Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the United States. Cocke County is one of only 3 Tennessee counties that make up part of the national park.
Among the park entrances is the one in Cosby that leads to a campground and picnic area. The Cosby entrance to the national park is not as developed as other national park entrances, but many visitors like the “secret entrance” to the park from this area.
Leading from the campground are hundreds of hiking trails and nature walks. The campground has 165 sites, 3 of those accommodate up to 20 people each and 16 sites are designated for RVs.
Visitors enjoy wildflower pilgrimages, bird-watching, hiking, photography, fishing, horseback riding and other activities in the national park, too. Occasionally, Smoky Mountain black bears and other wildlife animals can be seen throughout the park – depending on the time of year of your visit.
Newport Parks & Recreation
The Newport Parks & Recreation Department continues to provide an ever-increasing valuable service to Newport, Cocke County locals and visitors. The department continues to expand on a wide variety of activities for everyone to enjoy.
The city recreation department is responsible for the maintenance of several parks and playgrounds in Newport. Included are Newport City Park, Filbert Street Park, White Oak Park, Pet Milk Park, the Presbyterian Church Memorial Park, Eva Babb Sexton Memorial Park and the Newport Grammar School Sports Complex.
The football field at city park is one of the locations where the Newport Little League football program plays its games. The program is for the Grasscutter, Super Grasscutter, and Pee Wee age groups. Also, major league, junior league and senior league baseball games take place at the city park. Plus, several district and state tournaments are held at the tradition-rich Newport City Park baseball field. The park has tennis courts, two pavilions with grills available, a walking track, a swimming pool with pavilion, basketball court, playground, toddler playground with a sand box, a volleyball court and concessions.
The pool opens during the summer months. Lifeguards are on duty at all times during operating hours.
In addition, the Newport Parks and Recreation Department provides a large number of activities at the Newport Community Center. There is an Olympic-sized, heated, indoor swimming pool with lockers and shower facilities on the premises. The center also hosts meets of the Cocke County/Cosby High School swim team and the Newport/Cocke County Rapids swim team. Also at Newport Community Center, you can find a wellness room with total body elliptical cross-trainers, treadmills, bicycles, stair climbers and free weights, a racquetball court and a basketball court.
Cocke County Recreation Department
The Cocke County Recreation Department continues to show steady growth in the number of local youth and adults who take advantage of the department’s valuable service. The facility includes a gymnasium and a small children’s playground to the rear of the building. At the main office location, there are two fields, one for baseball and the other for softball.
Race fans who take in the action every Saturday night at Newport Speedway would readily agree that the 4/10-mile asphalt track sees cars turn a lap in under 10 seconds. Add upwards of 30 cars in a feature and you’ve got short track racing at its best. Newport Speedway is the only asphalt track left in East Tennessee. It is tracks like this that provide a starting place for future NASCAR drivers, and many NASCAR drivers have even made a stop here.
Cocke County Golf Courses
The Smoky Mountain Golf and Country Club is located at 1220 Golf Course Road, Newport, in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, and offers players a challenging round of golf with beautiful, panoramic views of the mountains. Smoky is one of the oldest and best golf courses in East Tennessee. It is also home to Cocke County High School and state champion Newport Grammar Middle School golf teams. The front nine is relatively open and gives the golfer plenty of fairway space to hit the long ball, while the back nine is somewhat narrow and requires a more delicate and controlled shot selection with control and distance that rewards above average players. Two of the holes, numbers 10 and 17, are rated by area golfers as two of the most difficult in East Tennessee. Amenities include a pro shop, driving range, putting green, full-service restaurant, lounge and swimming pool.
Baneberry Golf and Resort is located at 704 Harrison Ferry Road in Baneberry just across the Cocke County Line in Jefferson County off Highway 25E. An outstanding layout featuring gently rolling land, lakes, streams and bunkers that challenge golfers of all abilities. Baneberry has twice been the home of the $75,000 Baneberry Classic that is held by the T. C. Jordan Tour (now the NGA Hooters Tour). Amenities include 2 putting greens, a chipping green, tennis courts, a large swimming pool, a boat ramp into Douglas Lake and a club house with a pro shop, restaurant, lounge and a spacious deck overlooking the front nine. Baneberry also offers two bedroom villas or large efficiency rooms. All have fully equipped kitchens.
Newport Theatre Guild
Organized in 1988, the Newport Theatre Guild promotes professional quality theatre and stage productions for area audiences. The guild grew out of the Newport Business Women’s production of the Broadway hit Oklahoma! in 1988. Several residents recognized the need for a local theatrical group and organized the guild. They immediately went into rehearsal for Arsenic and Old Lace.
Jerry Maloy directed the guild’s first effort, and the late Bob Mooty then guided the members through several highly successful productions. Over the years, the guild has brought numerous high quality shows to the Newport stage including such musicals as The Sound of Music, Carousel, Guys and Dolls, Fiddler on the Roof, The Music Man and A Christmas Carol and such stage productions as On Golden Pond, Rumors, Steel Magnolias, and Come Back to the Five & Dime, Jimmy Dean. During 2007-2008, the guild reached new heights of success with their highly praised premier production of Wilma Dykeman’s novel, The Tall Woman and the beautifully produced musical My Fair Lady.
Festivals in Cocke County TN
Activities at the various festivals include music, crafts, old-time demonstrations, cooking and beauty pageants.
The fall festival season kicks off with the Newport Harvest Street Festival during the first weekend of October. Held in downtown Newport, the Newport Harvest Street Festival has two days of entertainment and vendors along a three-block area on the first Saturday and Sunday of the month. The festival provides top-notch entertainers and a variety of vendors offering food, crafts and merchandise.
There are also educational displays and demonstrations. Each year something new and different seems to be added. The next festival is Parrottsville Heritage Days, which is celebrated at Parrott-Larue-Myers Park in Parrottsville, TN. It is held the second Saturday of October. The Parrottsville festival is kicked off on Friday evening with a Chili Cook-Off at the park pavilion. Heritage Days features a variety of entertainment, arts and crafts, and a variety of foods.
We conclude our month of festivals with Del Rio Days the 4th weekend in October. It includes live demonstrations such as making molasses as well as entertainment. Children enjoy activities such as riding around in a horse-drawn wagon. In 2011, the inaugural Del Rio Days Song Writing Contest was added to the event and was a huge success! Over 50 entries were received and a panel of judges named the winner during the festival.
Kiwanis of Newport hosts the annual Ramp Festival once started by the Cosby Ruritan Club, which was held on the beautiful Kineauvista Hill in Cosby is now held at the Cocke County A & I Fairgrounds. The festival is coined as the Oldest Running Festival In Tennessee’s, and has many devoted fans attending every year! The Festival is held in May, just as it is prime picking time for these little flavorful beauties.