16 East Tennessee summer festivals to check out


Scenes from Oak Ridge’s Secret City Festival Wayne Bledsoe

Spring might kick off festival season in East Tennessee, but summertime is no slouch when it comes to events.

The months of June-August are busy in this area and feature several festivals focused on food, fun, flowers, beer, different cultures and other subjects.

Things to do: What’s going on in East Tennessee in June?

Summer 2018: 100 things to do in Knoxville and surrounding areas

Here’s what to know before you go.

Secret City Festival: June 8-9

Oak Ridge’s annual Secret City Festival will unite festival favorites like music and food with exhibits focusing on technology and the history of the town.

The event will go from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. June 8 and 9 at Oak Ridge’s A.K. Bissell Park and feature food, vendors, live entertainment, a robotics competition, a World War II artifacts exhibition and other activities.

The festival is free except for its headlining concerts, which will feature Dennis DeYoung and the Music of Styx at 7 p.m. June 8 and the Little River Band at 7 p.m. June 9. Tickets cost $22 for one show and $40 for both shows.

Info and tickets: secretcityfestival.com

Dollywood Summer Festivals: June-August

Summertime is a popular time at Dollywood, and the park features two festivals during the season.

More: Dolly Parton unveils new Dollywood venue, entertainment for 2018 season

ItsBarbeque and Bluegrass festival kicked off in late May and will continue through June 10 with bluegrass concerts throughout the park and barbecue food specials. 

Dollywood’s 2018 “Season of Showstoppers” features a new summer festival, Summer Celebration, from June 16 to Aug. 5. The park will have late night fireworks and new entertainment from DRUMline Live!, iLuminate and Paint Jam during the festival.

Info: dollywood.com/themepark/Festivals

More: Dolly Parton breaks down what’s new for Dollywood’s 2018 season

Big Kahuna Wing Festival: June 16

Get your hot wing fix this June with Knoxville’s Big Kahuna Wing Festival. 

The event will take place from noon-8 p.m. June 16 at World’s Fair Park and feature wing eating and cooking competitions, live music, a silent auction, kids activities and more than 16,000 pounds of wings.


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Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the gate. VIP tickets cost $200. Children under 8 get in free.

Regular tickets will get you admission and 25 wings. Additional wings after your first 25 will cost $1. VIP tickets will include admission, early entry, access to a private VIP area with food, drinks and bathrooms, and unlimited wings and alcohol.

Info and tickets: bkwfestival.com

BrewFest: June 16

While the Big Kahuna Wing Festival takes off early in the day, Knoxville’s BrewFest will get started in the late afternoon on June 16.

It will go from 4-8 p.m. in World’s Fair Park at the base of the Sunsphere and Tennessee Amphitheater, according to the event’s website. The festival will feature more than 300 beer selections from Tennessee and beyond, as well as food vendors. 


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General admission tickets cost $50 and include a tasting glass and unlimited beer samples. Designated driver tickets cost $20 and will include non-alcoholic drinks. Attendees must be 21 years or older. Children and pets are not allowed.

Info and tickets: knoxvillebrewfest.com

More: DockDogs best in show at Knoxville’s Bike Boat Brew & Bark

Lavender Festival: June 16

Celebrate the environment, herbs and health at Oak Ridge’s 20th annual Lavender Festival. 

The event will take place from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. June 16 at Oak Ridge’s Historic Jackson Square. It will include vendors, music, entertainment, cooking demonstrations, a farmers market, a wine tasting and children’s activities.

The wine tasting will go from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. It costs $10 and includes a complementary glass.

Info: jacksonsquarelavenderfestival.org

Kuumba Festival: June 22

Knoxville’s Kuumba Festival will return June 22 to celebrate African-American arts and culture with the theme “Kuumba Forever.”

The event will go from noon-10 p.m. on Market Square and stage and will present more than 200 entertainers, demonstrations, craft and food vendors, and a parade and live concert. Performances will feature African dance and music and stilt walkers.

Info: sites.google.com/site/kuumbafestival


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Hops in the Hills: June 22-23

Maryville’s Hops in the Hills festival will celebrate the town’s beer scene with a week filled with events. 

It will kick off June 18-21 with events at individual Maryville breweries and then culminate with a Brew Crawl and Poker Run June 22 and Brew Festival June 23.

The Brew Crawl, presented by Knox Brew Tours, will go from 6-10 p.m. June 22. Buses will pick up attendees at The Public House on High in Maryville and will run throughout the night. Tickets cost $15. Attendees must be 21 or older.

The Brew Festival will take place from 5-9 p.m. June 23 in downtown Maryville with craft beer and food samples. Tickets cost $55 per person in advance and $65 on the day of. Designated driver tickets cost $25. Attendees must be 21 and over.

Hops in the Hills is one facet of Maryville’s Summer on Broadway event on June 22-23. Summer on Broadway will also feature Smoky Mountain Dock Dogs events, a parade, an auto show, vendors, a farmers market, music and other activities. 

Info and tickets: hopsinthehills.com

Daylily Bloom Festival: June 22-23

Six acres. More than 1,000 varieties of daylillies.

Expect to see that and more at the Oakes Daylily Bloom Festival from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 22-23 at 8153 Monday Road, Corryton.

During the free festival, attendees can walk around the display beds, listen to music from local artists, eat free refreshments or purchase lunch, shop at a plant sale, enjoy activities for kids and participate in a wine tasting.

The wine tasting costs $10 and includes a complementary glass. Every attendee will receive a free daylily for attending the event.

Info: oakesdaylilies.com/daylily-bloom-festival

Knox Pridefest: June 23

Knox Pridefest 2018 will feature events, music and speakers focused on promoting equality and inclusion for LGBTQ citizens of Knoxville and surrounding areas.

The free event will go from noon to 9 p.m. June 23 on the Mary Costa Lawn next to the Knoxville Civic Coliseum. A parade will precede the festival at 11 a.m. 

Info: knoxvillecoliseum.com/event/knox-pridefest-2018

Blount County Crabfest: June 23

Eat plenty of crab and help Second Harvest Food Bank at the same time at Blount County’s second annual Crabfest.

The event will take place from 2-5 p.m. June 23 at the food bank, 136 Harvest Lane, Maryville.

Tickets cost $50 and include all-you-can-eat steamed Southeast blue crabs, fried fish, french fries and boiled corn. Water, soda, wine and beer will also be available.

“Each ticket will provide 75 meals to those in need in the 18 counties Second Harvest serves,” according to a press release.

Info and tickets: community.secondharvestetn.org/pages/event-registration-crab-fest-2018

Festival on the 4th: July 4

Celebrate July 4 with entertainment, activities, music, food and fireworks at downtown Knoxville’s Festival on the 4th.

The free event is rain or shine and will go from 4-10 p.m. at World’s Fair Park. New this year, Festival on the 4th will feature the Home Federal Bank Family Fun Stage with live and interactive entertainment from 4-7:45 p.m. in the Amphitheater.

The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra will provide a musical finale at 8 p.m. on the performance lawn. Fireworks will begin at 9:42 p.m.

Info: knoxvilletn.gov/government/city_departments_offices/special_events/festival_on_the_4th.


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Pigeon Forge’s July Fourth Patriot Festival: July 4

Pigeon Forge will present its annual July 4th Patriot Festival to celebrate Independence Day.

The free event will kick off at noon at Pigeon Forge’s Patriot Park, 186 Old Mill Ave., and feature food, a kids carnival, a veterans tribute and live music.

Country singer and Army veteran Craig Morgan will headline the event at 8:30 p.m., and fireworks will start at 9:45 p.m.

Info: mypigeonforge.com/event/patriot-festival

Red, White & Blues Jam at West End: July 7

The Town of Farragut and Shop Farragut will team up to present the second annual Red White & Blues Jam.

Six bands will perform at the free event from 3-10 p.m. July 7 at the West End Shopping Center. The event will feature a large tent where attendees can take in the music, tents from Farragut businesses, and food and drink vendors.

Here’s the event’s lineup.

  • 3 p.m. Terraplane Drifters
  • 4 p.m. Doug and Mike
  • 5 p.m. Luke Pennington Trio
  • 6:15 p.m. Smokin’ Section
  • 7:30 p.m. Mighty Blue
  • 8:45 p.m. Mystic Rhythm Tribe
  • 9:30 p.m. Jam

Info: farragutbusiness.com/red-white–blues—jam.html

Great Smoky Mountain Hot Air Balloon Festival: Aug. 18

The Great Smoky Mountain Hot Air Balloon Festival will return for the second year this August. 

The event will go from 3-8 p.m. Aug. 18 at the Townsend Visitor’s Center. In addition to tethered hot air balloon rides, the festival will present kid-friendly activities, food trucks, arts and craft vendors, a wine tasting and a balloon glow.

Festival admission is free, and tickets for the wine tasting will cost $10 on the day of the event. Parking passes for the event cost $20 in advance and $25 on the day of.

Info: gsmballoonfest.com

Tennessee Smokies BeerFest: Aug. 25

A new beer festival will come to Smokies Stadium in August.

The Tennessee Smokies BeerFest will take place from 4-8 p.m. Aug. 25 at the stadium. It will have beer tastings, awards, live music and food.

Advance tickets cost $45; day-of tickets are $50, and VIP tickets cost $75. Designated driver tickets are $10. Regular tickets include admission, a tasting glass, unlimited pours and an undated ticket voucher for the Smokies that can be used for the last five games of the Smokies’ 2018 season. VIP tickets have everything the regular tickets include along with early entry at 3 p.m. and access to a private area during the event with a buffet. Designated driver tickets only include admission to the event.

Info: smokiesbaseball.com/beerfest

Knox Asian Festival: Aug. 26

The fifth Knox Asian Fest will bring Asian cultures and traditions to downtown Knoxville in August.

The free event will go from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 26 in Market Square and feature Asian food, vendors, fashion, crafts and performers.

Info: knoxasianfestival.com

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