Roan Mountain offers one of the most spectacular views in the summer. Mid to late June every year, thousands of visitors flock to the top of Roan Mountain with the hope of catching a glimpse of a special show.
Discover Roan Mountain
Situated in the Cherokee National Forest of Eastern Tennessee, Roan Mountain is home to the one of the world’s largest natural Rhododendron gardens. These azalea like bushes appear to explode with hundreds of blooms each during the peak bloom.
A long standing tradition of honoring this beautiful pink-purple blooms is holding the Rhododendron Festival. Now on it’s 72nd year, the Rhododendron Festival brings out all types of enjoy two days of community fun with arts, crafts, food, and of course entertainment!
What to Expect
The festival was once held all the way at the top of Roan Mountain near the blooms however now you will find all the vendors located at the start of the park. In some ways this is beneficial; easier access to parking, you won’t have to drive as far, and the community pool is located here too.
Once you enter the Roan Mountain State Park, you will likely lose cell service quickly. Make sure you have an alternate way of communicating with your group or a designated meeting place, if traveling in separate vehicles.
To see the rhododendron blooms, you will need to travel approximately 11 miles past the festival u the mountain. It can get pretty cold up there — even in the 40s some years, so make sure you pack a coat just in case!
Must Do's at the Rhododendron Festival
1. See the Blooms
This might be the most obvious,but you MUST see the unparalleled beautiful of this mountain top rhododendron garden.
2. Enjoy the Scenery [tech free]
Since you already know by this point your cell phone won’t work while traveling up Roan Mountain, take this opportunity to simply enjoy the sights, sounds, fresh air, and your company.
3. Try an Amish Doughnut
Eating an Amish doughnut seems like a random must do. Trust us on this one, you do not want to miss indulging in one or three.
4. Meander through the Crafts
The Roan Mountain Citizen Club hand selects a range of artisans to display their best work. You are likely to stumble upon an unsuspecting pleasant surprise, like our barrel aged sauces.
Angelique Arintok with WCYB stopped by the Rhododendron Festival to give viewers a first hand look at what happened this year. Calling Tennessee Home was lucky enough to get to tell our story about why we do what we do. Find out more about this year’s festival and our why by watching the view yourself.
The Rhododendron Festival is a fun day trip for any family living near the Northern Tennessee – North Carolina boarder. Who’s looking forward to joining us next year?