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You’ll Never Believe Where We Found Bigfoot!

In Blount County, you can party with Sasquatch, soar in a hot-air ballon, sample local flavors, and much more at this East Tennessee region's fun-filled festivals.

By Rebecca Treon on September 22, 2021

Bigfoot mascot playing saxophone
Blount Partnership

In Blount County, there’s no shortage of festivals for every taste. Throughout the year, there are all sorts of events, whether you want to enjoy music, savor tasty eats, raise a glass, go for a run, or celebrate Bigfoot (yes, you read that right). There’s something happening in Blount County for you. Kick up your heels and celebrate at one of these annual events!

Bigfoot Festival

This spring festival welcomes fans of all things Sasquatch for a chainsaw competition, hot air balloon rides with Bigfoot, a Bigfoot 5K, a Bigfoot calling contest, square dancing with Bigfoot, Bigfoot evidence displays, blacksmith knife forging, vendors, food trucks, live music, and even a wedding at the Townsend Visitor Center. Fun and unique festival T-shirts of different colors and sizes are available for purchase.

child making snow cone
Robert Berlin

Summer on Broadway

Blount County’s premier and highly popular annual festival, Summer on Broadway is a family-friendly event that features live music from well-known performers, a farmers market, food trucks, a barbecue competition, a vintage car show, a dog dock diving competition, and much more all held with downtown Maryville as its backdrop.

Great Smoky Mountains Half Marathon

If you’re a runner, there’s nothing better than treading through beautiful scenery, and the Great Smoky Mountains Half Marathon & 5K delivers. People can register to run the 5K or the half marathon, and for those really looking for a challenge, they can sign up to run the Black Bear Double – both of the races. You’ll have the “time” of your life running through the Tennessee countryside in the early fall.

man pouring whiskey
Sean Fisher

Townsend Grains & Grits Festival

The Townsend Grains & Grits Festival celebrates the region’s gourmet food and craft spirits with a dash of famous Southern hospitality. Guests can sample food like shrimp and grits from The Old Mill, along with moonshine from Doc Collier, and many other savory bites and sweet treats from the area’s thriving local restaurants and distillers. Grains & Grits is a unique opportunity to sample regional flavors, listen to live music and sip some spirits on the peaceful side of the Smokies. (It is a 21+ event.)

hot air balloons taking off

Great Smoky Mountains Hot Air Balloon Festival

In the midst of the Great Smoky Mountains, dozens of hot air balloons take to the air, bringing a range of colors up to the sky as the sun sets. This family-friendly summertime event in Townsend features a food truck court, craft demos and sales, a beer tent, live music and more.

The fourth annual festival takes place in August, and tickets and VIP packages are available for purchase. Attendees can take part in tethered rides. Riders must be ages 8 and up. The rides are approximately three minutes long, and the balloons lift 30 feet in the air. Regardless of the weather, the balloonists will perform a candlestick glow.

Hops in the Hills Craft Beer Festival

The Hops in the Hills Craft Beer Festival celebrated its sixth anniversary in 2021. Taking place at the Maryville Greenway Amphitheater, the summer event includes lawn games, live music and, of course, the opportunity to sample beers from regional craft breweries. There is a pub crawl that features visits to several local favorites, such as veteran-owned Tri-Hop Brewery and Blackberry Farm Brewery (of the legendary resort).

woman preparing food station
Blount Partnership

Taste of Blount

This flavorful, early fall event in Maryville has been going on annually for almost 20 years, featuring flavors from local restaurants, caterers and gourmet grocers competing for best appetizer, main course, sandwich, dessert, beverage, presentation and overall best.

The Big BBQ Bash

Since its first event in 2007, this Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS)-sanctioned barbecue competition has raised over $150,000 for local charitable causes. The McNabb Center Big BBQ Bash is a qualifier for the American Royal Barbecue Cook-Off and Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue. Categories for the event include Wampler’s Sausage and Bush’s Best Beans, among others.

performers at festival
Blount Partnership

Townsend Fall Festival

Featuring bluegrass and mountain music, wildflower walks, demonstrations of Appalachian skills, arts and crafts booths and traditional food like barbecue, ice cream, and cast-iron cookery, this two-day event celebrates the region’s unique culture and heritage.

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