Back by popular demand, Gatlinburg's seventh annual presentation of Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales begins in downtown Gatlinburg on June 15, and will run through Aug. 11. Tunes & Tales is a summer-long street performance event featuring costumed musical performers, storytellers and artisans portraying characters from time periods as far back as 1800.
This popular eight-week event truly highlights one of Gatlinburg’s greatest assets – the walkability of the community – and provides guests with an interactive, educational and entertaining experience the whole family can enjoy.
The collection of personalities and performers arrive nightly at 6 p.m. in the center of town. Visitors witness a magical transformation of sidewalk to stage as the characters disperse along the downtown Parkway for an evening of entertainment and storytelling until 11 p.m. As many as 12 nightly acts perform throughout the evening.
Trios, duos, single acts and clogging groups will perform seven nights a week for the duration of the summer. The mountain style of music is featured all season from the beginnings of the pure Appalachian sounds of Rattlesnake Holler, Whiskey Bent Valley Boys and Hammer & Strings to the traditional bluegrass music from Hurricane Ridge, Flicker Tail Holler and the Holloway Sisters.
Visitors will also be able to learn how instruments like the mountain and lap dulcimers and gourd banjo are made by local craftsmen like Denton Bragg and Mark Edelman. They will also enjoy the talents of the Back Porch Cloggers demonstrating old time clogging and even teaching folks some fun moves and steps.
Characters including Miss Nan the School Marm and Quiltin’ Annie often teach the young and old alike their old time ways. Zeno, the Gatlinburg Bear, the official ambassador of Gatlinburg, loves to welcome everyone to Gatlinburg with his signature bear hugs, and visitors will be entertained with songs and stories by such personalities as Ol’ Rowdy, Whitlin’ Joe, and Earl and Pearl each relating stories of the Great Smoky Mountains, its people and history and even sing a little song about them. Check Engine joins the lineup for 2012.
“Our intent is to take what we feel is one of Gatlinburg’s greatest assets – the walkability of the community – and provide something that is fun and somewhat different than what most places are doing,” Special Events Manager George Hawkins noted.
Gatlinburg’s Smoky Mountain Tunes and Tales is an official activity of the City’s Department of Tourism. For more information on this and other special events, visit www.eventsgatlinburg.com.