No, we’re not talking about the Hulk. We’re talking about going green for Earth Week in the Smokies! Each year the mountain town of Gatlinburg celebrates the earth with its week-long Earth Week festivities. From special events for kids to a nighttime race through the streets of Gatlinburg, Earth Week has something for everyone to enjoy!
This year, Earth Week will be Monday, April 18, 2016, through Saturday, April 23, 2016. Be sure to plan your Smoky Mountain visit during that time so you don’t miss out on all the games, crafts, and outdoor activities in store. This is a great opportunity to learn about the earth and teach your kids about green principles and practices. There’s so much beauty in our world—let’s do our part to keep it that way for years and decades to come!
For those interested in joining the fun at Earth Week, here’s the lineup for Monday through Friday. There are plenty of ways for you to do your part in keeping the Smokies beautiful—and have fun at the same time!
Wednesday—April 20, 2016
Clothing Collection Day (8 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
We all have them—those shoes we don’t wear anymore, those pants that no longer fit. And if we have kids, we have piles and piles of clothes they’ve quickly outgrown. Instead of letting those clothes pile up in our attics and closets, let’s give them to a good cause on Clothing Collection Day during Earth Week. From 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., you are invited to drop off adult and children’s clothing and shoes at the GCVB (Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau) Events Office. For more information, please call 1-800-588-1817. All donations will benefit the Sevier County Food Ministries, Sevier County Foster Family Clothing Closet, and Soles 4 Souls.
Get Growing—A Children’s Planting Program (9 a.m. and 11 a.m.)
If you want to teach your kids about the importance of recycling, be sure to bring them to the Mills Park Pavilion on Wednesday of Earth Week. The people behind Keep Sevier Beautiful will teach them how to make flower pots from materials like toilet paper rolls, plastic bottles, and tires. And they’ll even get to take a flower home! Kids of all ages (and their families) are invited to attend this FREE event. Kids in Pre-K through 2nd grade are encouraged to attend at 9 a.m. Kids in 3rd – 6th grade should plan to attend at 11 a.m. Call (865) 436-4098 for more information or to sign up.
Thursday—April 21, 2016
Earth Day Festival (3 p.m. to 6 p.m.)
The main event of the week, of course, is the 9th Annual Earth Day Festival at Mynatt Park! Families, friends, and kids of all ages are invited to attend this FREE event, which will have games and crafts as well as live music from Tuatha Dea. Gatlinburg businesses and organizations who support green efforts will also be onsite with activities and information. You can spend the day at the park, participate in green activities, and even take home an Earth Week t-shirt that features the art work of a local student. All sales will benefit the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce Foundation, which provides scholarships for students and donations to schools, helps fund the Gatlinburg Goes Green Program, and supports community educational events.
Friday—April 22, 2016
Earth Day 5K Run/Walk (10 p.m.)
No, you didn’t read the time wrong. The Earth Day 5K Run/Walk is a night event sponsored by the Hilton Garden Inn. Athletes of all ages are encouraged to participate in this USA Track and Field-sanctioned event during Earth Week in Gatlinburg. While early registration with a special rate has already ended, it’s not too late to join the fun. Race day registration will begin at 8 p.m. at the Nantahala Outdoor Center.