A Bit of History on Townsend
The history of our community as we know it now, after the Indians left the area and the white settlers came to claim their land grants, reaches back to 1901 when Colonel Townsend came from Pennsylvania to Tennessee to start a lumbering operation. Logging and railroads were the major influences in growing our town, the name even changed from Tang to Townsend when the Colonel came to town.
Why the Founders Festival?
The Townsend Walland Business Alliance thought that having a festival focused on the town’s origin was a good idea. Playing off that theme, a lumberjack/logging event came to mind as appropriate for part of our First Founders Festival celebration in 2017. The University of Tennessee was contacted, and the Forestry Club became as excited as we were to be involved and to help us coordinate a competition between several area colleges and universities’ Forestry Clubs. This type of lumberjack skill demonstration and competition is called a ‘Conclave’. Participants will be judged as to which team can chop the fastest, can roll the log the best, and can climb to the top of the pole first. Among other events will be birling! This Conclave will be very exciting to watch. All the competitive events are thrilling right down to the axe throwing and water boiling.
The Conclave is just one part of the festivities that will be going on during the day. In addition to the logging event, there will be activities at various locations all through town. One will enjoy the old fashioned music, demonstrations and possible reenactments. There will be food available at the restaurants and at the competition site as well.
There will be informational booths set up with representation from the Tennessee Forestry Department, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Pisgah National Forest and Cherokee National Forest, and the TWRA. These booths will be manned by a representative of their authority and they will talk about the various displays of trees and animals and where there are concerns or issues that the public needs to be enlightened on. Some presentations cover what each had to offer recreationally, educationally, and what their staff was doing to address issues, like the Woolly Adelgid in the Smokies and resource management.
This event is being sponsored by the Townsend Walland Business Alliance in cooperation with the Smoky Mountain Tourism Development Authority and UT Agriculture and Forestry Departments. We expect this to be an annual event.