Grains and Grits is in its second year, held in the Great Smoky Mountains town of Townsend, 45 minutes from Knoxville. The event brings together Tennessee’s best distilleries and restaurants for tastings with live entertainment. Held at the Historic Townsend Visitor’s Center, the outdoor festival has stunning views of the mountains. We’ve got your guide to how to enjoy the food and drink event fully!
1. Sort out your transportation. The winding roads around the Townsend should be driven cautiously in any condition, so arrange a sober ride before you sample all the whiskeys. Book through your hotel or through a company like Highlands Shuttle Service.
2. Sip slowly. Speaking of those whiskeys, the Tennessee Distillers Guild brings out some of the state’s best, but don’t slam them all at once. Take the opportunity to learn about the distilleries, which can be visited on the Tennesse Whiskey Trail, including Jack Daniel’s, George Dickel, and the Smokies moonshine distilleries. There is also a booth featuring local breweries if you’re not into liquor.
3. Eat first. Start with the food so that they don’t run out. Some of the best restaurants in the Smokies and Knoxville are represented, serving up delicious Southern dishes. Portion sizes vary, so it’s not a bad idea to have a meal before you go.
4. Don’t miss the rest! It’s not all food and drinks. Enjoy lawn games like giant Jenga and cornhole, line dancing, and appearances by Discovery Channel’s Moonshiners.
This rain-or-shine event is for those 21 and over and tickets start cost $65.
I attended the 2016 event with Geiger Public Relations and the Tennessee Department of Tourism.