Posted by Leif Palmer in Events
The 10th season of the Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales Festival kicks off on Friday, June 12th, in downtown Gatlinburg and runs through August 1st. The seasonal Tunes & Tales Festival highlights the rich, complex and beautiful history of the Appalachian region. This seven-week event is a summer-long street party that features costumed storytellers, musicians and artisans portraying characters typical of the region from Appalachian history as far back as the 1800s.
Visitors can interact with personalities such as Sun Bonnet Sue, who teaches children to make "church dolls," and Whittlin' Joe, who produces unique carvings right in front of your eyes. These educational and entertaining experiences are a fun way to learn about the people of the Smoky Mountains region. The Tunes & Tales Festival cast includes the descendants of Cherokee Indians, European settlers, and outcasts, artists and adventurers who contributed to the unique Appalachian culture.
Gatlinburg is an easy drive from most camping sites and cabin rentals in the area, and you won't want to miss exploring it. This is a fantastically walkable town, and a leisurely evening stroll through the Parkway before or after dinner is the best way to experience this festival.
Performers arrive at 6 p.m. each evening in the center of town, magically transforming the sidewalks to stages. Stop and take in traditional mountain music, gospel, bluegrass, dulcimer bands and more. Kids can grab a set of spoons, a washboard or a tub and be part of the ever-popular Jug Band. Listen as storytellers spin yarns (in present tense) about what life was like in the Appalachian wilderness and its small mountain towns. Follow the Back Porch Cloggers as they dance their way down the Parkway. They'll teach you a few steps, but feel free to jump in and learn more as you go.
The traditional artisans are among the festival's most popular attractions. Using simple, indigenous materials, ingenuity and skills that have largely been lost to history, local craftspeople demonstrate the art of carving, making toys and household items that are as beautiful as they are functional. Be sure to take a few minutes with Spinnin' Selma and her antique spinning wheel as she demonstrates how to spin yarn from wool. Some of the festival's artisans are third or fourth generation makers who have a passion for keeping the independent spirit of the region alive. Ask performers about their heritage and their connection to this very special place and you're likely to hear stories you'll never forget.
Gatlinburg's Tunes & Tales Festival supports the region's long history of dedication to art, craft, music and storytelling. This festival illustrates the stories, skills and talents that have been handed down and honed by generations of Smoky Mountain inhabitants. By taking part, not only will you enjoy a peaceful, entertaining evening of back-to-basics fun, you'll be helping preserve the important heritage of this beautiful, unique region. The Tunes & Tales Festival runs from Friday, June 12, through August 1, and performers will be downtown from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
About Leif Palmer
Leif Palmer loves residing in the Smoky Mountains. He is an avid outdoorsman: rowing for exercise on the lake, trail hiking, and free climbing rocks in the mountains. He indulges his arty side by periodically beating up pieces of marble by sculpting. He is always frustrated by his inability to sink long putts, and hates his curly hair (but his wife loves it). Leif has been known to muster enough courage to change a diaper, and hopes his son will become a chip off the old block.