It's the Tops

Trip Start May 21, 1996
Trip End May 22, 1996

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Flag of United States  , Tennessee
Wednesday, May 22, 1996

Smithville, Tennessee, population 3,791.

In downtown Smithville once a year, you can attend one of the top 100 tourism events in North America, the Smithville Fiddlers Jamboree, Crafts Festival, and National Championship Country Musician Beginners. It may hold the record as the festival with the longest name, too. Held in the square on the weekend nearest July 4, this country and bluegrass contest has been going on since 1972, with prizes for the best fiddle band, flat top guitar, dulcimer, gospel singing, folksinging, clogging and more; there is even a novelty event for spoon clacking, jug blowing, or washboard, and of course, the Grand Champion Fiddle-Off. The National Championship Country Musician Beginners category was added in 1984, in an effort to further preserve the country music tradition by encouraging young people to compete.

The address is officially Smithville, but the Joe L Evins Appalachian Craft Center is spectacularly located on 180 acres overlooking Center Hill Lake, near Hurricane Bridge. Fine Appalachian crafts are taught and exhibited at this professional crafts school, with teaching programs in fiber, metal, wood, glass, and clay.

A component of Tennessee Technological University, it has unsurpassed facilities and a nationally recognized faculty; summer workshops, evening classes, child-oriented and Elderhostel programs are offered too.

It is home of one of the finest craft galleries in the southeast, with a wide selection of items on sale from faculty and students at the center, as well as artisans from the 13 Appalachian states. It boasts 50,000 square feet of studio space, 4,000 square feet of exhibition and gallery space, conference and classrooms, a library, modern housing, and a cafeteria.

Places to stay. Evins Mill Retreat on Evins Mill Road; 14 rooms with private baths, full breakfast; outside a 90-foot waterfall, operational gristmill, fishing pond, hiking trails and a conference center. Wind in the Trees, 5 rooms, hot tub, view of Center Hill Lake. Hidden Harbor Marina at Holmes Creek, 5 units with kitchens. Lakeside Resort & Educational Complex, 12 units with kitchens, meeting facilities.
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