Music of the Mountains

Music is the glue that holds a community together. On March 28th, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park presents its fifth annual Music of the Mountains celebration.

Music is the glue that holds a community together. On March 28th, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park presents its fifth annual Music of the Mountains celebration and it promises to be quite an event. Live music all day at the Sugarlands Visitor Center, culminating in the “Jimbo Whaley and Friends Reunion Show” at the W.L. Mills Conference Center. This celebration focuses on and is a celebration of the music traditions of the southern Appalachian Mountains. This is one of several special events that the Park has developed to tell the story of the hearty people that called these mountains home.

Music of the Mountains kicks off Saturday, March 28th at 10 am and runs until 5pm at the Sugarlands Visitor Center. The performances will be held in the Sugarlands Visitor Center Theater which seats 160 people. Seating is on a ‘first-come, first-served’ basis. Here is the list of the amazing acts that you will see at Sugarlands this year:

10-11 a.m. – Lost Mill String Band (perennial mountain favorites)
11 a.m.-noon – Tony Thomas (Old time fiddle and banjo tunes)
12-1 p.m. – Dr. Ted Olson (presentation on the origins of Appalachian mountain music)
1-2 p.m. – Boogertown Gap (perennial mountain favorites)
2-4 p.m. – Matt Morelock and Brian Volmer (claw hammer banjo and old-time fiddle)
4-5 p.m. – Roger Howell and Friends (string ensemble from Mars Hill, NC)

Park Superintendent Dale Ditmanson had this to say about the event: “We’re pleased to again partner with the City of Gatlinburg and Great Smoky Mountains Association to offer the public a variety of musical styles for this year’s ‘Music of the Mountains’ festival. Our staff has lined up a wide spectrum of old-time, traditional, and bluegrass music performers. With the change to an all day festival we hope to allow more of our visitors to experience the rich traditions of mountain music.”

At 7pm, in the W.L. Mills Conference Center in Gatlinburg, the Jimbo Whaley and Friends Reunion Show keeps Music of the Mountains rolling. Whaley is a popular bluegrass and gospel musician from Sevier County. He traces his roots back to the residents of what became the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and has played events around the nation and with groups such as Greenbrier. The concert will feature founding members of bluegrass sensation, Pine Mountain Railroad (Jimbo Whaley, Kipper Stitt and Mike Gwinn) plus other current and previous PMR members. Tickets for for Jimbo Whaley and Friends Reunion Show can be purchased online.(

So come out, listen to and learn about the music of the mountains. You are sure to go away with a song in your heart, whistling a tune.

Santa’s Showcase and the Holly & Shamrock Parade

Come see Santa Claus in March along with St. Patrick at the Santa’s Showcase and the Holly & Shamrock Parade in Gatlinburg, TN! Get details on what you will see, when to be there, and where to go for this Santa Claus convention and St Patrick’s Day parade in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Santa Claus Convention in Gatlinburg TNIf you love St. Patrick and St. Nicholas, or you just miss Christmas, you shouldn’t miss out on the Santa’s Showcase and the Holly & Shamrock Parade. The 2010 Holly and Shamrock Parade will be taking place on Saturday, March 13 in the middle of Gatlinburg, Tennessee. The parade starts mid-afternoon, and can be watched along the town’s main Parkway between lights six and eight. There’s no charge to view or attend, and it’s the perfect combination of Christmas and St. Patrick’s day.

Also occurring during this period is Santa’s Showcase (also known as the Celebrate Santa Convention), a unique Christmas in March convention and shopping experience. You can enter for just three dollars and purchase anything from hand made sculptures by local artists to pumpkin butter, salsa, and fresh roasted nuts. Plus, you can find absolutely everything Santa here. From the perfect Santa suit for next Christmas to decorations and items that can’t be described, the Santa Showcase has it all.

You’ll see real live reindeer and sleighs, as well as the incredible Cyber Sleigh. Its onboard lighting systems and incredible sound system make it a show stopper. It won the special honors award at the Kansas City Autosound Exposition and Competition two years running, and now it’s come to the Holly and Shamrock Parade. You’ll also get the chance to see floats from the biggest resorts and entertainment venues in the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area.

This parade is setting out to be one of the biggest St. Patty’s Day events in the country, combining Christmas and St. Patrick’s Day in a way you just won’t believe. Featuring leprechauns and elves, holly and shamrocks, and winter greeting the coming spring, the Holly and Shamrock Parade is something you’ll have to see to believe.

Santa, his elves, and Mrs Claus will all be there – you just have to decide which one is real. After all, Santas will be arriving from all over the world for the Santa Central convention and the Holly and Shamrock Gala. While these events aren’t open to the public, you’ll still get the chance to see almost a thousand Santas, as well as some truly amazing costumes, even before the parade begins. When the Santas aren’t busy with their convention, many of them will be willing to sign autographs and take photos.

The Holly and Shamrock Parade and Santa Showcase are worth seeing. If you only attend one St. Patrick’s Day celebration, make sure it’s this one. The Holly and Shamrock Parade and Celebrate Santa Convention in Gatlinburg, Tennessee are like no other!

If you are looking for a place to stay in Gatlinburg, be sure to check out our list of Gatlinburg, TN cabins as well as a list of the best hotels in Gatlinburg. Also check out the full calendar of events in Gatlinburg, TN to see what’s happening all year long!

2009 Calendar of Events in Gatlinburg TN

The full 2009 calendar of events in Gatlinburg, TN. See exactly what Gatlinburg events are happening, when the events are scheduled, and how to get more information in the calendar of events for Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

The 2009 calendar of events for Gatlinburg, TN features activities throughout the entire year for the whole family. Each season in the Smoky Mountains brings something new and the Gatlinburg events flow right along with the changes in seasons. Whether you want to winter winter lights, springtime flowers, summer music, or the changing of leaves in the fall, Gatlinburg, Tennessee has an event for you. The list below contains all of the events in Gatlinburg, TN that are scheduled for 2009 to help you plan the perfect vacation to Gatlinburg, Tennessee!

2009 Gatlinburg Calendar of Events

*PLEASE NOTE* These dates are subject to change. Please contact the numbers listed for each event to receive official information. If you discover something is different than what we have listed, please post it in the comment section at the bottom of this page.

Nov 4 – Jan 30 Trolley Ride of Lights
Enjoy a guided trolley ride of the spectacular Gatlinburg Winter Magic lighting displays.
Downtown Gatlinburg – $5.00
Nov 5 – Feb 28 Smoky Mountain Winterfest
Lights are displayed all throughout Gatlinburg
Feb 6 Southern Exposure Competitions
Ski and snowboard competition at Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort
Mar 11 – Jun 7 Gatlinburg SpringFest
Enjoy the nature of spring in the Smoky Mountains as well as various festivals throughout Gatlinburg.
Mar 13 – 15 Gatlinburg Screenfest
Gatlinburg’s first annual film festival featuring independent films and filmmakers from all over the nation at the River Terrsace Resort in Gatlinburg, TN.
Mar 16 – 18 Celebrate Santa Convention
Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, and the reindeer are coming to Gatlinburg, TN! It’s the biggest convention of jolly old elves you can imagine at the Gatlinburg Convention Center!.
Mar 17 Holly and Shamrock Parade – St. Nicholas Meets St. Patrick
This one-of-a-kind parade in Gatlinburg features St. Patrick and St. Nick along with everything associated with Santa Claus and St. Patrick’s Day. This is a great, free venue to bring the kids to!
Mar 19 Nashville Suzuki Players
Under the direction of Thornton Cline, the Nashville Suzuki Players will perform a free public concert in Gatlinburg on Thursday, March 19 at 7 p.m. in W.L. Mills Conference Center, and will also entertain the student body of Pi Beta Phi Elementary School during two assemblies that day.
Location: Mills Auditorium
More info: 865-430-4148
Mar 28 Gatlinburg Gateway Triathlon
The third annual triathlon at the Community Center starts at 8:15 a.m. and is open to anyone 15 years and older capable of swimming one-half mile, biking twenty kilometers, and running five kilometers consecutively.
Location: Gatlinburg Community Center
More info: 865-436-4990
Mar 28 Music of the Mountains
Great Smoky Mountains National Park presents its fourth annual event highlighted by “An Evening With Jimbo Whaley and Friends” at 7 p.m. at W.L. Mills Conference Center. This year’s one-day event begins at Sugarlands Visitor Center with free, limited-seating performances by a series of six acts from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 29.
Location: Mills Conference Center
Apr 4 Mountain Man March
The Second Annual Mountain Man March is a 26.2-mile march in the Smoky Mountains as a tribute to our men and women in uniform. The Mountain Man March begins at 7 a.m. on Saturday, April 4 in downtown Gatlinburg and proceeds up Hwy. 321 to Pittman Center. The marathon course includes stretches of highway and rural road in addition to rugged terrain and mountain slopes.
Apr 8-11 Arts & Crafts Community Show
Unique handcrafted gifts made by members of the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community as they host their annual show at the Gatlinburg Convention Center.
More info:
Apr 12 Easter Sunrise at Ober
Soak up Easter Sunday sunrise from the top of Mt. Harrison at Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort during this service sponsored by the Gatlinburg Ministerial Association.
Location: Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort
Apr 22-26 59th Annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage
Enjoy the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with over 150 different programs, including hiking tours, motorcades, demonstrations & classroom lectures. “It is a rare opportunity for those with a personal love of flowers to have the same access to leaders in the field as researchers”, said Ken McFarland, a botanist and professor at the University of Tennessee.
More info:
Apr 23 Ribfest & Wings
Enjoy live entertainment, ribs, and wings in downtown Gatlinburg, TN.
May 15-17 Gatlinburg Scottish Festival & Games
28th Annual Scottish clans meeting featuring Highland athletics, bagpipe competitions, Highland dancing, border collie demonstrations, haggis hurling, entertainment, whiskey tasting, food & merchandise vendors.
Location: Mills Park
May 16-17 Gatlinburg Fine Arts Festival
A free, family oriented fine arts festival featuring juried artists from around the country, delicious cuisine and music on Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies Plaza and River Road.
More info:
Jun 6 Gatlinburg Old Timer’s Day – The Park was our Home
Residents gather to reminisce about the days before the establishment of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Location: Gatlinburg Inn
Jun 12 – Jun 26 Smoky Mountain Tunes and Tales
All summer long hear tales, mountain music, and learn the lore of the Smoky Mountains on the sidewalks of downtown Gatlinburg. Fourteen acts nightly. 5 – 10 p.m.
Location: Downtown Gatlinburg
Jun 19 – 21 Living History Civil War Reenactment
The recreation of the “Battle of Burg Hill” highlights this living history exhibition which includes a free, public demonstration and a camp setting with plenty of history and heritage.
Location: Mills Park
Jul 3-4 Midnight Independence Day Parade
The first 4th of July Parade in the good ol’ U.S.A. happens in Gatlinburg. Join us for a fun-packed Holiday when the celebration of our nation’s birthday begins at 12:01 a.m. in Downtown.
Location: Downtown Gatlinburg
Jul 4 Gatlinburg’s River Raft Regatta
Gatlinburg’s popular River Raft Regatta takes place at noon on Friday, July 4th, on the Little Pigeon River in Downtown Gatlinburg.
Jul 4 “Stand Here” Fireworks Finale
Finish off the 4th in style with a magnificent fireworks show visible from the downtown streets of Gatlinburg!
Jul 17-26 Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair
Art, crafts and music lovers can find almost 200 booths featuring some of the nation’s finest work. Artisans and craftspeople are on hand to demonstrate their skills, answer questions and offer their unique art for sale. Live Country & Bluegrass entertainment. Open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Location: Gatlinburg Convention Center
More info:

If you know of an event that is not listed above, please use the form below to share information about it and we’ll get it added.

Gatlinburg Scottish Festival and Games

Get information about the 2009 Gatlinburg Scottish Festival and Games, one of the largest Scottish festivals in the nation. Get dates, locations, events, and more for this major Scottish festival in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Gatlinburg Scottish Festival and GamesIf you’re interested in Scottish history and culture, the 2009 Gatlinburg Scottish Festival and Games is the place to be. From the Kilted Mile to the history of the tartan, this festival is all about all things Scottish. This year, the 28th games will be held May 15-17 at Mills Park, Gatlinburg Tennessee, and you need to be there.

Check out the activities and the pageantry this Scottish festival in Gatlinburg, Tennessee has to offer, and take home many years’ worth of memories. The weekend starts out with an easy Smoky Mountain stroll, then the Knoxville Pipes and Drums lead a parade down the Gatlinburg Parkway at 6pm on Friday evening. If you’re a Scot, you’re invited to ride the trolley or march in the parade.

After the parade, there will be a Gala Reception at 8pm. Located at the Quality Inn Creekside, this sit-down buffet is a great place to wear your best Scottish gear, see some great entertainment, and win door prizes.

On Saturday and Sunday, you’ll get to participate in an all day Scottish music festival, called a Ceilidh, as well as Scottish athletic events (both professional and amateur), and a Highland Dance competition. Pipers will be happy to participate in the Piper and Pipe Band performances and competition, and the rest of us will be happy to watch and listen. Expect to see well known musicians, including Coyote-Run, Cutthroat Shamrock, Colin Grant-Adams and Rathkeltair throughout the day and at the Saturday night Ceilidh Under the Stars, starting at 7:30 pm.

Kids won’t feel left out, either. There’s scaled down caber tossing for the little ones, as well as Toss the Haggis and a Saturday children’s parade. The Kid’s Kastle is a big favorite, too. Adults will enjoy axe throwing, running the Kilted Mile (with loaner kilts available for those without), highland wrestling and more.

There will also be Border Collie demonstrations on Saturday and Sunday, as well as Highland Cows and a demonstration of sheep shearing. Check these out, as well as vendors offering jewelry, clothing books, music, meat pies, sausage rolls and more.

If you want to find out about your Scottish ancestry, think about visiting one of the more than sixty heritage and clan societies that will be present to tell you about clan history, genealogy and the history of Scotland. For 2009, the Festival is honoring Clan Gunn, but all clans at the festival will be represented in the Sunday Parade of Tartans. At the Scottish Tartans Museum Tent near the Festival’s front gate, you’ll be able to talk to Matt Newsome, an expert on the development of the tartan and the kilt, as well as other traditional Scottish attire.

This Scottish festival in Gatlinburg, TN has been going strong for twenty-eight years, and promises to be just as fun as it ever was. Remember to dress for the weather and that no pets are allowed at the games, and don’t forget to have fun! If you’re interested in finding out more about the Gatlinburg Scottish Festival and Games, check out their website at

If you are looking for a place to stay in Gatlinburg, be sure to check out our list of Gatlinburg, TN cabins.

*The Gatlinburg Scottish Festival and Games have since moved to Maryville College in Maryville, TN. Click the following link for more information on the annual Smoky Mountain Highland Games in Maryville.

Gatlinburg MountainFest and Old Timer’s Day

If you plan on being in Gatlinburg August 17-18, 2007 and want to experience how the people of Gatlinburg, TN once lived, then you have to head downtown to take part of the 2nd annual MountainFest and Old Timer’s Day. There will be lots of bluegrass music, genuine Appalachian mountain music with dulcimers, crafters of all sorts, and demonstrations from people who grew up in the Smoky Mountains and have carried on the mountain traditions. Sadly, a lot of how Gatlinburg once was is slowly passing on with each elder that fades into history. This is your opportunity to hear their stories, dance to their music, see their crafts being handmade, and see how a much simpler time filled the smokies with so much joy. This is a free event for the entire family that I couldn’t suggest enough.

“Old Timer’s Day” was originated in 1923 by the Pi Beta Phi Settlement School as a way for the people of Gatlinburg to come together, sing, share stories, make crafts, and just have a good ole’ time. The event slowly died off around 1950 and is now being revived to share the mountain heritage with others. Personally, I have loved being a local and being able to hear the elders tell stories of the good ole’ days. A daily stop at McCarter’s Market, Parton’s Deli, or McKinney’s Market was always a treat as I learned something new and met all sorts of “mountain folk” over the years. I’m definitely blessed to have lived within a generation of the folks who grew up in Gatlinburg, TN and saw the town without cheesy T-shirts shops, cheap jewelry stores, and foreign novelties. No offense if you’re into that stuff, but a lot of that junk has gotten out of hand over the years and I encourage everyone to experience MountainFest and Old Timer’s Day to see what Gatlinburg use to be like and what originally attracted so many visitors to the area. I’m extremely happy to see events such as this and the Smoky Mountain Tunes and Tales taking place as they will provide more of a traditional experience for visitors to Gatlinburg, Tennessee and the Smokies.

There will be a Mountain Strings Competition on Saturday, August 18, which is open to anyone of all ages. If you like to pick a guitar, banjo, bass, play fiddle, etc then this is your chance to shine for awards and cash prizes! If you don’t play any instruments, then you’ll love sitting in the crowd and hearing all of the bluegrass and musical talent…for free!

The event will take place downtown near traffic light #3 and will start Friday, August 17 at noon and will go until 10:00 pm EDT that night. It will then last from 10:00 am – 10:00 pm on Saturday, August 18.

Other Old Timer’s Days occur in Townsend, Tn every spring with the annual Townsend Heritage Festival and Old Timer’s Day. Stop by Townsend usually during the first week of May to take part in the festivities.