Smoky Mountain Scottish Festival & Games
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17 Can’t-Miss Smoky Mountain Spring Events & Festivals [Updated for 2022]

Along with traditional mountain activities and adventures, there are a lot of Smoky Mountain spring events & festivals that you don’t want to miss this year!

The Smokies are among some of the most beautiful places in America, if not on Earth. The Great Smoky Mountain range rises along the Tennessee-North Carolina border in the Southeast United States.

Clingmans Dome, Newfound Gap, Laurel Falls, and Mount LeConte are just a few of the breathtaking scenic locales. On top of that, the mountains are abundant with wildlife, fishing, hiking, and about anything else you can imagine in an outdoor paradise.

Spring in the Smoky Mountains is particularly beautiful and full of life, and Smoky Mountain spring events and festivals are some of the best in the United States. If you’re planning a trip to the region this spring, consider joining some of these festivities during your visit!

Spring Festivals & Events in Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge Tennessee

The Smoky Mountain region is, for the most part, very rural, with no large population centers. However, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge have emerged in the last few decades as highly desired vacation and tourist hubs.

With less than 10,000 people, the area is known as the gateway to the vast Great Smoky Mountains National Park and is home to a plethora of festivals each year. Let’s learn about some of the best Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg Tennessee events in spring.

Flower & Food Festival at Dollywood

April – June

Dollywood’s Flower & Food Festival brings spring to life in dazzling splendor. Discover seasonal magnificence as new larger-than-life Mosaicultures bloom across the park and the delightful new show Bloom! celebrates springtime in the Smokies.

Sample diverse new sensations with a Festival Tasting Pass beneath the rainbow-hued tapestry of Umbrella Sky, while dozens of dynamic performers and more than one million beautiful flowers surround you with boundless inspiration.

For the best experience, combine your park admission to the Flower & Food Festival with a stay at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa.

The Smoky Mountain Music Festival


The Smoky Mountain Music Festival is one of the country’s most anticipated events, bringing together talented elementary, middle, and high school music organizations to the city of Gatlinburg in the spring, starting in April.

With its inaugural event held almost 40 years ago in 1983, the Smoky Mountain Music Festival collects musical groups from across the United States to show off their skills and display their best ensemble pieces before a panel of judges.

The festival is grand, spanning over three weekends, and includes concert bands, jazz bands, orchestras, choral groups, drum lines, and much more. If you love music and the Smoky Mountains, it’s the perfect annual event.

The competition is held at the Gatlinburg Convention Center, but the festival also takes the fun outdoors and features a marching parade of bands throughout the main streets of Gatlinburg for all to enjoy.

Smoky Mountain Music Festival
Smoky Mountain Music Festival | photo via Smoky Mountain Music Festival

The Smoky Mountains Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage


For more than seven decades, this annual spring festival in the Smoky Mountains in April has attracted visitors from across the United States and around the world. The Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage offers the chance to interact with the plant and wildlife of the Smoky Mountains as the trees bloom in the early months of spring.

The Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a kind of inauguration of the end of winter and the start of warm weather in Eastern Tennessee and Western North Carolina as the beautiful spring colors emerge from the flora of the region.

During this yearly five-day event, wilderness and nature enthusiasts come to explore wildflower trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and proximate areas to experience spring firsthand.

The Pilgrimage begins at the Mills Conference Center in Gatlinburg Tennessee, where participants register, have fun with a plethora of evening events, and meet up to go on tours.

The Smoky Mountains Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage
The Smoky Mountains Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage | photo via @wildflower_pilgrimage

The Smoky Mountain Trout Tournament


Love to fish? This is absolutely the event for you!

Each year at the beginning of April near Pigeon Forge, the Smoky Mountain Trout Tournament brings together fishing enthusiasts from around the world. This fun-packed event is great for adults and children alike who want to try their hand at catching a few trout.

And don’t worry about coming up empty. Just before the trout tournament starts, over 10,000 trout are set loose across more than 20 miles of Smoky Mountain streams! All you have to do is research and bring a little trout bait, and you might have your hands full!

You can enter the trout fishing tournament for your chance at winning serious cash and prizes based on how many fish you can catch. Or, if you just want to kick back, relax, and catch a few trout for fun, you can do that too!

Keep in mind that a valid fishing license is required to participate in the Spring Smoky Mountain Trout Tournament.

Smoky Mountain Trout Tournament
Smoky Mountain Trout Tournament | photo via Rocky Top Outfitter

The Pigeon Forge Rod Run


Tall mountains and cool cars. Sounds like a great combo! The Pigeon Forge Rod Run is an amazing three-day event in April that’s packed with fun for die-hard car lovers!

The Rod Run originated in Gatlinburg in the 1970s as an unofficial event. MCS Promotions took over the event in 1991, and at the time, the only show was in the fall — now known as the Fall Rod Run. The spring show was added four years later in 1995 and has been a massively popular tourist event ever since.

Hosted at Pigeon Forge’s LeConte Center, this event features a swap meet, hundreds of show cars, a car corral, and much more. The cars are judged and have the chance to receive top-25 awards, ultimate-5 awards, and cash giveaways worth thousands of dollars.

The Pigeon Forge Rod Run is the Smoky Mountain area’s largest and most popular automotive event! The LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge has been newly renovated and will allow for more show cars, vendors, and entertainment. It’s a family-fun, amazing environment!

Pigeon Forge Rod Run
Pigeon Forge Rod Run | photo via Pigeon Forge Rod Runs

Hands-On Gatlinburg

April – May

If you’re into more of the arts-and-crafts side of things, this fantastic and wildly popular event during April-May of each year is for you!

Hands-On Gatlinburg” Arts & Crafts Weekend is the ultimate creative learning experience for those who have always wanted to try their hand at arts and crafts-making.

During this arts festival, an abundance of do-it-yourself-style workshops are offered, from jewelry-making, gourd birdhouse painting, watercolor, glass fusing, basket weaving, candle making, chair seat weaving, and more.

Hands-On Gatlinburg
Hands-On Gatlinburg | photo via Garlinburg Tennessee

Smoky Mountain Wine Weekend


Are you interested in the finer things in life? Wine enthusiasts should come to Gatlinburg in the spring when Smoky Mountain Wine Weekend gets rolling.

With two fantastic events — the Gatlinburg Wine Tour and Gatlinburg Smoky Mountain Wine Fest — wine enthusiasts can sample wine and small food plates from some of Tennessee’s finest wineries and chefs.

Of course, you need to be 21 or older to participate in any wine sampling.

Smoky Mountain Wine Weekend
Smoky Mountain Wine Weekend | photo via Garlinburg Tennessee

Spring Festivals & Events in Asheville North Carolina

Asheville North Carolina is a gorgeous, vibrant city nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It offers incredible restaurants, music, and nature. In addition, the world-famous Biltmore Estate sits just outside of Asheville and draws thousands of visitors.

And, Asheville’s fun culture truly comes to life in its incredible festivals. Here are a few of our favorite Smoky Mountain spring events & festivals in Asheville.

Biltmore Blooms

April – May

You can’t talk about Asheville without mentioning the Biltmore Estate. Perhaps the most famous home in American history, Biltmore is no stranger to hosting incredible events for people from Asheville and beyond.

From April until just about the end of May, the estate’s Biltmore Blooms festival allows visitors to usher in spring with fun and flair. The event highlights the Biltmore grounds with more than 130,000 flowers blooming in gardens fit for royalty.

Biltmore Blooms is the Biltmore Estate’s annual festival of flowers, with more orchids, spring bulbs, tulips, and other flowers than you’ve likely ever seen in one place. It’s a garden and flower lover’s dream come true!

Biltmore Blooms
Biltmore Blooms | photo via @biltmoreestate

Carolina Mountain Cheese Fest


Who doesn’t love cheese? Carolina Mountain Cheese Fest is held every year near the end of April at Highland Brewing in Asheville. This festival celebrates Southern artisan cheeses.

During this fun-filled event, you can meet cheesemakers, eat and buy cheese and other delicious dairy products, and learn about the cheese-crafting process from the cheesemakers themselves or by attending a fantastic offering of live workshops, cheese-making demonstrations, and roundtable discussions with the experts.

Do you love animals? You can hang out with the actual dairy cows, goats, and other animals who produce the milk behind the many delicious types of delectable cheeses at the festival!

Asheville WordFest

April (Cancelled for 2022)

And now for something completely different. In late April, Asheville WordFest brings together tremendous local poets and wordsmiths to deliver captivating poetry and prose on a variety of subjects, dazzling the minds of visitors from around the region.

WordFest is a celebration of poetry, stories, interpretations of life, and genius-level wordsmithing on issues that span from Asheville life to social issues to humor and much more. If you’re a fan of the written and spoken word, this is an event you don’t want to miss.

Asheville Beer Week

May – June

Did we mention that Asheville is a craft-beer paradise? The city has become somewhat of a craft beer hub in the Southeast United States.

Every year new breweries are built, with each one offering innovative and distinct flavors to the local offerings. Naturally, a festival that brings each brewery together in one place is the next step!

Asheville offers an incredible array of local craft beers during Beer Week, which occurs at the very end of May and beginning of June. There are fun citywide events, including brewery tours, beer tastings, and dinner-beer pairing events. If you’re a beer lover, mark this event on your calendar.

Asheville Beer Week
Asheville Beer Week | photo via Asheville Beer Week

Asheville Ideas Fest


There’s a first time for everything, right? While Asheville Ideas Fest is only an inaugural event from June 15-18, 2022, it intends to be among the city’s premier annual events. It will bring in distinguished global thinkers who lead societies with the ideas that will shape our future.

This inaugural event will open with a talk from Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian Jon Meacham.

Asheville Ideas Fest
Asheville Ideas Fest | photo via Explore Ashville

Hola Asheville


Did you know that Asheville has a significant Latin American presence? Hola Asheville is an annual one-day event in June at Pack Square Park in downtown Asheville that celebrates the food, music, and culture of Latin America.

Visitors can experience lively music from across the Latin American world while eating some of the most delicious foods you can imagine, authentically prepared by people who hail from over 20 different countries in Latin America.

Experience cultural pageantry, concerts, and dancing, such as the salsa, bachata, tango, merengue, and much more. You have the opportunity to browse and buy items from local vendors as well.

Hola Ashville
Hola Asheville | photo via Hola Carolina

More Smoky Mountain Spring Festivals & Events

Thunder in The Smokies

April – May

The Thunder in The Smokies spring motorcycle rally brings together some of the most beautiful rides in the Smokies and is a motorcycle enthusiast’s dream. The event takes place in Maggie Valley North Carolina at the end of April and the beginning of May.

During this festival, you can enjoy food, dancing, motorbike games, concerts, and much more.

Thunder in The Smokies
Thunder in The Smokies | photo via THUNDER IN THE SMOKIES

Little River Railroad Days


In early May each year in the tiny town of Townsend Tennessee, the Little River Railroad & Lumber Company shows off the history of the Little River Lumber Company and the Little River Railroad.

This museum in Townsend collects, maintains, and displays the history of these two legacy companies and the railroad people in the Appalachia region, showing them to the world on a special weekend each year.

Little River Railroad Days
Little River Railroad Days | photo via Little River Railroad & Lumber Company Museum

Smoky Mountain Scottish Festival & Games


In mid-May each year, East Tennessee shows off its premier celebration of Scottish culture and history for all who care to see! Originally established in 1981 as the Gatlinburg Scottish Festival & Games, the Smoky Mountain Scottish Festival & Games is one of the oldest and most popular Scottish Festivals in America.

Visitors can find and appreciate the deep traditions and rich history of the Scottish and Scots-Irish settlers who came to East Tennessee and whose ancestors still live here today.

The festival will be relocated to the Townsend Visitor Center (7906 E. Lamar Alexander Pkwy.) in Townsend, Tennessee, for 2022.

Smoky Mountain Scottish Festival & Games
Smoky Mountain Scottish Festival & Games | photo via Smoky Mountain Scottish Festival and Games

Smallmouth King Bass Fishing Tournament


In Sevierville Tennessee, the country’s best anglers can test their bass-fishing techniques in the world-famous bass waters during the annual smallmouth bass, catch-and-release festival. Held in June of each year, the Little Pigeon River plays host to this action-packed event.

Smallmouth King Bass Fishing Tournament
Smallmouth King Bass Fishing Tournament | photo via Visit Sevierville

Plan Your Tour of Smoky Mountain Spring Events & Festivals

The Smoky Mountain region of Appalachia, situated where Tennessee and North Carolina come together, is full of some of the best natural beauty in the world. It offers endless adventure among its smoky, green mountains and has some of the best fishing, camping, and outdoor excursions in the United States.

The Great Smoky Mountains is a culturally rich center with a unique flavor of Americana that blends Appalachian, folk, bluegrass, and Southern cultures into a unique and beautiful experience. Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Asheville are fast-growing cities that offer plenty of festivals, events, and opportunities to unwind.

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  1. might want to check the Dollywood info, Festival of Nations event is wrong. Havent had Festival of Nations since 2020…replaced by Flower and Food

  2. Great Scott says:

    Smoky Mountain Scottish Festival & Games location is not MC but Townsend…

    Welcome to East Tennessee’s premier celebration of Scottish culture and history, the Smoky Mountain Scottish Festival and Games. In 2022, the event moves to a new location at the Townsend Visitor Center (7906 E. Lamar Alexander Pkwy.) in Townsend, Tenn.

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