Bringing with it an atmosphere of nostalgia and a chance to create new memories, the Newport Harvest Street Festival has for 37 years served as a premier East Tennessee community celebration event
Heralding the onset of fall and launching the start of Cocke County’s annual season of weekend festivals, the Street Festival strikes a cheerful balance between old and new.
Many of the vendors and participants have been returning year after year, becoming an integral part of the festival’s identity. This continuity is essential for the festival’s charm, as it allows visitors to relive cherished memories. Whether it’s savoring a favorite treat from a familiar food stall or reconnecting with long-time friends, the Newport Street Festival has a unique ability to transport attendees back in time.
But what makes this festival truly exceptional is its capacity for renewal, year after year. Alongside the familiar faces, there are new vendors, attractions, and activities waiting to be discovered. This delicate blend of tradition and innovation is what keeps the festival fresh and exciting. It’s a testament to the organizers’ commitment to providing a diverse and engaging experience for both long-time attendees and first-time visitors.
“We’ve got vendors that have been coming for as long as I know and before, and then we’ve always got new ones,” said Lynn Ramsey, Cocke County Chamber of Commerce director and an organizer of the event since 2008. “We have everything from crafts and Christmas and fall decorations to children’s toys. Some people are selling different kinds of stones and herbs and handcrafted soaps and a lot of handmade arts and crafts. A lot of churches will come and give away information, and sometimes they give away free stuff like bottles of water to drink.”
Ramsey said this year’s festival will be expanding over its previous layout — something that hasn’t been done since she was attending the festival as a child.
“We are going to go out on Main Street out in front of Roscoe’s Treasures, opening that back up,” said Ramsey. “It used to be open years ago, so we are excited to be expanding it again.”
If the weather is beautiful and the sun graces the streets of downtown Newport with its warm glow, turnout can run as high as 6,000 people or more. Clear blue skies and crisp autumn air set the stage for a weekend filled with laughter, music, and delicious food.
Food trucks and tasty treat-serving tents line the streets and fill the air with the enticing aromas of all your favorite festival snacks and beverages, from fresh squeezed lemonade, corn dogs and spiral taters to funnel cakes and deep-fried desserts.
And of course, no Tennessee festival would be complete with music, and the Newport Street Festival always serves a wonderful variety guaranteed to get your body moving to the sweet beats and lively melodies. This year’s lineup includes: Stone Mountain Band, Southern Addiction Band, Mikki Norwood Band, as well as soothing harmonies by Classical Strings. Energetic dance numbers by talented local youth from Max Movement Dance and Fitness will also be showcased. On Sunday, start your morning off with a Sunday service by Bridgeport Freewill Baptist Church, everyone is invited to attend.
Make sure to see all the lovely ladies and babies that come to compete to be 2023’s Harvest Queen in their appropriate age division. Children up to 16 years of age will compete in pageants according to their age bracket. The ever-popular Miss Newport Harvest Festival, for females ages 16-21 years old, will be the last pageant of the day. All pageants will be on the Broadway side of the Courthouse lawn on Saturday at 10:30 am.
The Newport Harvest Street Festival is a testament to the enduring spirit of close-knit community and the power of Appalachia traditions. It’s a place where locals and visitors alike come to relive old memories and create new ones, where the past and present seamlessly merge in a celebration of life in Cocke County.