As sure as the temperatures cool and every possible food and beverage becomes flavored with pumpkin spice, so too does October fill up with an array of East Tennessee festivals. Here are eight to add to the calendar.
This annual three-day festival at the Robert A. Tino Gallery in Sevierville is a long tradition featuring craft vendors, bluegrass music, southern cooking, and a pick-and-paint pumpkin patch for the kids. The festival will be open on Friday September 30 from 11 am to 6pm and then again Saturday and Sunday (Oct. 1 and 2) from 10 am to 5pm.
October launches on the First with an old-fashioned fest in the tiny tine of Allardt, Tennessee, in rural Fentress County. It’s worth the drive if you want to see the biggest pumpkins and squashes get weighed to find the heaviest of all — the winning pumpkin grower takes home $1.50 per pound. You’ll also find craft and food vendors, musical entertainment, a car show and a parade at 3 pm.
Enjoy an afternoon of games, music, pony rides, pumpkin patch and crafts at Horse Haven in Lenoir City on Oct. 8 from 11 am to 3 pm. You can also bid on items in the silent auction! Admission.
Head to World’s Fair Park Oct. 8 and 9 for the 22nd annual Hola Festival, celebrating the diverse cultures of Latin America. There’ll be music, including jazz and salsa; authentic Latin American food, dancing, games, crafts and items by local vendors. Hispanic Heritage Booths will host educational activities for kids (and their parents!) about Latin America and Hispanic culture.
Enjoy that cool mountain air at the ninth annual Wears Valley Fall Fest in Sevierville Oct. 14-16. The celebration includes crafters and vendors from several states, 20 food trucks and live musical entertainment. Hours are 10 am to 6 pm Friday and Saturday and 10 am to 4 pm on Sunday.
Head east to Dandridge Oct. 22 and 23 for the annual Lakeside of the Smokies Balloon Fest beside Jefferson County High School. The festival includes tethered and untethered balloon rides, a nightly balloon glow, food trucks, kids’ activities, craft vendors, live music and a wine and beer garden. Gates open at 1 pm and close at 8. Admission.
Gobble some cobbler at Harriman’s Cobbler Contest on Oct. 22 from 10 am to 3 pm. If you make an irresistible cobbler, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to participate. Otherwise, just drop by for the fun, food trucks, vendors and more.
UT Gardens hosts its ninth annual Howl-O-Ween Pooch Parade and Pet Expo on Oct. 23 from 1 to 5 pm. Enter your pet in the judged costume parade for dogs, learn about pet products and rescue groups, bring some pet food for the Companion Animal Initiative of Tennessee and enjoy the beautiful Gardens in fall!