By Leif Palmer
Posted on October 11, 2020
Arts and crafts are synonymous with the Great Smoky Mountains. However, crafts like broom making and pottery and leatherwork weren't considered vacation souvenirs in the 1800s and early 1900s. Back then, those were the skills area settlers had to rely on just to survive. It wasn't until the early 1900s that crafting became an industry and even helped lay the foundation for tourism in the Smokies-even before the creation of the national park. Once folks started coming to the park, tourism really took off, and arts and crafts have remained a popular part of the Smoky Mountain vacation experience until this day.
These days, one of the area's most popular craft events is the Gatlinburg Craftsmen's Fair. This year, it takes place October 8 through 25 at the Gatlinburg Convention Center, in the heart of downtown. Welcoming artisans and crafts people from all the country, the fair features some 200 booths showcasing unique and one-of-a-kind handmade products. It's a chance to browse and purchase an incredible range of handiwork, including pottery, paintings, copper art, handmade candy, photography, candles, brooms, jewelry and much more.
Each participant is required to participate in a rigorous jury process to ensure the uniqueness and quality of their respective products. Everything displayed at the Craftsmen's Fair is handmade and of top quality. The fun part is that the artisans are on site, many of them performing demonstrations of their skills. So the fair is a chance not only to get an early start on your Christmas shopping, but it gives you a behind-the-scenes look at how these men and women practice their art. They're also happy to talk to guests and answer questions about their work.
In addition to all the arts and crafts, the Gatlinburg Craftsmen's Fair has live daily music shows scheduled throughout the day. So when you're taking a break from shopping, you can rest your dogs and listen to your favorite country, bluegrass and gospel tunes at no additional charge. Concessions are available as well.
If you're wondering where to park for this event, we've got you covered. We have affordable lots all over downtown, and we have multiple lots with plenty of parking near Gatlinburg Convention Center. Just pay one price for the day, and you'll be within just a block or two of your destination. Even after the fair, you'll still be within walking distance or a short trolley ride of all the other great events, shops, restaurants and attractions in downtown Gatlinburg.
About Leif Palmer
Leif Palmer loves residing in Gatlinburg. He is an avid outdoorsman: rowing for exercise on the lake, trail hiking, and free climbing rocks in the mountains. He indulges his arty side by periodically beating up pieces of marble by sculpting. He is always frustrated by his inability to sink long putts, and hates his curly hair (but his wife loves it). Leif has been known to muster enough courage to change a diaper, and hopes his son will become a chip off the old block.