By Wendi Tunny

With the heat of summer behind them and the Christmas season moving in fast, the folks that call the Great Smoky Mountains home gather together to celebrate. Each year, from mid-September to Halloween, the people of Gatlinburg, TN decorate their picturesque village in fall colors, show off the local talent, and invite everyone to join in the fun at the Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival.

Fill Your Christmas Stocking with Local Crafts

Part of the Harvest Festival fun is the Craftsman's Fair from October 6th though the 23rd. You’ll find a fantastic collection of artisans gathered together for this event. The Gatlinburg area is famous for its local arts and crafts community, and this family favorite shopping extravaganza offers you a chance to watch as they demonstrate their skills and answer your questions. In addition to the artwork on display, local bands provide entertainment throughout the day.

There are plenty of opportunities here to get a head start on your Christmas shopping. You’ll find hand-sewn quilts in a stunning array of designs, gorgeous pottery bowls to make your holiday table unique, fine paintings depicting the rich culture of the area, and much more. Hosted by the Gatlinburg Convention Center, this 36th annual event is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Admission is just $6 for adults and free for children under 12.

Tickle Your Taste Buds at a Mouthwatering Fundraiser

One eagerly anticipated event at this year’s Harvest Festival is the 13th annual Taste of Autumn. Grab your fork and a place in line at the Gatlinburg Convention Center, where you’ll eat your fill of the fine foods offered in area restaurants. From locally grown veggies to favorites like pulled pork and corn dogs, you’ll find something to tempt everyone in your family. Best of all, proceeds from the Taste of Autumn benefit the Sevier County United Way, so don’t miss this tasty fundraiser.

Satisfy Your Cravings for Feel-Good Music

No trip to Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge is complete without some music to get your toes tapping, and during the Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival, you’ll enjoy selections from some of the best bluegrass and country music entertainers you’ll ever meet. For three days the Dumplin Valley Farm and RV Park hosts 14 musical acts all guaranteed to have the whole family dancing in the aisles, while the Country Tonite Theatre’s "Nashville Legends" Show features your past and current favorites in country music.

When the late summer air turns cooler and the leaves are just beginning to put on their autumn show, head to Gatlinburg for a fall getaway you’ll always remember. Nestled snugly at the edge of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Gatlinburg offers some of the most spectacular mountain views you’ll find anywhere in the country, along with a rich history, plenty of fine foods, and foot-stomping music. Everyone in your family will find something to love about their trip to Gatlinburg for the Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival. The only complaint you’ll hear is that the fun ended too soon.

Author's Bio: 

Need a place to stay during your getaway? Wendi Tunny of Bear Run Falls offers affordable luxury cabins in Pigeon Forge within walking distance to Dollywood. Visit © 2011, All Rights Reserved