August is an exciting time for Townsend this year, as two attractions in close proximity to one another are drawing people to the area. Come and experience the inaugural Great Smoky Mountain Hot Air Balloon Festival on August 19th and extend your stay through the 21st to catch a complete view of the once-in-a-lifetime total solar eclipse, which will bisect Blount County.

About The Hot Air Balloon Festival

Townsend is excited to host this one-of-a-kind hot air balloon event. Taking place on August 19th from 3-9 pm, The Great Smoky Mountains Hot Air Balloon Festival is a family-friendly celebration that’s planning to draw visitors and locals alike. There will be something for everyone to enjoy at the festival, and the spectacular sight of hot air balloons filling the sky at sunset is sure to be unforgettable.

Live Music and Entertainment

To go along with the spectacular, colorful view of hot air balloons against the Tennessee sky, there will be live music and entertainment during the event.

Food Trucks and Craft Beer

A number of food trucks will be on-site, so come to the festival with an appetite. In addition to this, there will be a number of craft beer options available.  

Craft Vendors

Artisans selling and demonstrating their work will be a part of the festivities as well. Shop around to support local artists and learn how they create their amazing products.

Attending the Festival

Parking for The Great Smoky Mountains Hot Air Balloon Festival is $15, and admission to the event is free! The festival will be taking place on August 19th from 3-9 pm at the Townsend Visitors Center.

Townsend Visitors Center
7906 E Lamar Alexander Parkway
Townsend, TN 37882

Overall, this is a highly creative festival celebrating all of the work that goes into local art, food, craft beer, and most of all, the flying of hot air balloons. You won’t want to miss it!

Facts About the Hot Air Balloon

If you haven’t already been convinced about attending the Smoky Mountains Hot Air Balloon Festival, perhaps a few facts about the hot air balloon will convince you to further explore the amazing aircraft.

  • The hot air balloon was invented in France in 1783.

  • Hot air balloons are the oldest form of human flight.

  • The first passengers of the hot air balloon were animals – a rooster, duck, and a sheep – they landed safely.  

  • They can’t be operated in the rain, as the rain water would boil from the heat emitted and begin to melt the balloon’s fabric.

Where to Stay in Blount County

Since The Great Smoky Mountains Hot Air Balloon Festival and the total solar eclipse may draw you from out of town, you’ll be in need of lodging. Below are a few wonderful options in Blount County.

Chilhowee Inn

Chilhowee Inn, located in Walland, TN, is in close proximity to scenic drives as well as the wildlife in East Tennessee. Make a reservation for one of their beautiful guest suites for a comfortable stay in Blount County. A country breakfast, available each morning, is included with the stay.  

Chilhowee Inn

5291 Old Walland Hwy.
Walland, TN 37886

Gracehill Bed and Breakfast

Gracehill Bed and Breakfast is just minutes from Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Townsend. This inn features a number of amenities such as Wi-Fi access, a library with games, a fitness center, and rooms featuring verandas, patios, or balconies. The views from Gracehill Bed and Breakfast are spectacular. Their accommodation and food have won a number of awards throughout the years.

Gracehill Bed and Breakfast

1169 Little Round Top Way
Townsend, TN 37882

Dancing Bear Lodge & Appalachian Bistro

The Dancing Bear Lodge in Townsend, TN offers amazing, rustic accommodations at their resort. You’ll have your choice of luxury cabin, and will be greeted upon arrival with freshly brewed local coffee. Dining at their restaurant, the Dancing Bear Appalachian Bistro, is a must during your stay.

Dancing Bear Lodge & Appalachian Bistro 

7140 East Lamar Alexander Pkwy
Townsend, Tennessee 37882

Dogwood Cabins

Dogwood Cabins located in Townsend, TN are incredibly scenic and located in close proximity to the entrance of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There are cabins ranging from one to six bedrooms, and pet-friendly cabins available as well. Dogwood Cabins is a great place to stay for couples, as well as larger families and groups.

Dogwood Cabins

101 Painted Trillium Way,
Townsend, TN 37882

For more local places to stay, visit

More Blount County Attractions

Besides the incredible hot air balloon festival and solar eclipse, happening August 19th and August 21st respectively, there are so many other things to do while in Blount County. Take time to explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and the downtown areas of Maryville, Townsend, and more.