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