For all we talk about the wonders of nature and Appalachian culture in East Tennessee, we tend to keep it rather narrowly focused on Sevier County and the events we have going on here; as though the culture of the Smokies is limited to this one county alone. In fact, within just an hour or so driving west on Chapman Highway, you can find even more to be culturally stimulated for in the big city of the Smoky Mountains: Knoxville, TN.
And the event? The one at the headline of the article here, the annual Dogwood Arts Festival.
Whereas Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and Sevierville are reasonably spread out and keep it quite simple as far as urban development typically goes, Knoxville is THE big city of our frame of reference. Thus, it contains a whole new universe of artistic stimulation as inspired by all those who have been there and congregate there from all corners of the world. If you've ever been to a big city (and surely you have), you know what we mean - now imagine how those cultural elements can come together to celebrate Appalachia and you're probably already getting your bags packed to come see it without even realizing it!
The Dogwood Arts Festival is a highly anticipated Spring event going on this year between April 28th and April 30th and taking place at the famous Market Square in downtown Knoxville - the extremely artsy and quaint center for many such events on Knoxville's event calendar. The ironic impetus for this festival started 70 years earlier in 1947 when journalist John Gunther depicted Knoxville as "the ugliest city" in the United States in his book "Inside USA". To make a long story short, this inspired the city of Knoxville to renovate its image, and this eventually gave way to the Dogwood Arts Festival as we know it today. Bob Hope performed at it in 1970, Elvis Presley performed at it in 1972 and Paul Harvey even wrote about it in a 1995 piece, "A Commentary on the Dogwood Arts Festival". Now that's a tradition with a pedigree!
The event is a full weekend of arts and crafts booths, performing arts, performing artists, culinary arts demonstrations, tastings, a children's creation station and, yes, you'll be able to see those incredible Dogwood trees blooming that gives the event its name.
Arts and crafts booths include exhibitions and sales on:
* Pencil drawings
* Pastel illustrations
* Glass artwork
And many more.
There will be much food and awesome quenchables to nourish visitors (yes, beer!) and several stages to hold the performing artists. Blooming Boulevard will naturally return (pun intended) and provide even more color and delight with plenty of flower markets for plants, herbs and trees. On the last day of the festival will be the Art Slam, a live art competition taking place at Krutch Park from 12:00PM to 5:00PM and create an original work of art within three hours' time.
And there'll still be more!
Again, the Dogwood Arts Festival is going on between April 28th to April 30th for 2017 at Market Square in Downtown Knoxville. Their hours are as follows: