$2,100 grant awarded to support Townsend festivals

The Blount County Chamber of Commerce Foundation and Smoky Mountain Convention and Visitors Bureau (SMCVB) were awarded the “Arts Build Communities” Grant of $2,100 by the Tennessee Arts Commission. This is the fourth year the Arts Build Communities program has contributed to the Townsend Visitors Center events.

“Receiving the Arts Build Communities grant for the fourth year is a tremendous honor,” said Herb Handly, executive vice president of tourism for the Smoky Mountain Convention and Visitors Bureau. “For the past three years, this money was designated to the pottery festival, but now we will be able to expand the grant to a wider variety of craftspeople and musicians.”

The grant will support artists, craftspeople and young musicians at three upcoming festivals in Townsend. Funding administered by the Blount County Chamber of Commerce Foundation and SMCVB will go toward the Mountain Craft and Mountain Music showcases at the Smoky Mountain Winter Heritage Festival, the young bluegrass musicians performing at the Smokies Spring Festival and Old Timers Day, and the featured guest potter and the educational demonstrations at the Smoky Mountain Pottery Festival.

“Not only do the festivals bring talented artisans and musicians to the community, they also attract a wide variety of visitors to Blount County and East Tennessee,” said Handly.

The Mountain Craft and Mountain Music showcases will be two of many highlighted programs at the fifth annual Winter Heritage Festival in the Smokies on Feb. 3-6, 2011. The “Mountain Craft Showcase” will be an opportunity where talented artisans demonstrate their skills in a Show and Tell format. The “Mountain Music Showcase” will feature regional musicians playing an array of styles from Cherokee flute music to old time and bluegrass to country blues. The programs are free to the public.

The 2011 Townsend in the Smokies Spring Festival and Old Timers Day will be held on March 6 -7. The spring festival will again host the Young Pickers Talent Contest for young bluegrass musicians and the grant will support a special concert by a youth bluegrass band. Visitors will be able to experience the beauty of the Smokies in springtime while enjoying traditional arts, crafts, food, and music.

Along with 30 booths of talented studio potters and other guests, John Fulwood will be the featured potter at the 2011 Smoky Mountain Pottery Festival on June3-4 at the Townsend Visitors Center. Visitors will be able to observe demonstrations, Raku firings, join in Children’s Tent activities, and explore a wide variety of pottery styles and techniques.

“All of our festivals are truly exciting and enjoyable experiences,” said Handly. “They give visitors a feel for Great Smoky Mountain traditions, history and heritage.”

The Smoky Mountain Convention and Visitors Bureau is in the Townsend Visitors Center, located at 7906 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway, in Townsend, Tenn. For more information on the festivals, visit www.smokymountainfestivals.org. You may also call the Smoky Mountain Convention and Visitor’s Bureau at 1-800-525-6834 or 865-448-6134 or visit www.smokymountains.org. To find out more about the Tennessee Arts Commission, see www.arts.state.tn.us.

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