HARVEST TIME: CELEBRATE FALL WITH TENNESSEE’S UNIQUE CULTURAL FESTIVALS
Explore Culture, Cuisine and Heritage All Autumn Long
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Sept. 15, 2022) – Fall in Tennessee brings cooler temperatures, gorgeous fall colors and a host of festivals that allow attendees to immerse themselves in the state’s unique culture, cuisine and heritage. You could spend virtually every weekend in September, October and November traveling from town to town, experiencing the best of autumn in Tennessee at these unique and welcoming events. Below, check out some of this year’s most fall-tastic festivals.
Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival (Sept. 6-Nov. 10)
Who It’s Great For: Smoky Mountain explorer
To fully embrace fall 2022, the City of Gatlinburg has expanded its annual autumn celebration from mid-September through late November, giving visitors more time to plan a trip to the Smokies during this peak season. Gatlinburg Harvest Festival will feature over-the-top fall displays including life-size, three-dimensional scarecrow people. You’ve gotta see ‘em to believe ‘em.
Cheekwood Harvest (Sept. 17-Oct. 30)
Who It’s Great For: Leaf-Peepers (and their four-legged friends)
Celebrate all things fall during Cheekwood Harvest, held over six weeks at Nashville’s Cheekwood Estate and Gardens. The changing of the leaves is one of many garden highlights you’ll find as oaks, maples, dogwoods, and other trees greet you with their brilliant colors. Activities and experiences are designed for kids, adults and families alike, including pumpkin houses, elaborate scarecrows and even a Halloween Pooch Party for your costumed canine.
Great Pumpkin Festival (Sept. 17-18)
Who It’s Great For: Kids (and the young at heart)
Get into the spirit of the season of the pumpkin with Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the gang from Peanuts in Cookeville, TN, at the Putnam County Fairgrounds. At this free fest, browse handcrafted items from 100 amazing vendors, pumpkin-painting (and face-painting!) for the kids and pumpkin-spiced everything. You’ll also enjoy classic fair fare, including BBQ, hamburgers, hotdogs, fried Oreos, funnel cakes, kettle corn, fried apple pies and more.
Collierville Balloon Festival (Sept. 17-18)
Who It’s Great For: Anyone who wants to get above it all
Bringing together more than 20 stunning hot air balloons, live entertainment, food, arts & crafts vendors and more, the Collierville Balloon festival is a guaranteed great time for the whole family. Want to get above it all? Step directly into the wonder of hot air ballooning – for $20 per person, passengers of all ages can take a tethered balloon ride and get a bird’s-eye view of the entire event.
Sevierville’s Harvest Fest Celebration (Sept: 22-Oct. 31)
Who It’s Great For: Gourd lovers
Ring in the harvest in Sevierville with fall-themed events, foods and fun. The Smoky Mountain Harvest Fest offers gorgeous displays of pumpkins and gourds at area businesses, seasonally inspired meals at local restaurants, and spooky (but not too spooky) surprises throughout town.
19th Annual Homesteads Apple Festival (Sept. 24-25)
Who It’s Great For: Anyone who believes “an apple a day” simply isn’t enough apples
Apples were an important food staple for the 252 families chosen to become Cumberland Homesteaders back in the 1930s — and the town celebrates that legacy every year during the Homesteads Apple Festival. Focusing on high quality music and crafts, it’s a reflection of the high skills of Cumberland’s regional artists, producers and craftspeople. And the food is second to none — you can’t visit the Apple Festival without taking home one (or two!) of the fresh fried apple pies.
Pumpkin Fest (Sept. 24)
Who It’s Great For: Pumpkin aficionados
New for 2022, take a stroll through Downtown Jonesborough and pick up delicious pumpkin treats during Jonesborough’s Pumpkin Fest. Attendees will discover endless options of sweet and savory pumpkin-themed food served by small businesses, including truffles, cookies, cakes and pies, pasta, chili, and much more.
Fall Festival at Maple Lane Farms With World’s Fair Anniversary Maze (Sept. 30-Oct. 31)
Who It’s Great For: Corn maze experts
This year marks the 24th consecutive year that Knoxville’s Maple Lane Farms will open its corn maze and other “agritainment” activities: tractor-pulled hayrides, pumpkin picking, inflatables for the kids, sunflower fields and other wholesome family fun. This year’s incredible corn maze commemorates of the 40th Anniversary of the 1982 World’s Fair of Knoxville’s famous Sunsphere.
Acoustic Autumns (Every Thursday in October)
Who It’s Great For: Local music connoisseurs
Downtown Johnson City's newest concert series celebrates all things local — local beer, local singer-songwriters, and local vendors will be present at this four-week fall concert series in the destination’s Founders Park. Bring a blanket, find a comfy spot and enjoy the best Johnson City has to offer.
Uncle Dave Macon Days (Oct. 7-8)
Who It’s Great For: Bluegrass fans
Named in honor of the country music legend, Uncle Dave Macon Days has been a Middle Tennessee tradition since 1978. After a short hiatus, the tradition returns. This year, Uncle Dave Macon Days is bringing the festivities to the beautiful 83-acre rolling hills of Hop Springs Beer Park. Come explore Rutherford County, take in some incredible bluegrass music and enjoy delicious eats.
National Storytelling Festival (Oct. 7-9)
Who It’s Great For: Anyone who loves a good story (in other words: everyone!)
Beginning on the first Friday in October each year, this world renowned, three-day event in Jonesborough, the Storytelling Capital of the World, celebrates storytelling at its most magical.
Stories from around the world are told throughout the town featuring famous tellers like Peter Chand, Chuna McIntyre, Jay O'Callahan and Noa Baum, performing on stage and under tents. There is also a virtual event option for those who are unable to travel but want to experience the world-class storytelling.
Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair (Oct. 13-30)
Who It’s Great For: Do-it-yourselfers
Art, crafts and music lovers will find over 200 booths featuring some of the nation's finest work. Filling the 150,000 square feet of downtown’s Gatlinburg Convention Center, artisans and craftspeople are on hand to demonstrate their skills, answer questions and offer their unique art for sale.
Windrock Park Fall Jam (Oct. 13-15)
Who It’s Great For: Off-roaders
Windrock Park is the largest privately owned off-road park in the country and their annual Fall Jamboree is always an autumn must-do, including haunted trail rides, off-road competitions, bonfires, food vendors, music and more. In 2022, expect more family friendly activities, plus a grand opening celebration for the brand-new General Store.
Who It’s Great For: History buffs
Step back in time enjoy the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of pioneer Southern Appalachian traditions and dozens of old-time demonstrations of the fall harvest season. Enjoy a hayride, traditional music, a tractor exhibition, and demos of blacksmithing, sorghum and apple butter making, sawmilling, and leatherworking. There are plenty of kid-friendly activities, too, including an animal education and petting area, a hay maze and a pumpkin patch.
Fieldaze (Nov. 4-6)
Who It’s Great For: People who love being active in the great outdoors
The three-day Fieldaze event features competitive running, paddling and cycling events throughout Downtown Memphis. The festival will also offer free fitness and recreational experiences including Zumba, yoga, scavenger hunt fitness and line dancing in Handy Park.
Discover more Tennessee events at www.tnvacation.com/calendar.
ABOUT TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF TOURIST DEVELOPMENT
Tennessee is the home of the blues, bluegrass, country, gospel, soul, rockabilly, and rock ‘n’ roll— delivering an unparalleled experience of beauty, history, and family adventure, infused with music that creates a vacation that is the “Soundtrack of America. Made in Tennessee.” Explore more at TNvacation.com and join other Tennessee travelers by following “TNVacation” on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube, and “Tennessee” on Snapchat.
Mary Katelyn Price