Archived Outdoors

Mountain Life Festival returns to the Smokies

A park volunteer demonstrates apple pressing. NPS photo A park volunteer demonstrates apple pressing. NPS photo

Following a three-year absence, the Mountain Life Festival will return 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23, at the Mountain Farm Museum in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The event preserves the legacy of the diverse Appalachian customs practiced for generations by the many families who lived on lands that became Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 

The day’s activities reflect the spirit of cooperation that existed among families and neighbors, especially during the harvest. Learn what life was like by interacting with living historians and cultural demonstrators. Share in traditional autumnal pursuits that were an important part of rural life in the mountains, such as blacksmithing, sorghum milling, apple cider pressing, soap making and live music.

Located next to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center 2 miles north of Cherokee, the festival is free to attend and no parking fee is required. Sept. 23 is a fee-free day across the National Park Service in celebration of National Public Lands Day. The last fee-free day of 2023 is Veterans Day, on Saturday, Nov. 11. Park rangers will continue enforcement for illegally or dangerously parked vehicles on fee-free days.

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