When thousands of folks gather on the streets of Downtown Newport the first weekend in October, organizers hope they will enjoy the traditions that have helped make the Newport Harvest Street Festival the "best community festival" for years! Long-standing favorites like arts and crafts, regional food and drink, beauty pageants and old-timey demonstrations are just a few of the showcased activities that have returned year after year. The festival committee continually looks for ways to expand and improve the ever-changing festival, while still paying homage to the culture and heritage of the area.
The festival began in 1986 when then-Chamber of commerce director Richard Parrott gathered a group of folks to create the festival as one of the "Tennessee Homecoming" celebrations. Tennessee Homecoming was a state-wide, year-long celebration providing communities the opportunity to rediscover the past, identify their uniqueness and to celebrate it.
In the late 1980's, Bettye Carver, along with her team of more than 32 volunteers, chaired the project for the next decade. Those celebrations had a definite hometown flair featuring local artists, crafters, musicians, downtown history and even a talent show.
In the late 1990's the Newport/Cocke County Chamber of Commerce again took over the reins and expanded the festival by adding commercial booths and creating the popular "Kiddie Land."
Today the festival boasts hundreds of craft, commercial and food vendors, live entertainment, Kiddie Land and much more. Won't you join us the first weekend in October as we kick off the harvest season in the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains? The Smokies are calling you!