciting activities throughout Gatlinburg when you stay at this resort.
Nature-lovers will be delighted with the Annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage at the end of April. Ken McFarland, a botanist and professor at the University of Tennessee, describes the pilgrimage as “a rare opportunity for those with a personal love of flowers.” Participants hike through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for the opportunity to explore nature as a researcher. A photography contest is held in which anyone can enter their portraits of flowers, wildlife, and landscapes. The hike through the mountains provides the perfect opportunity to discover the beauty spring brings to nature, with brilliantly-colored flowers, active wildlife, and rich and alluring plants.
When you’ve worked up an appetite from the hike, don’t miss out on the Ribfest, Wings & BBQ event. Spring weather is the perfect temperature for barbecues, and Gatlinburg never fails to bring out the best of ribs and wings. The sounds of live musical performances and the smells of delicious, hickory-smoked barbecue fill the air. Compete in a hot wing eating contest and test out the flavorful variety of ribs and wings before cooling down your mouth with an ice cream eating contest. Vendors, including Texas Roadhouse and TGI Friday’s, assemble alongside the locals on the streets with unique flavors, competing to be the best-tasting barbecue. The Hard Rock Cafe is another vendor and if you like what you tried at Ribfest, Wings & BBQ, it’s within a mile from your hotel.
SpringFest in Gatlinburg is the perfect way to spend the season. For three months, exciting activities and events fill the city in celebration of spring. So get out of your winter slump and trek to the Smoky Mountains for these incredible festivities.