While winter snows may mean long driving delays, school closings, and unplanned days off, here in Townsend, TN, the more it snows, the more fun there is to have. The Smokies are the perfect place for those who appreciate the great outdoors and spend as much time as they can in it. But there is more to do in January than play in the snow! Deep into winter on January 25th and 26th, 2019, Townsend and the Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center bring the annual Winter Heritage Festival to town.


No Cost Entertainment and Education

The 2019 Winter Heritage Festival has much to offer regarding learning about the past. This year, the Cades Cove Preservation Association will be presenting a series of stories and presentations by local historians who will regale you with the tales and stories of the past that have helped to shape the area into what it is today.

This is the perfect chance to hang out at the Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center in the warmth while you listen to these experts weave their tales of yesteryear when the area was still “wild.” Be sure you bring the kids, as many of the stories are sure to fire their imaginations. Along with stories, there will be many local musicians playing traditional music on instruments such as the fiddle, the banjo, and the dulcimer.

So Much to See

This year there will be a Chili Cook-Off where the best chili makers in the area will go head to head to see whose chili rules the roost. Of course, in addition to the prestige of being crowned the 2019 Winter Heritage Festival Chili Champ, there will be awards for the best! Along with world-class chili, there will be many other food vendors serving up a fantastic variety of modern and traditional dishes, foods, and goodies for you to taste, along with plenty of hot cocoa.

Many of our local crafters work all year to create everything you see in the many arts and crafts displays and booths. You might be surprised at how many of our local residents continue the same crafts their families have been doing for generations, back to when they were a necessity, not a luxury. Imagine if the only way you could get a new blanket was to gather the materials and make it yourself from scratch? There was a time, not that long ago, that this was the way things were.

Our local community is filled with a fantastic array of craftspeople who come to the Winter Festival each year to showcase their work. Be sure you take the time to visit all of them; you will be amazed at the skills so many of the people of all ages display. This is a great time to do a little “after the holidays shopping.”

Be sure you mark your calendar for the 2019 Winter Heritage Festival on January 25th and 26th and dress warmly. We occasionally get snow, and it’s guaranteed to be more than just a little chilly at this time of year in Townsend, TN! Bring the kids, bring the camera, and most of all, be ready to learn a little and have a lot of fun.