No matter what time of the year you make your way to the mountains of East Tennessee, there are always plenty of special events going on for you to enjoy. Whether you have a green thumb and want to see the beautiful gardens that are grown in Historic Jonesborough or you want to take the entire family downtown for trick-or-treating, there is always plenty for you to choose from. We hope you will come and enjoy these award–winning festivals. Please check our events calendar for exact dates, locations, and more details.
Despite the small size of our quaint Town, there is a wide variety of activities going on all year long. If you are the type that wants a relaxing getaway to melt away your worries and you do not want to expend too much energy, you can take advantage of a horse-drawn carriage tour of our Historic Town, spend a worry-free afternoon sunbathing at the Water Park, an afternoon listening to good reminiscing session of days of old with a Storyteller, or a relaxing afternoon in the air conditioning while listening to a live orchestra, there is certainly not a lack of things to do. If you are the type that likes to get up and get moving, you can check out our award-winning patriotic Jonesborough Days event, get out early for a day of bargain shopping at the Town-Wide Yard Sale, or spend the day cooling off and splashing around at the Wetlands Water Park. Come by yourself, with your love interest, or with the whole family because there are plenty of special events going on for all to enjoy.
Come in spring and take advantage of our free children’s events, or take part in Tartan Day and celebrate your Scot-Irish heritage. And of course, there is always the Wetlands Water Park that opens Memorial Day weekend where young and old alike can take a ride on a tube around the lazy river, sunbathe in a lounge chair, or get a good dousing beneath the dump buckets.
Scheduled annually the weekend before Easter, the Parks and Recreation Department pulls out all the stops for this free event for children ages 12 and under. Over 2,000 filled eggs are hidden in Storytelling Community Park for children to hop and sniff about to find. Of course, the Easter Bunny is sure to make an appearance, so be sure to record the memorable event with a picture. There are also plenty of free games, free food and much more for children to enjoy.
Held each Friday evening May through September, Music on the Square is Americana at its best, featuring live performances by local and regional bands, storytellers, poets, and performance artists. Each week offers at least two different acts. Many of the shops in Jonesborough stay open for these events, and the restaurants are full of diners and dessert seekers. Folks can visit, chat, enjoy the music and meet new friends as the bands play a variety of bluegrass, Celtic, old-time, Blues or jazz. Now an official Jonesborough event, Main Street is blocked off to through traffic for these concerts. Each concert begins around 7:00pm and everyone is invited to attend and enjoy.
Come out and get a great deal on that great find while also supporting a great cause. Our Town-Wide Yard Sale starts early on a Saturday morning in May where sellers set up their wares all along Boone and Main Streets. You are sure to find something to take home with you to serve as a memory of the good times you had in Historic Jonesborough. The proceeds from this event go to benefit area children.
Jonesborough's Farmers Market is second to none with fresh locally grown vegetables, meats, cheeses and baked goods. The charm is enhanced by the Saturday market live music (starting at 9am), a café area and garden/heritage related crafts. Experience Jonesborough as the locals do and enjoy this free event.
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So you wonder what the hype is behind Storytelling — well here is your chance to get a taste of what people are talking about. Every Tuesday through Saturday beginning in May and running through October, the International Storytelling Center features a different teller every week. You can catch a show especially for children (and the young at heart). You might even learn a thing or two to make you want to pass on those memorable lessons and humorous stories of of the days of old and the things you have experienced in your lifetime. The stories will make you cry, make you laugh, and make you walk away with a smile on your face.
Take the opportunity to snoop around some of the most elegant gardens in Historic Jonesborough. Steal some landscaping ideas to take back home after your visit to the Appalachian Mountains or stroll contentedly amongst the fragrant flower gardens and handsome trees. You will also have the opportunity to sit in on a plant clinic that our local experts will teach. Take the opportunity to relax and sip tea beneath a shade tree. This annual event is brought to you by the Tuesday Garden Club and the Schubert Club of Jonesborough. Whether you have a green or a black thumb, there is always something for everyone at this event.
Historic Jonesborough proudly owns and operates one of the few municipally-owned water parks in the nation. Tucked away between two ridges at Persimmon Ridge Park, the scenery surrounding the Wetlands Water Park makes our visitors feel like they are isolated from the outside world. Whether you want to soak in some rays, ride down one of our 80, 100 or 200 foot water slides, slash around in the zero depth area for our small water lovers or take a ride around the lazy river, there something for all water lovers at the Wetlands Water Park. The Water Park is open Memorial Day to Labor Day every year, so there is plenty of time to take advantage of our aquatic destination.
When you are planning that summer getaway with the family, be sure to fit in a few days in Historic Jonesborough, nestled in the Appalachian mountains of East Tennessee. Summer is a great time to visit Historic Jonesborough as there is always something going on. You can always find something to do downtown that is conveniently located within walking distance to our local Bed and Breakfasts or other lodging. No matter if you are interested in crafts and want to take part in our QuiltFest or if you are the type that likes to stay indoors on a summer day and enjoy a live Storyteller, there are a plethora of activities to choose from. Just be sure to bring your camera to record some of the best memories you will ever make.
The Town of Jonesborough and countless volunteers plan and organize this annual patriotic festival to celebrate our Nation’s Heritage. There is so much for everyone to enjoy the entire weekend: a parade to kick off the festivities, games and an animal petting zoo for the kids, the First TN Bank Children’s Area and Stage, the Main Stage that boasts musical performers all weekend long, crafters, yummy festival food, and, of course, fireworks that would not be complete without the live musical performance of the Johnson City Community Band. Come and celebrate our Nation’s birthday with us and we promise a weekend that you will never forget!
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This event is the largest quilting event in our region, drawing quilters from Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia, and throughout the United States. Hoffman Challenge Exhibit shown in the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center. The event also includes classes and lectures.
You know that autumn has arrived when you see the changing colors of leaves, straw bales, mums in full bloom, bright orange pumpkins, and stalks of fodder as you enjoy a leisurely stroll in Historic Downtown Jonesborough. Fall in East Tennessee is not always mild, you might even be fooled into thinking it is the middle of summer, but we are ready to tuck summer into bed and celebrate the new season. And there are still plenty of festivities still going on in Historic Jonesborough: take that final dip into the water at Wetlands Water Park, enjoy an ice cream at one of the last outdoor Music on the Square events for the year, and get ready to dress up as your favorite Halloween character and enjoy the sights and sounds of Halloween. Whatever your interests may be, there is sure to be something to as you make your way to the mountains of East Tennessee.
There is nothing better than listening to the sounds of the Johnson City Community Concert Band while you celebrate Labor Day by taking the day off to sit leisurely at the Visitors Center and be serenaded. The Johnson City Community Concert Band is an all volunteer, non-profit, concert band whose members are from all over Northeast Tennessee. The band was originally formed with the goal of performing for community events and providing adult citizens of Northeast Tennessee an opportunity to practice and perform music as a community service.
So you loved your last stay in Jonesborough when you came in for Storytelling Live! Now you want to come back to experience a weekend full of stories and tales of yesteryear. You will get a chance to hear all your favorite tellers, plus festival traditions like Swappin’ Ground, Exchange Place and more. Historic Jonesborough plays host for this event that brings in over 10,000 people for the weekend. You are sure to meet new people and make new friends who you will look forward to seeing for years to come as you are sure to become a regular to this event.
Annual **Premier Show** Judged and Juried. The only fine art outdoor show in the region will be in October on the grounds of the prestigious International Storytelling Center in the heart of Jonesborough. The show will be a well balanced selection of artwork categories including: painting, pottery, textiles and jewelry. Names of the artists will be concealed for judging and then the show will be open for viewing and purchasing. The public is invited to enjoy the splendor of the autumn and the wonderful selection of truly fine art.
Experience a whole different world as Main Street in downtown Historic Jonesborough is transformed into a hubbub of little ghosts, goblins, superheroes and good witches, all gathering to enjoy a safe and fun Halloween. This completely free event boasts the best games, ghost stories, costume contest and trick-or-treating in the area! You’re sure to shake in your boots when you visit the transformed Haunted Wedding Chapel.
Find hundreds of beautifully handcrafted gifts along with Fall and Christmas decor on sale at the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center during the second weekend in November. Featured artisans include local and regional crafters and residents from surrounding states.
The days are shorter now and the nights are colder, but that does not stop the Historic Town of Jonesborough from having a good time- we just bring most of our fun indoors! With colder temperatures comes the anticipation of everyone’s favorite holiday of the year. If you listen really close, you can hear the “Ho! Ho! Ho!” sounds coming from Mr. Clause as he greets another child along Main Street. We will bring out the child still in all of us when you attend one of our Christmas events while you are bustling in and out of shops to pick up that perfect gift or you want to check out the gorgeously decorated homes in Tennessee’s oldest Town, we are sure to keep you busy as you prepare for the holidays.
Jonesborough goes all out to celebrate Christmas in the Storytelling Capital of the World. The festivities officially begin the Saturday after Thanksgiving with the Lighting of the Christmas Tree. Enjoy this spectacular event while you sit back and hear familiar Christmas Carols, a Christmas Story told by a local Storyteller, and best of all, when all eyes take in the glory of the huge lit tree that sits next to our Courthouse on Main Street in downtown.
Keep your Christmas spirit alive every Saturday following the Tree Lighting with the St. Nick Nights Toy Drive. Santa himself will make an appearance on Saturday afternoons outside the Courthouse in Historic Jonesborough where he will hear the whispered wishes of all children and have a jovial smile ready for the flash of the camera. Be sure to bring a new toy, wrapped for Christmas for underprivileged children in our community. Other events include the Spirit of Christmas Stroll and Dickens at Dusk.
To help you get that long extensive list of Christmas wish lists fulfilled, our downtown shops stay open late. As you bustle in and out of our shops, be sure to grab a mug of hot cocoa from one of our unique restaurants to help you keep your energy up so you can get your Christmas shopping done.
The holiday season in Historic Jonesborough continues when the Heritage Alliance holds its annual Progressive Dinner. A memorable way to celebrate the season, the Progressive Dinner has become a tradition over the past 33 years.
The evening begins at Jonesborough’s gaily decorated Visitors Center, where guests check in and board the trolley that will transport them on their evening’s adventure. Each participant will be treated to a four course dinner, consisting of a toast, soup, entrée and dessert. Each course is served in a different historic location clothed in holiday finery. Musicians perform live in each location, adding to the holiday fun.
The Progressive Dinner is a fundraising effort of the Heritage Alliance, whose mission is to preserve and promote the rich historic and architectural heritage of our region. More information: heritageall.org
The Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center will be filled with a display of 10 foot Cypress Christmas trees donated and elegantly decorated by area organizations. This creates a lovely place to come and see the trees or a great backdrop for your holiday event.
You can tour from ten to fifteen elegantly decorated homes and churches in their holiday splendor. Light refreshments from local dining establishments will be served at one location.
Children and parents will enjoy visits with Santa, games, activities, crafts and carriage rides. A Santa Mart is available with volunteers to help children buy and wrap surprise gifts for family members.
What better way to entertain the kids and keep them on their good behavior for a visit from Santa than the annual Jonesborough Christmas Parade. The most unique thing about this parade is the fact that it takes place at night, because what better way to showcase the floats and parade entries than to decorate with Christmas lights! Traditionally, over half of the entries are musical as well, so feel free to sing along with the church choirs, wave at the passing fire truck decked out in Christmas decorations and look in wonder at the live nativity scene as it passes by. You will make many Christmas memories in Jonesborough that you are sure to never forget.