By Jim Watson

Summer is quickly slipping into fall, but there is still time for a fun family vacation before the busy holiday season begins. Summer in the Smoky Mountains is filled with brilliant blue skies, plenty of shopping, and – if you stop by the Gatlinburg Taste of Autumn Festival – lots of great food as well.

A Fun Dining Experience to Benefit a Worthy Cause

Gatlinburg is home to dozens of top dining establishments. You can enjoy family favorites like cheesy nachos and creamy milkshakes at the famous Hard Rock Café, real down-home Southern barbeque, choice steak perfectly aged and seasoned, or succulent trout fresh from the mountain streams. With so many choices, it can be hard for a family to pick just one place to eat, which makes Gatlinburg’s Taste of Autumn Festival the ideal choice.

Held annually at the Gatlinburg Convention Center, the Taste of Autumn Festival features a delicious sampling of food and drinks from Gatlinburg’s finest restaurants and catering companies. You’ll find everything from gourmet chocolates to corn dogs to authentic English fish and chips, so everyone in your family is sure to find something to love.

Plus, local performers provide a rich atmosphere by offering live entertainment to keep your toes tapping. You might just find yourself dancing from table to table as you sample the dozens of delectable treats from the 17 participating restaurants.

In addition to bringing you a palate-pleasing variety of fine foods, the Taste of Autumn Festival also helps needy families in the Gatlinburg area. Your $25 donation to the United Way of Sevier County Campaign is distributed to local organizations offering services and charitable programs throughout the county. You and your family get a taste of great cuisine while knowing you’ve helped less fortunate families along the way.

The 2012 Taste of Autumn Festival begins at 5pm on September 27 at the Gatlinburg Convention Center. Tickets are $25 (free for kids under 7) and 100% of the proceeds go to benefit area families.

More Dining Fun

Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge offer plenty of other unusual dining experiences as well. Dinner theater, including comedy, variety, and even murder mysteries is a popular choice, as is Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede. No matter what your dining preference, you’re sure to find it.

And don’t worry: If you overindulge a bit, there’s lots of outdoor activity in and around Gatlinburg to help you work off those extra calories. Miles of hiking trails crisscross the scenic Great Smoky Mountains, inviting you to take in the last of summer’s beauty before the riotous colors of fall make their appearance. Or for a little more action, grab a helmet and some elbow pads and strap yourself to a zipline. You’ll see a view of the mountains few dare to experience.

Whether it’s the food, the fun, or the scenery that brings you to Gatlinburg, it’s a fine place to spend the waning days of summer. Pack up the kids and bring your appetite, because there is plenty to see and do (and eat) this summer in Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains.

Author's Bio: 

Jim Watson is Owner of Timbercreek Cabins offering lodging near Pigeon Forge. Cabin rentals are now available. Visit http://www.timbercreekcabins.com today for a complete listing of cabin rentals. © 2012, All Rights Reserved