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Weekend edition April 07, 2023 | Shannon Smith

It’s dogwood season! Here’s a list of events to celebrate spring

From open gardens to flowering trails to the annual Dogwood Arts Festival, here are some great ways to get outside and enjoy spring in Knoxville.

The dogwoods are blooming! You can’t drive around Knoxville without seeing the white and pink flowering trees showing off their lovely blooms.

When the dogwoods arrive, so do all the events associated with the Dogwood Arts Festival.

Dogwood Arts has a 67-year history of arts advocacy, environmental stewardship, and economic impact in East Tennessee. With the financial support of corporate sponsors, grant funding, local government investment, and private donors, they produce 20 year-round events and programs that help make Knoxville a great place to live, work, and play.

Here’s a breakdown of all the events the group is hosting this spring:

Dogwood Trails and Open Gardens

Open all the time, just follow the pink lines painted on over 90 miles of streets in Knoxville to see the best of the dogwood blooms in every part of the city.

This year’s featured trails are all in North Knoxville in North Hills, Fountain City, and Halls/Timberline. You can find South Knoxville trails at Lakemoor Hills, Chapman Highway, and Island Home. East Knoxville trails are in Holston Hills and Morningside. West Knoxville has the most dogwood trails, located in Sequoyah Hills, Deane Hill, Farragut, Westmoreland, and West Hills.

Also in each area of the city are several open gardens, where local gardeners are opening their yards to the public to see the beauty of our area and their work.

Download a map of each trail and a list of open gardens here.

Hikes & Blooms

Whether on a greenway through a historic park or on a natural trail through the woods, you will observe historic relics and beautiful wildflowers among the dogwood trees at Hikes & Blooms!

The interactive hikes will highlight interesting facts, features, and flora in the unique locations. Hikers should wear comfortable clothing and bring any water or snacks they might need.

Pre-registration is required for the 10 a.m. Saturday, April 8 hike at Seven Islands State Birding Park. Email to register.

The hike will be an easy-moderate difficulty 2.5-mile hike. This is a free hike, but if you would like, donations to the park are welcome! This hike will leave the Bluebird Barn area at 10 a.m.

If you can’t make this one, the City of Knoxville Parks & Recreation Department has several hikes scheduled through mid-May. Find that schedule here.

Spring Featured Gardens

Each year, a handful of Knoxville residents open their gardens to the public so we can all take in the beauty of their work. This year there are nine featured gardens, which will be open to the public for two days only, on April 15 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and April 16 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

One of the annual favorite gardens is GATOP, which stands for ‘God’s Answer To Our Prayers.’ Included in the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Gardens, GATOP features hundreds of botanical specimens such as conifers and hollies, extensive displays of wildflowers, perennials, and ground covers, as well as numerous water features and large marble outcroppings. Complimenting this unusual garden are stainless steel, iron, bronze, and stone sculptures. The site features one of Knoxville’s oldest marble quarries. It’s located at 2643 Delrose Drive.

There are also five gardens in the 4th and Gill neighborhood and three in North Hills.

Each garden is unique in design and offers a variety of plant materials and special features. This event is free, though a $5 donation per garden is suggested. Tours are self-guided but Dogwood Arts staff and volunteers will be on-site for questions. No tickets are required.

There is limited parking at each garden, and guests will be admitted on a first-come-first-served basis. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended.

Dogwood Arts Festival

The three-day Dogwood Arts Festival at World’s Fair Park is one of the most celebrated cultural events in Knoxville.

The festival is held on the beautifully redesigned Performance Lawn at World’s Fair Park and features over 100 fine art vendors, live music, entertainment, children’s activities, food & beverage vendors, and more.

New this year, the Emerging Makers Tent will be open on the final day of the 2023 Dogwood Arts Festival on the stage in the World’s Fair Park Amphitheater. Featuring 30 local & regional artists, this space was developed to provide a supportive environment for makers to gain practical experience selling their artwork at a professional craft fair.

The Dogwood Arts Festival is April 28-30. It runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

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