East Tennessee History Fair

Have a Blast with the Past! Hopefully back in 2022!
August 20, 2022
Downtown Knoxville

The East Tennessee Historical Society annually presents a one-of-a-kind celebration of our region's history! Participants representing the people, places, and events that shaped our past spill out of the East Tennessee History Center and fill downtown Knoxville, making history truly come alive!

Walk the East Tennessee Timeline, replete with re-enactors interpreting time periods from early settlement to the Vietnam War. Participate in hands-on activities that keep cherished crafts alive. Board a bus and tour Knoxville's historic homes. Sit a spell in front of the Main Stage, listening to traditional music that has long been the soundtrack to our lives. All for FREE!


In the East Tennessee History Center | In Krutch Park | At the Tennessee Theater | Special Tours | Antiques Fair | Art Market, Farmers Market, Food & Parking | Vintage Baseball

Here's a look at the 2019 event to give you a feel for what's to come in 2022!

In the East Tennessee History Center

10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Free admission to the Museum of East Tennessee History

  • Signature Exhibit - Voices of the Land: The People of East Tennessee
  • Feature Exhibit - "It'll Tickle Yore Innards!": A (Hillbilly) History of Mountain Dew

WDVX's "Kidstuff" Music Show with Sean McCullough
1:00 p.m. Bilo Nelson Auditorium -- A fun and interactive show with Sean McCullough, host of "Kidstuff," WDVX's weekly  children's radio show--guitar, banjo, and  mandolin, drawing on the music of Appalachia.

Davy Crockett's Birthday - Storytelling & Cake
  11:00 a.m.  Davy Crockett Party & Storytelling (Bilo Nelson Auditorium)
   3:00 p.m.  Davy's birthday cake from Food City (Clinch Ave, beside East TN History

In Krutch Park

History Hound Dog Costume Contest

 9:30 a.m. - Free registration
10:15 a.m. - Contest on the Main Music Stage
Grand prizes awarded for the BEST HISTORIC COSTUME and for the MOST EAST TENNESSEE SPIRIT!
Emceed by former Vice Mayor Duane Grieve with celebrity judges Dr. Dan Feller (UT history professor and director of the Papers of Andrew Jackson), Dr. Robert C. DeNovo Jr. (UT College of Veterinary Medicine), and Lori Tucker (WATE TV Personality).

Sponsored and prizes provided by Citifid-O!   

Main Music Stage

Emcees:  Russ Jeffers and Freddy Smith (Times Subject to Change)

11 a.m.          Jimbo Whaley & Greenbrier
Noon             Gladson Family Band
1 p.m.            Jimbo Whaley & Greenbrier
2 p.m.            Russ & Becky Jeffers
3 p.m.            The Travelin’ Caudills
3:45 p.m.       Kelle Jolly
4:20 p.m.       Liza Jane & Curley Alexander

Friends of the Knox County Public Library Book Sale

10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Visit the Friends of the Knox County Public Library's book sale for various history-themed publications. Books for children and adults will be available for purchase.

Mast General Store Old Fashioned Tennessee Checkers Skirmish

Show off your checkers skills by competing in a tournament of one of the world's oldest games. Prizes provided by Mast General Store!

Children's Activities

Children are invited to experience the past through games, crafts, and an old fashioned "cookie walk" sponsored by Cafe Vicolo. Among the crafts to enjoy are tricorn hats, Tennessee flag buttons, harmonicas, and more! Guests from Big Ridge State Park and the Tennessee State Museum will be on hand with special hands-on activities.

Meet the Authors & Book Signing

  • Allen Coggins- Author of Place Names of the Smokies, Escape from Bone Cave: A Civil War Saga, and Tennessee Tragedies: Natural, Technological, and Societal Disasters in the Volunteer State
  • Dewaine Speaks - Author of East Tennessee in World War II
  • Dr. Gail Palmer - Author of Smoky Mountain Tails: Feuds, Murder & Mayhem Volumes 1 & 2, TheMidwives' Quilt: A Tale of Conflict and Intrigue in the Smoky Mountains, & Hidden in Plain Sight: Cemeteries of the Smoky Mountains Volume 1
  • Dr. Bob Hutton - Author of Bloody Breathitt: Politics and Violence in the Appalachia South
  • A.D. Asher - Author of My Friend the Sunsphere
  • Tyler Boyd - Author of Tennessee Statesman Harry T. Burn: Woman Suffrage, Free Eleactions and a Life of Service
  • Dennis Urban - Author of The Making of a Civilian Soldier in the Civil War
  • David Chaltas - Author of Big Uncle: The Saga of Martin Van Buren Bates & Old Maw: The Legend of Miss Kessie
  • Charlie Brakebill - Author of A Piano Love Affair
  • Barbara Aston-Wash - Author of Bless Her Heart: The Life and Times of Ellen McClung Berry

Living History Timeline

  • French and Indian War & Cherokee - Fort Loudoun State Historic Area
  • 1790s - Regiment of Knox County Militia
  • Pioneer - The Daily Reenactors
  • William Thomas - Gary Holt
  • Mexican-American War - Ed Archer
  • Abraham & Mary Todd Lincoln - Tom & Sue Wright
  • Civil War - 79th NY Infantry, 8th TN Volunteer Infantry, and Gerald & Sandra Augustus
  • Civil War Era Baseball - Members of the Knoxville Holstons Vintage Base Ball Team
  • Suffragists - Woman Suffrage Coalition
  • World War I- Tennessee State Parks & "The History Campany" with the Southeast Veterans Museum
  • World War II - Citizens Soldiers
  • Cold War - Grenzregiment 35
  • Korean and Vietnam Wars - 35th Infantry Division Living History Group
  • Various - Tennesseans for Living History
  • Civil War uniform display

Participating History Exhibitors

Abraham Lincoln Library & Museum Knox Heritage & East Tennessee Preservation Alliance
American Museum of Science and Energy Knoxville 89, UDC
Anderson County Historical Society Knoxville History Project
Andrew Bogle Chapter NSDAR Knoxville Civil War Roundtable
Andrew Johnson National Historic Site Knoxville Walking Tours
Appalachian Arts and Craft Center Major William A. McTeer Camp 39, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War
Asian Culture Center of Tennessee Manhattan Project National Historical Park
Birthplace of Country Music Maryville College 
Blount County Genealogical & Historical Society Mayme Carmichael School Organization, Inc.
Blount County History Museum  McClung Museum of Natural History & Culture
Bonny Kate Chapter NSDAR Meigs County Historical Society
Cades Cove Preservation Association  Museum of Appalachia
Candoro Arts and Heritage Center Museum of Scott County 
Cavett Station Chapter, NSDAR Oak Ridge Heritage and Preservation Association
Center for Oak Ridge Oral History Oak Ridge History Museum
Central High School HOSA (Health  Occupations Student Association) Old Smoky Railway Museum, Inc.
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Sam Houston Memorial Association and Historic Schoolhouse
Daughters of the American Revolution - Emory Road Chapter Sequoyah Birthplace Museum
East Tennessee Cemetery Research  Smoky Mountain Historical Society 
Ellen Renshaw House, UDC Chapter 2624 Soddy Daisy & Montlake Historical Association 
Farragut Museum  Sons of Confederate Veterans, Longstreet-Zollicoffer Camp 87
Fort Loudon State Historic Area Sons of the Revolution 
Friends of the Knox County Public Library Stephen Holston Chapter TN Society of the Sons of the American Revolution
Glenmore Mansion  Suffrage Coalition
Grainger County Historial Society Tennesseans for Living History 
Green McAdoo Cultural Center  Tennessee State Library and Archives
Historic Homes of Knoxville Tennessee State Parks
Historic Rugby Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum
Hola Hora Latina Festival Titanic Museum
Hugenot Society Founders of Manakin in the Colony of Virginia Tusculum University Department of History
Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research and Georgia Genealogical Society University of Tennessee History Department
J&L Training Institute and Pelissippi State Business & Community Services  University of Tennessee Press
Jefferson County Historical Society Upper Tennessee Riverboat Museum
Jonesborough Genealogical Society  UT Personal Development & Kids- U
Knox County Museum of Education Women's Basketball Hall of Fame

Demonstrating Artists

♦Dale Liles, Carolyn Rogers, & Jenny
   Bennett - Spinning  & Fiber
♦Fox Hollow Creations - Chair Caning & Basket
♦Karen's Country Critters - Primitive  
   Items Made from Quilts
♦Reed'em & Weave - Handwoven Items
♦Peter Rose - Raku Pottery ♦Drake Tin and Copper - Tin & Coppersmithing
♦Mark & Nancy Shedden - Spinning & 
   Powder Horns
♦Lillian Pearl Designs - Handmade Items & Jewelry
♦Sadie's Soaps - Soaps made the old fashioned way from natural products ♦Pop Adams Trade Company - Black Powder Accouterments

Raku Pottery

10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (Clinch Avenue / Activity Fee: $10 per raku pot)
Young and old alike are invited to decorate a piece of take-away raku pottery with local wood-fired potter Peter Rose

Antiques Fair

Downtown Knoxville's only antiques fair! Twenty of East Tennessee's best antiques dealers will be set up on Clinch Ave. behind the History Center with a sampling of quality items! Items include early-period furniture, pottery, quilts, firearms, rare books, primitives, tabletop items, glassware, and more. No admission fee, so come on down and browse! Sponsored by Building Systems Technology, Inc. and Case Antiques

Vintage Baseball

Join the Knoxville Holstons Vintage Base Ball Club and the Emmett Machinists Vintage Base Ball Club of Knoxville for a game of bare-handed baseball at the beautiful and historic Lakeshore Park. See America’s favorite pastime played by the rules and customs of 1864-no spittin, no swearin, and no gloves! Presented in partnership with the Tennessee Association of Vintage Base Ball and the Lakeshore Park Conservancy. Hotdogs from Della's Dawg House and beer provided by Hi-Wire Brewing Knoxville. Bring a chair or blanket and experience an evening of history and sport. Game starts at 5:00 p.m.

Also, from 4:00-7:00 p.m. guests can experience an open house at the old East Tennessee Hospital for the Insane facility, dating to 1886. Guests will have access to the first floor of the renovated facility, which currently houses the offices of the City of Knoxville Parks and Recreation. There will be a slideshow and pictorial history of the old asylum, which closed in 2012.

At the Tennessee Theater

Presented by the Tennessee Archive of Moving Image and Sound and the Tennessee Theatre.

Join us for a cinematic celebration of the region's country music history, including an open house and self-guided dressing room tours! The Knox County Public Library’s Tennessee Archive of Moving Image and Sound (TAMIS) once again partners with the Tennessee Theatre to present a day of archival film and video during the annual East Tennessee History Fair. Additional support comes from Friends of the Knox County Public Library.

The Theatre will open at 10:30 a.m. for an open house and will screen rare treasures from the TAMIS vault throughout the day. Thirty-minute breaks between each film presentation allow for exploration of the Theatre lobby, lounge, auditorium, and dressing room areas.* The full schedule is listed below. All screenings are FREE and open to the public.

11:00 - It's Startime with Jim Clayton! - Highlights from Jim Clayton’s weekly variety show from the 1960s and 1970s, showcasing country music acts from the Knoxville area, as well as a few Nashville stars. Featuring performances by Con Hunley, Jimmy Hartsook, Kathy Hill, Barbara Mandrell and much more, including recently filmed commentary and reminiscences from Clayton himself!

12:30 - Cas Walker Farm and Home Hour - Spotlighting one of East Tennessee’s most popular variety show, clips from Cas Walker’s legendary television program will include vintage commercial, musical performances and more than a few words from the man himself.

2:00 - Special preview of COUNTRY MUSIC: A FILM BY KEN BURNS - In partnership with East Tennessee Public Television, this unique sneak peek at the remarkable stories of the people and places behind a true American art form focuses on East Tennessee's contribution to Country Music.

3:30 – Event concludes and Theatre closes.

During the open house, attendees will be able to explore the lobby, lounges, auditorium, and dressing room suite of the Tennessee Theatre, an area seldomly open to the public. (*Due to requirements for film screening, the stage and projection booth will not be accessible.)

Funding for this screening made possible by the Friends of the Knox County Public Library.

Special Tours

Historic Homes Bus Tours
11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
(Departs Gay Street at the History Center-  Last tour departs ~2:15 p.m.)
Board the one of two buses in front of the East Tennessee History Center with special tour guide Jennifer Montgomery. Destinations include free open houses at the following:
Blount Mansion: 1792 home of territorial governor William Blount
James White's Fort: 1786 home and fort established by Knoxville's founder
Mabry-Hazen House:  Antebellum home with all original contents and Civil War past
Bethel Cemetery & MuseumResting place of more than 1,600 Confederate dead, complete with corresponding museum
Women's Basketball Hall of Fame:  An internationally recognized museum dedicated to preserving the history of women's basketball.
Beck Cultural Exchange Center: A 1912 Mansion housing an impressive collection dedicated to preserving and teaching  African American history and culture. 

Knoxville Walking Tours - Criminal Behavior
1:00 p.m. & 2:30 p.m.   (Departs from the History Center Entrance)
Take a walk through the wild side of Knoxville history, when hot words often led hot lead. Gunfire, robbery, murder, and general mayhem took place on nearly every corner, as upstanding citizens and low-down hoodlums met on the street. You might be surprised how hard it is to tell them apart.

Walking Tour with Jack Neely - Downtown Knoxville Art and Architecture Tour
11:00 a.m. (Departs from the History Center Entrance)
Join Jack Neely for an informative tour highlighting the new Knoxville History Project's art wraps and stylishly notable buildings around downtown.

         First Presbyterian Church Stained Glass & Historic Cemetery Tours  
         1:00 to 4:00 p.m. (Corner of State Street & Clinch Avenue)
Visit Knoxville’s first church, founded in 1792, for graveyard and stained glass window tours. 

Art Market Gallery

The Art Market Gallery on Gay Street will feature a special exhibit "Honoring the Great Smoky Mountains" in honor of Tremont's 50th Anniversary. The exhibit will be on display throughout the month of August. A percentage of sales made that day will be used to sponsor a child to attend the summer camp program at Tremont, where students can learn about nature in an outdoor classroom. Artists and representatives from Tremont will be onhand with literature from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. as part of the East Tennessee History Fair.

Market Square Farmers' Market

9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Visit the Market Square Farmers' Market for a smorgasbord of local produce, free-range meat, herbs, baked good, artisan crafts, flowers, and more!

Food Vendors

Visitors will enjoy Holy Smokin' BBQ, burgers and sliders from Forks on the Road Food Truck, sweet treats from the Phoenix Pharmacy and Fountain, kettlecorn and fresh squeezed lemonade from Dynamite Kettle Corn, and much more!

Park or Ride

There are many parking garages to choose from in Downtown and many offer FREE parking on the weekends.  Check out the Downtown Parking guide to find your spot.

Another great alternative is to use KAT, a worry-free way to get straight to the History Fair.  Check out the KAT website or call 865-637-3000 to plan your trip.  The last bus leaves Downtown at 11:15 p.m. so you can stay all day!


East Tennessee HIstory Fair 2013
City of Knoxville
Food City
Tennessee Theatre