Saturday is Spring Planting Festival at Big South Fork


ONEIDA, Tenn. — Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area will be hosting the 17th annual Spring Planting and Music Festival on Saturday, April 29, near the Bandy Creek Visitor Center.  The festival celebrates the coming of spring and the Appalachian way of life that has been such an important part of the history of the Big South Fork area.

The plowing and planting with mule and horse teams, which take place in a field adjacent to a carefully preserved Upper Cumberland farmstead, is one of the primary focal points of the event.  At the same farmstead, the public will have the opportunity to gain new insights into gardening and get their hands dirty as they learn to plant a range of garden vegetables.  Visitors will also have the chance to experience close at hand forgotten arts such as blacksmithing, horseshoe making, split rail fencing, quilting, embroidery, marble making, woodworking, farmstead skills and trapping.

Toe-tapping mountain music will be performed throughout the event area by an array of skilled musicians, and the main stage will feature nonstop music from some of the region’s most gifted musical talents.  The young and young at heart will have the opportunity to play with a wide variety of old fashioned toys.  Park staff and volunteers will also be providing a variety of programs that celebrate the coming of spring, including a guided bird walk at 8:00 a.m. (ET), programs on owls and hawks, and a guided wildflower hike at Leatherwood Ford at 11:00 a.m.  In cooperation with the Knoxville Track Club, the park will be hosting a Kids Fun Run at 9 a.m., and the Oscar Blevins four mile and seven mile Trail Runs at 10:00 a.m. to help visitors actively participate in this season when the world is full of movement (sign up at  Visitors are encouraged to join park staff and volunteers in a celebration of spring and of the self-reliant way of life that has been a crucial component of this region’s history and culture.

For more information about this all day special event, call the Bandy Creek Visitor Center at (423) 286-7275.

Entertainment Lineup

The Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area will be hosting the Spring Planting and Music Festival on Saturday, April 29, starting at 9 a.m. (ET).  A diverse range of the region’s most talented live music acts are currently scheduled to perform.  Musical genres represented are to include bluegrass, traditional Appalachian, singer-songwriter, Americana and a flute circle.

Smoky Mountain Flute Circle and the Knoxville Area Dulcimer Club will be performing all day at the Lora Blevins Farm, and Gerald Hanwright will be performing throughout the day at the Oscar Blevins Farm.

Performers scheduled at the Bandy Creek big tent will include: 9:30 a.m. – Spruce Creek Ramblers, 10:30 a.m. – Spirit Winds, 11:30 a.m. – Standing Stone Bluegrass, 12:30 p.m. – Spirit Winds, 1:30 p.m. – Rusty Rooster Band, 2:30 p.m. – Slaven Sisters, and 3:30 p.m. – T.J. Fincher.

In addition to the music, there will be plowing and planting demonstrations, children’s activities, interpretative talks, fun runs, bird watching and wildflower guided walks, vendors demonstrating and selling their wares, and food sales.  Event activities will occur in the Bandy Creek Visitor Center area, the Lora Blevins home site, and the Oscar Blevins farm, and shuttles will run between the three sites every 15 minutes to allow visitors to experience all the activities.

This event is free to attend.  Bring a lawn chair or a blanket and enjoy a great day of good food and music. A designated bus parking area is available for large groups.

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