It’s festival season once more!

In early May Tony and I headed to the campus of Maryville College (Mascot: Scots!) for the Smoky Mountain Scottish Festival, because Highlander games are always, always a good time. What’s not to like about feats of strength by hunky men in kilts 😉; Irish dancing; herding dog demonstrations; and lots of opportunity to find one’s Clan?

Tell me this is not cute. A boy and his dog in their Clan Ramsey (I think) kilts.

Hunting Kilt?

Burly men in kilts engaged in burly-men athletic events. It really was a great outing.

Some men wear kilts better than others.

Braveheart fans, perhaps?

Catching a little air during that Jig.

Border Collies excel at herding sheep, but did you know they can also herd flightless Indian Mallards?

Though we wanted to enjoy lunch at the festival the queues were looooooong, so we hit up a favorite Irish Pub for Fish and Chips instead on the way home.

Slàinte Mhath!

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Bigfoot may be elusive, but the scene in Townsend for the first annual Smoky Mountain Bigfoot Festival was pure Squatchapalooza! Townsend bills itself as the “peaceful side of the Smokies” and since Sasquatch is a bit reclusive, having the inaugural festival here made perfect sense.

“Slashquatch,” a riff on the lead singer of a metal band headlined the opening of the festival.

Photo credit: Smoky Mountain Bigfoot Festival. Because so many jerks walked in front of me that I could not take my own snaps.

The festival included a 5K run; and all parking costs went to benefit the local volunteer fire department. The people-watching was so worth the park-your-car-in-a-corn-field charge.

Cos-play. Or was it?

The festival took place across a number of venues in Townsend, thankfully with shuttle buses moving festival-goers around. Over at the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center, the Animal Planet’s “Finding Bigfoot” Expert Cliff Barackman gave an “evidenced-based” presentation on the continued efforts to find this elusive creature.

Photo credit: Smoky Mountain Bigfoot Festival. Because we were up in the nosebleed section of the amphitheater.

The hallmark of any festival for us is naturally the culinary offerings. The Fried Dill Pickles were calling; and had the weather been slightly cooler I may have succumbed to a Deep Fried Bologna Sandwich, as well.

Instead we caught a shuttle to a Squatch-approved restaurant in a former abbey that sits along the Little River.

A local tap and a basket of smoked wings, with the entertainment of a yahoo falling off his raft to keep the afternoon lively made a most respectable substitute for deep friend bologna.

After lunch and while waiting for the shuttle to return us to the cornfield and the wagon, this kind gentleman offered me his seat beneath the umbrella while I waited. #SouthernHospitality.

Whether you know him as Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Yeti or Woodbooger (the Southwest Virginia term of endearment)…

He is indeed the Hide & Seek World Champ.

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When the nav on your wagon directs you to turn onto Hanging Limb Highway and there’s a questionable road ahead on your way to Muddy Pond, it can only mean a great day awaits!

Indeed! Deep in the hills of the Cumberland Mountains is the hamlet of Muddy Pond, home for generations to several Amish-Mennonite communities and with lots of local flavor. We came for lunch at the Muddy Pond Country Porch: authentic German Bologna sandwiches for me and Tony; and Chicken Salad for AG. And of course, a Fried Cherry Pie to share.  This is The South after all.

Everything was delicious. And yes, we all hit the NordicTrack that evening.

So many items of interest in the Muddy Pond General Store, too! Sleeves of pie filling(?); Pickled Eggs three ways; and a “Cheddar Cheese Powder” of a color not found in nature that we could not resist, among other treats.

 

Muddy Pond was the prelude to our destination, a Bluegrass Music and Arts Festival somewhere across the time-zone line. Blissfully low-key; we sat in the shaded section of the county fairgrounds and enjoyed some great music. And in the exhibit halls filled with artisans, I found the perfect piece for the fireplace wall in our sun room, a Barn Quilt (star pattern, I think?) made from lumber reclaimed from old houses in the area.

A trio of festivals to escort us into the summer. It feels so good to be out and about again.