Autumn is a time for celebrating the harvest, and some of the best opportunities to do so are at festivals in Kentucky and Tennessee. From celebrating the fruits of the harvest to giving local artisans an opportunity to showcase their arts and crafts, these five fall festivals are great ways to spend time with friends and family.
Casey County Apple Festival (Kentucky)
There isn’t much that says autumn quite like a fresh apple, and the Casey County Apple Festival in Liberty shows its versatility in all of its majesty. The festival is one of Kentucky’s best-loved street festivals, having even won the award for Best Festival in Kentucky several times. The festival takes place from Sept. 27-29 this year with activities including a carnival, live music and a large vendor market. The signature of the Casey County Apple Festival by far is its centerpiece: a 10-foot-wide, baked-from-scratch apple pie that’s served to guests on Saturday.
Marion County Country Ham Days (Kentucky)
This year’s Marion County Country Ham Days runs from Sept. 28-30, promising some 4,000 pounds of ham that will be distributed among its more than 40,000 visitors. There’s quite a bit more going on at Ham Days over the course of three days. Events and activities include: a hot air balloon glow; the Pokey Pig 5K run/walk; a classic car, truck and motorcycle show; and live performances from Love & Theft with special guest Layla Spring, Magnolia Vale and The Wulfe Brothers. Adult admission is $20 in advance and $25 at the gate, and children 12 and under get in for $10 in advance and $15 at the gate.
Mt. Sterling Court Days (Kentucky)
Mt. Sterling Court Days is a tradition that goes back more than 200 years to the time when a circuit judge would visit the town to try criminals. This event became the catalyst for folks from miles around to visit Mt. Sterling in the hopes of selling and trading goods and services, and from this tradition the Court Day Festival was born. This year’s event will take place from Oct. 12-15 and is expected to draw upwards of 20,000 visitors and 1,600 vendors.
National Storytelling Festival (Tennessee)
Held from Oct. 5-7, the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough celebrates the timeless tradition of sharing stories with friends, neighbors and even perfect strangers. From its humble beginnings in 1973 with 60 guests listening to storytellers from the back of a hay wagon, the Storytelling Festival has grown into a world-renowned gathering that draws people from around the world. Enjoy the featured storytellers in the tents, hear adult-oriented stories at the Midnight Cabaret, swap tales with other festival-goers at the Swappin’ Ground or try to beat out the stories of other entrants by entering the Story Slam! competition.
Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival (Tennessee)
The Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival runs nearly all autumn long, starting Sept. 7 and concluding on Nov. 25. The festival encompasses a number of events across several communities throughout Sevier County, including the Dumplin’ Valley Bluegrass Festival in Kodak, the Mountain Life Festival in Gatlinburg, Mountain Fest in Pigeon Forge and the Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair. Other concerts and special events occur throughout the event, making the Harvest Festival the place to be and be seen all fall long.
Autumn is a truly beautiful season in the states of Kentucky and Tennessee, and celebrating it at these and other fine festivals and events is a proper way to do the season justice.
This article is presented by Gossett Mazda.