Rhododendron Festival set for this weekend in Roan Mountain

John Thompson • Jun 18, 2019 at 9:22 PM

ROAN MOUNTAIN — It is once again the middle of June, the most beautiful time of the year on Roan Mountain and once again it is time for the oldest festival in Northeast Tennessee.

The Rhododendron Festival has been celebrated since 1947, at one time drawing thousands to the 6,000-foot above sea level Cloudland Gardens on top of the Roan back when the mountain road was much more challenging and cars were a lot less powerful and less dependable.

Now, the festival is held at Roan Mountain State Park, but many folks will slip away to drive up to Cloudland Gardens during the festival to see the blue purple blooms of the Catawba rhododendron.

This year’s celebration takes place this Saturday and Sunday, June 22 and June 23, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.

In addition to enjoying nature’s display, the festival also features plenty of food vendors and local arts and crafts. There will also be plenty of music to go along with these pleasures.

The festival will be held at the Roan Mountain State Park amphitheater and pool. Parking is by donation to local civic groups in the fields along Tenn. Highway 143 in the park.

The festival was started 72 years ago by the Roan Mountain Citizens Club. It continues to be a community project of the club and proceeds from the festival go to support community projects and a scholarship program for Cloudland High School graduates. The club will be selling festival items and cold canned drinks and water at the club’s tent.

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