Want to take a trip down heritage lane? Come visit the 20th Annual Townsend in the Smokies Heritage Festival and Old Timer’s Day, Sept. 28-29, in Townsend and travel the town on the free festival shuttle. The shuttle service gives visitors and locals alike the opportunity to learn about, take part in, and enjoy Appalachian culture and heritage at various sites in Townsend.
“With this year’s shuttle service, festival-goers can not only enjoy the many exciting events and activities happening on the festival grounds but also other sites throughout Townsend that make it such a special place,” said Carolyn Roach, chair of the 2012 Townsend in the Smokies Heritage Festival and Old Timer’s Day. “The shuttle provides everyone with an opportunity to see more of this town nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains, rich in Appalachian culture and heritage.”
The festival shuttle will provide a relaxing form of transportation around Townsend with stops including the Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center, Trillium Cove, the Little River Railroad and Lumber Company Museum, Nawger Nob and Townsend Visitors Center and the festival grounds. Two shuttles will be available for festival visitors from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and one of the two will have extended hours of operation from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. Both shuttles will be free of charge to ride.
Those who take advantage of the festival shuttle have the opportunity to visit the Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center. In addition to the heritage festival, the heritage center provides an opportunity to celebrate the cultural heritage of East Tennessee and the Smoky Mountain area. During the two-day festival, the Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center will feature gallery exhibits, educational programs, demonstrations, as well as musical performances.
From there, festival-goers can visit Trillium Cove where they can spot the big yellow flower and visit shops, stores and boutiques showcasing antiques, jewelry, stained glass, local art, gifts and more unique to the Appalachian area. They can also catch a ride over to the Little River Railroad and Lumber Company Museum. There visitors can learn the history of the Little River Railroad, the lumber company and people from this area by walking through the museum and viewing the exhibits and collections of artifacts.
“The former site of the Little River Railroad and the Little River Lumber Company is one of Townsend’s iconic sites rich with history of the Townsend and Smoky Mountain area,” said Ms. Roach. “Dating back to 1901, the Little River Lumber Company was one of the largest commercial operations in the Smokies and a very important part of the early economic growth of Townsend.”
Nawger Nob will also be on the shuttle’s route providing Townsend visitors with the chance to experience the old-Appalachian pastime of woodcarving, basketry, painting and many other mountain crafts. Visitors will have enjoyed Smoky Mountain music and food and take Appalachian skill and talent home after stopping by Nawger Nob.
Another shuttle stop will be the heritage festival taking place at the Townsend Visitors Center. Visitors will have the opportunity to join together with family and friends and partake in time-honored Appalachian music, crafts, food and other activities unique to this mountain region at the annual heritage festival taking place at the Townsend Visitors Center. Festival-goers can sit back, relax and listen to both classical and contemporary bluegrass music, while enjoying traditional Southern food and observing and learning Appalachian skills.
The Townsend in the Smokies Heritage Festival and Old Timer’s Day, Sept. 28-29, takes place on the grounds of the Townsend Visitors Center, located at 7906 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway, in Townsend, Tenn. The event is free and family-oriented. Pets are no longer permitted on the festival grounds; and this will be strictly enforced for the health and safety of both people and pets.
Festival sponsors include Knoxville Coca-Cola, Great Smoky Mountains Association, Wood-N-Strings Dulcimer Shop, Townsend IGA, The Daily Times, WIVK Radio, and Keep Blount Beautiful.
For more information on the Townsend in the Smokies Heritage Festival and Old Timer’s Day, including updates on the schedule, please call the Smoky Mountain Tourism Development Authority at 800 525-6834 or 865 448-6134 or visit smokymountains.org or smokymountainfestivals.org.