Townsend To Host Inaugural Great Smoky Mountain Hot Air Balloon Festival

Monday, June 26, 2017 - by Sarah Merrell

A summertime spectacle will take place in Townsend, Tn., oAug, 19: the inaugural Great Smoky Mountain Hot Balloon Festival.

The sky will be filled with a spectrum of color against the backdrop of a breathtaking Tennessee sunset as dozens of professional balloonists take flight.

       

Taking place at the Townsend Visitors Center located at 7906 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., the event features something for everyone. Families can enjoy kid-friendly activities, live entertainment, crafters demonstrating and selling their artwork, delectable food from the food truck court and local craft beer.

For those desiring a unique view of the scenic mountains, balloonists will offer safely tethered hot air balloon rides (weather depending).

The event takes place within days of another highly anticipated Blount County event: the total solar eclipse.

On Monday, Aug., a narrow path in the United States will experience the first total solar eclipse in 26 years. Only certain parts of specific states will experience this cosmic event. The eclipse is caused by the moon blocking the sun, and only the sun’s corona is visible. Blount County just happens to be one of the places to see this once-in-a-lifetime event.

Blount Partnership Tourism Director Kim Mitchell encourages visitors to spend a few days in the area to experience both events.

Aug. 19 through 21 is a great time to visit Blount County, Tennessee as we have two new and exciting events that are a must-see,” said Ms. Mitchell. “The inaugural Great Smoky Mountain Hot Air Balloon Festival is a fun, family-friendly event with something for everyone, while the total solar eclipse is truly an event that most will only have the opportunity to experience once their lifetime.”

In anticipation of the total solar eclipse, many Blount County businesses are offering viewing events where attendees can get a good look at the eclipse through special glasses which protect eyes during the partial phases of the eclipse.

Also located in Townsend, Dancing Bear Lodge will host a Total Solar Eclipse Party for guests, visitors and members of the community. From 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., the lodge will provide blankets, chairs and eclipse glasses to each guest and lunch will be served “food truck style.”

“It’s great to see so many Blount County businesses opening their doors for the solar eclipse,” said Ms. Mitchell. “There are nearly a dozen different solar eclipse-related events for visitors to our area to choose from, from an afternoon of tubing followed by an afternoon shindig and viewing at River Rat Tubing in Townsend to a tour to Cades Cove with a boxed lunch and viewing through the Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center. There’s an event to fit everyone’s interests.”

Accommodations in Blount County the weekend of Aug. 19-21 are quickly filling up, so visitors are encouraged to book their lodging early.

Those looking to plan a trip to Blount County can visit www.smokymountains.org/plan-your-trip for a list of accommodations along with places to eat, things to do and what to see during the visit.

For more information on the Hot Air Balloon Festival, visit http://www.gsmballoonfest.com.

For more information to understand and prepare for the solar eclipse, visit the NASA website at https://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse.html or https://www.greatamericaneclipse.com/.




2018 Official Tennessee Vacation Guide Honors Civil Rights Icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development today released its 2018 Official Tennessee Vacation Guide. The cover features an inspiring, artistic rendering of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. along with the Lorraine Motel, the site of his assassination, which is now home to the National Civil Rights Museum. Fifty years ago, Dr. King was in Memphis, where he marched with striking ... (click for more)

What's New In Tennessee Travel For 2018

Tourism in Tennessee continues to expand with new attractions, impressive state-of-the-art developments and milestone anniversary celebrations of iconic attractions that help shape “The Soundtrack of America. Made in Tennessee.” 2018 marks several milestones in Tennessee, including honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the National Civil Rights Museum on the ... (click for more)

Snow Reaches Chattanooga on Tuesday Afternoon, But Brings Little Accumulation; Many Schools, Most Courts Closed Wednesday

Snow began falling in downtown Chattanooga early Tuesday afternoon, but there was little accumulation.  The National Weather Service issued a special statement on Tuesday night warning of icy roads. It says:  SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT UNTIL  9AM EST  WED ...VERY COLD TEMPERATURES AND PATCHY ICE ON ROADS THROUGH  WEDNESDAY MORNING... TEMPERATURES ... (click for more)

Young Gets 23 Years In North Chattanooga Murder

Abram "AB" Young pleaded guilty on Tuesday morning to a murder in North Chattanooga and was sentenced to 23 years in prison. Young was 17 at the time of the 2015 slaying of 19-year-old Charles Holsey during a drug deal behind the Kangaroo on Dallas Road. He is now 20. Prosecutor Cameron Williams said the sentence for second-degree murder will be served at 100 percent. Young ... (click for more)

Thank You, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thank you, Dr. King for stepping-out.  Thank you for your lasting voice to what it's all about. Thank you, Dr. King for  stepping up and also showing-up, ...when decisions were being made and  your refusal  to shut-up.  We find your fingerprints on both directions and toward progress.  your modeling, mentoring,  and reactions helps ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Once In A Blue…

On August 21st this past summer, four black women were walking down the street in Dayton, Tn., when a white man asked from his porch, “Are you ladies here to see the eclipse?” Told that yes, they most certainly were, the gentleman pointed to his back deck and another white couple and said, “If you don’t have plans, would you care to sit with us?” The ladies were delighted and ... (click for more)