Earth Week 2013 in Gatlinburg

Earth Week 2012 in Gatlinburg includes a 5K and Thursday night’s (April 26) Ribfest & Wings in downtown Gatlinburg.

There is really no place like Gatlinburg – surrounded by the natural beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains, to celebrate Earth Day with Earth Week 2013! With events including a 5K, the entire family will be able to enjoy the offering of the old town while learning about local conservation practices. Music, activities and games, craft stations, food and more will be ongoing throughout the week!

Schedule of Events

Sunday, April 21
Go Green Disc Golf Tournament
Registration begins at 12:30 at the pavilion at Mills Park; $20 for adults, $15 for children. Registration includes a 2013 Earth Week T-shirt. Winners will receive Innova discs donated by NOC Gatlinburg.  The awards ceremony will be held at 4:30 pm.

Monday, April 22
Gatlinburg Goes Green Breakfast Seminar at Hilton Garden Inn

Tuesday, April 23
Get a hands-on experience at the Spur Clean Up on Tuesday, April 23.  Earth Week is partnering with Keep Sevier Beautiful to pick up trash along a stretch of the National Park between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, known as The Spur.  To participate, bring a pair of gloves and meet at Gatlinburg’s Spur Welcome Center at 9:00 am.

April 23-27
Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage
The Great Smoky Mountain Association is hosting the 63rd Annual Wildflower Pilgrimage April 23-27.  Attend one or more of the 150 programs including instructional walks and tours, demonstrations and guest lectures.

Wednesday, April 24
Wildflower Pilgrimage Welcome Luncheon
Presented by the Gatlinburg Garden Club featuring “Cherokee Plant Lore,” with Ila Hatter
W.L. Mills Conference Center $25 per person
For tickets & information, Call  Pat Willoughby 865-397-7355 or Juanita King 865-453-6101 ext 481 or cell 865-654-4393.

Thursday, April 25
Earth Day Festival at Mynatt Park
Live entertainment provided by Tuatha Dea and Boogertown Gap.  Food will be for sale from the Cabin Café.  Ben and Jerry’s will be selling ice cream.  Several exhibitors will be on-site including Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Discover Life in America, Keep Sevier Beautiful, Sevier County Humane Society, NOC Gatlinburg, the Gatlinburg Farmers Market and more!  Families are encouraged to come enjoy the free crafts and activities offered.  Earth Week t-shirts featuring the art work of a local student will be for sale at the festival.

Friday, April 26
Shred Day
10 am – 3 pm at Anna Porter Library.  $5 per box – proceeds to benefit the library’s new book fund.  Certificates of destruction will be provided.

Earth Day 5K Run/Walk in downtown Gatlinburg
Runners and walkers are invited to celebrate Earth Week by participating in the Second Annual Earth Day 5K Run/Walk in beautiful downtown Gatlinburg. The night race is scheduled on Friday, April 26, 2013 at 10:00pm. Athletes of all ages are welcome to participate in this USA Track and Field sanctioned event.  Early registration is encouraged to guarantee your shirt size! Race night registration begins at 9:00pm at Nantahala Outdoor Center. Race starts at 10:00 pm.
Race Cost:
Student/Youth: $15
Advanced (before April 12): $20
Regular (April 13-25): $25
Day-of: $30

Saturday, April 27
Gatlinburg Smoky Mountain Winefest
Saturday April 27, 1- 6 pm on the Plaza at Ripley’s Aquarium
16 wineries from all over Tennessee will each serve samples of their various labels.  Visitors age 21 and older will purchase a ticket to the festival for $20 and receive a wristband for sampling and a signature wine glass.  The first 1,000 couples at the festival will receive a free 6-pocket wine bag.

Participating wineries are: Grinder’s Switch Winery, Keg Springs Winery, Beachaven Winery, The Grape Barn at Nolichucky, Spout Spring Estates, Blue Slip Winery, Sumner Crest Winery, Beans Creek Winery, Tennessee Valley Winery, Mountain Valley Winery, Delmonaco Winery, Stonhaus Winery, Amber Falls Winery, Sugarland Cellars, Eagle Springs Winery, and Bootleggers Winery.

Enjoy presentations on wine making, wine pairing and more. A portion of proceeds will benefit the Gatlinburg Hospitality Association Scholarship Fund and Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts.

Discover Life in America Great Smoky Mountains Salamander Ball

7-10 pm at Gatlinburg Convention Center
Live music with the Johnson Swingtet
Tickets $75 for adults, $50 for Wildflower Pilgrimage participants, Children 12 & under free

Sunday, April 28
Children’s Planting Program
Sunday at 1:00 pm at Mills Park Pavilion
Children are invited for storytime and seed planting activity. This event is sponsored by Keep Sevier Beautiful.

Food Ministry Fiesta

If you enjoy good food – especially Mexican food, as well as fun and frivolity, then you won’t want to miss this year’s Food Ministry Fiesta in Gatlinburg.

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies will again play host to the event on April 18. There’s not a better place in all of Gatlinburg to hold such a fantastic culinary event as the 3rd annual Food Ministry Fiesta than Ripley’s Aquarium. It’ll be a night of Mexican food, tasty beverages, and great conversation, and of course some incredible live Mexican music performed by some of the most talented artists in the Smokies.

Not only is this a night of food and fun, it’s a very worth while cause. All proceeds from the Food Ministry Fiesta go to benefit the Sevier County Food Ministries “Growing with Grace” Building Fund, a local non-profit. Just bring your family, bring your friends, and bring everyone you can to this can’t-miss event, and you can have fun while helping the world at the same time. Adult tickets are 2 for $75 or $50 each, while children age 3-11 may attend for $10. So RSVP to the Sevier County Food Ministries as soon as you can.

Oh, and don’t forget to check out all the other amazing things that Gatlinburg offers, such as the beautiful scenery, incredible culture, and wonderful community! From delicious food, to the beautiful mountain fauna, to the wonderful architecture, there is something for everyone, including this fun fiesta for all! Everything about Gatlinburg, Tennessee is as good as it gets; trust us. You are sure to be impressed! See you at the Food Ministry Fiesta later this month!

Mountain Man Memorial March

The Fifth Annual, 26.2 mile, Mountain Man Memorial March is a tribute to the men and women that serve in our country’s armed forces. This event honors First Lieutenant Frank Walkup, a UT Alumnus who was killed in Iraq in 2007 while serving our country.

The Sixth Annual, 26.2 mile, Mountain Man Memorial March is a tribute to the men and women that serve in our country’s armed forces. This event honors First Lieutenant Frank Walkup, a UT Alumnus who was killed in Iraq in 2007 while serving our country. This event is inspired by the Bataan Memorial Death March that is staged in White Sands, NM each year. The University of Tennessee Army ROTC started the event to show its admiration and appreciation of our armed services while walking a mile, 26.2 of them in this case, in their boots. Thus the motto of the event, “Honor through actions.”

The march will begin at 9am Saturday, April 20 in downtown Gatlinburg in front of the Hard Rock Cafe and proceed up Highway 321 toward Pittman Center. Opening ceremonies commence at 8:30am.

Official weekend festivities begin on Friday evening, April 20, with a ceremony honoring East Tennessee Gold Star Mothers at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.
Alongside the memorial march, The Road March for Warriors (RM4W) conducts a motorcycle rally to show support for the event embodying the motto “Support the Future, Honor the Past.” These veterans are the liaison between the Gold Star Mothers and The University of Tennessee Rocky Top Battalion.

The course ranges from highway to rural roads from rugged terrain to mountain slopes. There are three entry categories:military heavy, military light and civilian. The entry fee is $50 per person or $200 per five-person team.The entry fee covers a light breakfast, snack food and water along the route at any of the 12 water points, T-shirt, BBQ meal at the finish line and custom-made awards from the Gatlinburg area. Proceeds from the event go to the Ranger Company, devised in 1962, to provide better training for Cadets who may be deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq.A portion of the events will go toward the Children of Fallen Soldiers Relief Fund in the name of First Lieutenant Walkup.

Frank B. Walkup IV followed in his father’s footsteps and chose the army for service to his country. First Lieutenant Walkup was raised in Woodbury, TN and attended the University of Tennessee. Upon graduation he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the infantry. Frank graduated from Airborne, Air Assault & Ranger School and was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii. Summer of 2006 saw Frank deployed to Iraq as a platoon leader. On June 16th, 2007 he was killed in Rashaad, Iraq by an IED. Frank was survived by his family and his college sweetheart Sabita Walkup.

Come out, support the troops and give to a good cause. It is very rare that you get to see a marathon in the Smokies. It is even rarer to see it done military style with 35 pound packs.

For more information visit or call (865) 974-5371.

Smoky Mountain Regional Bridge Tournament

It’s not the World Series of Poker, but it’s close enough…. For the Smoky Mountains that is.

Every spring for seven days in Gatlinburg (April 15-21) people from all across the country descend on this small, Smoky Mountain town for the bridge tournament to end all bridge tournaments – the Smoky Mountain Regional Bridge Tournament. For around 4,000 card-playing enthusiasts, Gatlinburg is the bridge capitol of the world. Officially, it’s titled the Smoky Mountain Mid-Atlantic Bridge Conference Regional and it’s simply the largest regional bridge tournament in the United States. It’s a tournament that has been going on for over 40 years now.

Not only do people from all over the United States come to Gatlinburg to battle it out at the bridge table, players from England, Poland, Germany, France, Denmark, and even Japan pull up a chair in Gatlinburg to compete against the best in bridge.

Starting at 9 a.m. and continuing until 2 a.m., people who wake early and those who burn the midnight oil can play almost around the clock. During the course of the tournament there will be over 9,500 tables in play and 1,000 card tables anticipated. All types of bridge will be in play during the tournament – KO’s, BAM’s, Open Pairs, 299er events, Gold Point events, Swiss Teams.

If you are coming in for the tournament, make sure you take some time to explore Gatlinburg. Gatlinburg is one of the most sought-out vacation destinations in the U.S. and serves as the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the Tennessee side. Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains area annually hosts 10 million visitors and ranks first in the Eastern United States and second in the nation in number of weddings performed each year.

Gatlinburg Gateway Triathlon

The 4th annual Gatlinburg Gateway Triathlon will kick into high gear Saturday May 5. The Gatlinburg Community Center is hosting this annual event.

With the “triathlon beginner” in mind, the annual Gatlinburg Gateway Triathlon will kick into high gear Saturday April 13. The Gatlinburg Community Center is hosting this annual event and it promises to be fun for both participants and spectators. The American Heritage Dictionary defines a triathlon as: “An athletic contest in which participants compete without stopping in three successive events, usually long-distance swimming, bicycling, and running.” Contestants are going to challenge that definition with a .5 mile swim, 20k bike race and a 5k run.

The event will start at 8:30 am but seeing as they have almost doubled the number of participants from last year, I would plan to arrive early. The triathlon itself is open to anyone 15 years and older capable of swimming one-half mile, biking twenty kilometers, and running five kilometers consecutively.

The .5 mile swim will take place in the indoor pool at the community center. Immediately following the swim triathletes will step outside for the 20km bike race. From the bikes they will start the 5k foot race along Ogle Road and finish back at the community center. This style of triathlon is called a “Sprint” triathlon.

Participants will be broken down into age brackets and then each age bracket will have a men’s and women’s division.There will also be a Team Relay for teams of two or three people. In the past, the entry fee has been $25 for individuals and $60 per Relay Team. There will be prizes for the winners of each division in each age group and for the first two teams. For more information about the rules for the race, and to register, please contact the Gatlinburg Recreation Department at 865-436-4990.

Gatlinburg Easter Egg Hunt

It’s that time of year when eggs are painted instead of boiled or even fried, and hidden to the delight of children everywhere. It’s no different in Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains either. Come celebrate Easter in the Smokies with the town’s annual Easter Egg Hunt.

Sponsored by the Gatlinburg Community Police Programs, this Easter Egg Hunt is for children between the ages of 1 and 12. The hunt will take place on Saturday March 30 at Mynatt Park on Airport Road at noon. The Easter Egg Hunt starts at 1 pm. Not only will it be loads of fun, but kids participating in the Easter Egg Hunt get to compete for prizes as well.

For those with an empty stomach when they get there, hotdogs and other refreshments will be served. One more thing, don’t forget to bring your Easter basket!

Other events occurring in the area over the Easter holiday weekend include an appearance of the Easter Bunny at The Christmas Place in Pigeon Forge, the Pigeon Forge Easter Egg Hunt, and the Easter Sunrise Service at Ober Gatlinburg.

Fishing in Gatlinburg & The 2013 Trout Tournament

One of the best things about Gatlinburg is the scenery. Part of that scenery is the mountain streams and rivers that converge and form the Little Pigeon River. With these bodies of water running through the city, it is no wonder that visitors and locals alike come to Gatlinburg to fish.

One of the best things about Gatlinburg are the numerous mountain streams and rivers that converge and form the Little Pigeon River. With these bodies of water running through the city, it is no wonder that visitors and locals alike come to Gatlinburg to fish. The accessibility of the streams and the fact that Gatlinburg stocks the river along River Road make for good fishing for the expert or novice. Being able to walk from your hotel to the water, wade into the river, start casting and land that big trout, makes fishing in Gatlinburg something to be remembered for a lifetime.

Which is why not long ago Gatlinburg came up with its own trout tournament – now entering its twelfth year. This year, April 6-7, contestants will be able to compete for over $10,000 in cash a prizes. To get ready for the tournament, Gatlinburg has stocked over 20 miles in local streams with 10,000 trout.

Due to the fact that Gatlinburg has one of the best stocking programs in the area, you do need a special permit to fish inside the city limits as well as compete in the tournament. You can pick up one of those permits at the Welcome Center on 441 South, the ‘Spur,’ before you get to town or City Hall on East Parkway. Gatlinburg has their own trout farm that they use for stocking. The streams are stocked on Thursday so there is no fishing on Thursdays, but any other day of the week is fine. The Gatlinburg Trout License has different rules and regulations depending on whether you are a Tennessee resident or not and there are a few exempt classes that do not need the Gatlinburg permit. You should ask those questions when you get your permit at the Welcome Center or City Hall.

There are some rules and regulations when fishing in Gatlinburg. Fishing in Gatlinburg is allowed from thirty minutes before sunrise to thirty minutes after sunset. There are several children-only fishing areas in Gatlinburg: no one over twelve is allowed to fish in those areas. When fishing in Gatlinburg, you can only use one hand-held rod and you can only use a single hook. No multiple hook rigs are allowed. There are, of course, creel limits to the number of fish you can catch, so make sure that you ask about creel limits, type of bait and lures that can be used when you purchase your fishing permit.

With all of the fishing opportunities it offers, Gatlinburg is a sportsman’s paradise. If you are a fly fisherman from way back, this is a great place to spend some time looking for that big trout in a stocked stream. If you have never fly fished before than you have the chance to fish where the water is easy to get to and you know that there are trout in the water. Good times are to be had fishing in Gatlinburg.

For more information, or to register for the 13th Annual Gatlinburg Trout Tournament, visit or call 865-661-FISH

Gatlinburg to Host World Storytelling Day

Though towns like Jonesborough, TN are more widely known for its Storytelling Festival every year, for one day this month Gatlinburg, TN will be epicenter for all storytelling lovers. World Storytelling Day will take place on March 23 in Gatlinburg as the town welcomes such widely known storytellers as Cuz Headrick, Rick Elliott, Carol Bell, Susan Fulbright, Kathleen Mavournin, and Jeanette and Charlie Stevens.

Members of the Smoky Mountain Storytellers Association will tell stories of humor and history using a theme of “Fate and Fortune,” based on the culture and heritage of the Smoky Mountains. The event is a fundraiser for SMSA programs in schools and communities.

A Sevierville native, Headrick is an energetic tale spinner, who combines storytelling and mountain music with his band, Mountain Grass.

Another local, Rick Elliott from Gatlinburg is easily recognizable for his energy, his big voice, and his hilarious wit and wisdom. Between stints as an English teacher and basketball coach, he never seemed to need a microphone over 30 some odd years. Now a professional photographer, Elliot will bring his unique views and experiences to World Storytelling Day.

Carol Bell hails from Maryville. She has always been curious about every subject, every place on earth, and every kind of people. She has lived in six states and in Austria. It was while living in Europe in the mid-1980s that she realized how much she wanted to get back to Tennessee so that she could attend the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough. A two-time cancer survivor, she completed a masters in storytelling at ETSU in 2005.

Kodak native Susan Fulbright weaves folktales, fables, horror tales, holiday tales, and family tales into her performance. She finished her degree in education at ETSU. While living in Texas, she taught reading, English, and storytelling for students in Houston. Susan is a reading specialist at Sevierville Middle School and incorporates stories into shaping young minds.

Kathleen Mavournin grew up in Minnesota before moving to East Tennessee over 40 years ago. She holds a Ph.D. in Microbiology and worked for many years at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory as a Genetic Toxicologist. Now retired, she has a lot more time for storytelling, one of her favorite hobbies. Kathleen has performed at Storytelling Festivals, Tellabrations, and Renaissance Fairs around the southern Appalachian region.

From nearby Powell, Jeanette Stevens is a well-known author, with several plays and stories published. Jeanette and her husband, Charles, teach ballroom dancing. Jeanette writes much of her own material, from awe-filled to spooky tales.

The event is from 2-4:00 pm and will be held at American Legion Hall #202, 1222 East Parkway (Hwy 321), Gatlinburg, TN (between Gatlinburg Police Department and the post office. Parking is free.

Refreshments will be served. A donation is requested of $7 adults, $4 students, under 5 is free. Groups are welcome.

For more information on Smoky Mountains Storytellers Association, please visit

Easter Sunrise Service at Ober Gatlinburg

Looking for a memorable way to spend Easter morning? What better way than celebrating amongst the trees in one of the most majestic settings of all – nature, and just outside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. More specifically, atop Mount Harrison at Ober Gatlinburg.

Gatlinburg’s Annual Easter Sunrise Service (March 31) is a sight to see each and every year with an inspirational message given at one of the most inspiring places int he Smokies. The region’s beauty really stands out when both locals from the community and visitors staying in the area gather at Ober Gatlinburg for this memorable worship service.

This will be the 16th year that Ober has held mountain top services at the resort. In all, it’s a 30-40 minute high mountain service which is led by local pastors of the Gatlinburg Ministerial Association. The offering collected during the service will be used by the Association in assisting the county’s needy.

As host for the Sunrise Service, the staff of Ober Gatlinburg will provide worshipers with free tram rides to the mountain top beginning at 5:45 A.M. and continuing at 15 minute intervals until the service begins at 6:30 A.M. Complimentary parking at the resort will be provided for those who prefer to drive up the mountain. A breakfast buffet will be available at the Ober Gatlinburg Restaurant from 7:15 – 10:30 A.M.

Smoky Mountain Tunes and Tales

Smoky Mountain Tunes and Tales is a free event for the entire family in Gatlinburg, TN lasting throughout the entire summer. Find out where to be, when to be there, and what to see!

If you’re looking for some fun, FREE entertainment for the entire family in Gatlinburg, TN then the Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales may provide a solid evening’s worth of fun. From the start of Spring throughout the entire Summer (from April 5 to August 10) the streets come alive from 6pm – 11pm with all sorts of characters! You’ll find people clogging, playing “mountain” instruments, telling stories, singing songs, and inviting you to experience the unique history of authentic Appalachian entertainment.

Along the parkway there will be as many as 14 different acts lasting 15 minutes each throughout the evening. It shouldn’t be difficult finding these performers…just look for the circles of crowds!

Some of these aforementioned performers include Hammer and Strings – a dulcimer duo, the Gatlinburg Barbershop Boys – a  turn-of-the-century barbershop quartet, and The Pea Pickin’ Hearts, with their ear tickling 1930s and 40s sound. There’s even something for the arts and crafts folks as Annie the Quilter will be there telling stories that are stitched on her family’s quilt. She’ll also be giving quilting tips and showing how quilts are made.

Along with these performers, be on the lookout for a black bear! Well…sort of. It’s Zeno the Gatlinburg “mascot” so-to-speak, which you have probably seen in Gatlinburg’s marketing campaigns. Zeno loves to hug and get his picture taken with your family…just don’t feed him! For anyone worried about a black bear on the streets, it’s just a person in a costume…just don’t tell your kids. But to help you tell the difference…the fake bear walks on 2 feet and real bears walk on 4…so don’t go up hugging real bears and trying to get your picture taken!

More information about Smoky Mountain Tunes and Tales in Gatlinburg, TN can be found on the official Gatlinburg website at the following link:  Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales