Blooming flowers and foliage are usually a sign that spring and summer are right around the corner. Greeneville is gorgeous any time of the year with its mountain views and bustling community, but it gets even more stunning as Iris Festival accompanies the month of May. The Greene County Partnerships annual Iris Festival began in 1994. It quickly became one of the area’s more popular festivals of the year and serves as a hub for local and regional talent. The event features artists, craftsmen, merchants, food vendors, and entertainment, all of which draw in crowds of thousands.
Crafters and Merchants
Visiting the 160+ crafter and merchant stands provide their own source of entertainment when attending the Festival. Not only are free samples of delicious foods and handmade products provided, but live demonstrations are abundant for all passerby. Some of these include “wheel-thrown pottery, crocheting, and woodworking.” The top talent from across the country is showcased here, needing to meet certain criteria that are individually reviewed by a local committee. Photographs, samples, and product information are inspected to ensure that each participant offers unique, handmade items so no two products are the same. This helps to enhance the personalized experience of each festival-goer.
Festival Food Features
Whipping up delicious delicacies is another art form that is present throughout Iris Festival. Spanning the globe, cuisines from many parts of the world are highlighted and give a unique sense of what is enjoyed in those regions. Free samples are also plentiful here, including items like homemade apple butter or jellies. Whether you’re in the mood for Chinese-inspired stir fry or gyros from Greece, there is an item to satisfy all taste buds and palates. Additional food and beverage options have included bloomin’ onions, fudge, and fresh-squeezed lemonade.
Annual Woodcarving Show
For those aspiring artisans or hobbyists, the Annual Woodcarving Show attracts noted woodcarvers across the southeast. It is more than selling their wares for these talented craftsmen – it is also about competing for prizes during the weekend.
To accompany the beautiful scenery that surrounds Greeneville, pieces of history line the streets of the Festival. Once home to the 17th President of the United States, the four corners in the heart of the event house monuments to Andrew Johnson. A rich past is nestled into the promising present, further surrounded by Richland Creek and its blanketed banks of Iris flowers.
This natural decor is accompanied by additional efforts of hand-incorporated elements that are well-known at Iris Festival. Spectators and attendees are enveloped by hundreds of yards of gossamer and ribbons that complement stages, railways, and light poles in the downtown region. Using the day and evening prior to the festival, the work of hundreds of volunteers is always noted, and many participating vendors say that “they have never participated in a festival where so much effort is expended in decorating and making the event so attractive.”
Come experience all of the wonderful things that Iris Festival has to offer this year between May 18th and 19th! If looking for historic and beautiful lodging to accompany your visit, book a room with us at the General Morgan Inn. Located in the heart of Greeneville Historic District, we’re close to local events and attractions and provide beautiful guest rooms and suites. Along with our restaurant, these accommodations are perfect for any individual or group who are here for a weekend getaway, festival, or reunion with family or friends. Schedule a stay today and visit all of the attractions and treasures that Downtown Greenville has to offer with housing to match.