skip navigation and jump to page content The Library of CongressThe American Folklife Center 
Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
Collage of Local Legacies
Basketmaker, Market Square, Knoxville, ca. 1985
Basketmaker, Market Square, Knoxville, ca. 1985 Photo courtesy East Tennessee Historical Society

Dogwood Arts Festival

This annual 17-day festival, celebrating spring, is held during the end of April or early May, depending on the peak blossom time for trees, shrubs, and plants that grow in East Tennessee.

The event's origins can be traced to the mid-1950s when several Knoxville communities created "Dogwood Trails" to showcase their neighborhoods. These popular trails, designed to be enjoyed from the comfort of the family automobile, passed by azaleas, redbuds, daffodils, and dogwoods. Noting the trails' popularity, city leaders in 1961 created an annual event, which combined the dogwood trails with a festival that highlighted regional arts and crafts.

In 1962, the festival moved to Knoxville's downtown Market Square, which is the region's center of economic and cultural activity. Festival activities have increased and diversified over the years. Among the entertainment are clowns, magicians, and street dancers who stroll and perform among visitors. Concerts and band music offer a variety of musical styles and headliner acts. Dance performances include ballet, clogging, and square dance. Visitors can see craft persons who make dolls from corn shucks, craft furniture, color woolen thread with vegetable dyes, create ceramic jewelry, make pottery, and weave baskets. Others artisans include blacksmiths, gunsmiths, quilters, and goose pluckers. The festival program also offers historical tours and exhibits, city tours, boat tours, a lawn and garden show, an air show, and the Dogwood Parade.

Documentation includes a legacy report and 12 slides.

Originally submitted by: John J. Duncan, Jr., Representative (2nd District).

link to www.loc.govMore Local Legacies...

The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

disclaimer for external linksLearn More About It...
  The Library of Congress 
The American Folklife Center
Contact Us
AFC Icon