Gala reception at Dancing Bear opens festival

The Third Annual Winter Heritage Festival kicked off in gracious style during a reception at the Dancing Bear Lodge on Thursday, Feb. 8.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Superintendent Dale Ditmanson, University of Tennessee anthropologist Boyce Driskell and author Charles Maynard were the guest speakers. Guests enjoyed heavy hors d’oeuvres in Hemlock Hall and had an opportunity to socialize as well as listen to the speakers.

The Winter Heritage Festival is geared toward exploring the heritage of the people and places in Townsend, Cades Cove, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the East Tennessee area. Planned during a normally slow tourist season in Townsend, the event draws visitors who enjoy delving deeper into the history and culture of East Tennessee.

Guests enjoyed hikes, tours, walks, music, food and lectures all focused on life in the Great Smoky Mountains and Cades Cove. Activities were hosted at a variety of locations throughout Townsend, including the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center, Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont, Talley Ho Inn, Cades Cove, Townsend Visitors Center, the Barn Event Center, Wesley Woods, Little River Railroad Museum and Valley View Lodge.

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