ROAN MOUNTAIN, Tenn. — Officials with the Roan Mountain Rhododendron Festival have announced that the annual event has been canceled. The event was scheduled to be held the third weekend in June in Roan Mountain.
“We are sure at this point this will not come as a surprise to most, but the Roan Mountain Citizen’s Club is still sad to announce the cancellation of the 2020 Rhododendron Festival,” the event posted on its website. “The Citizen’s Club, in conjunction with Roan Mountain State Park, have been able to host this festival for many years. However, due to the Covid 19 Pandemic this year, we don’t feel we can offer the same safe environment to have the festival.”
The festival delayed announcing a decision, but conditions could not warrant the hosting of the event.“This decision had been delayed with hope that we could somehow still have the festival and welcome vendors and visitors to our beautiful area to celebrate the blooming of the world’s largest natural Rhododendron Gardens. We look forward to welcoming everyone back once this has passed, and we can hopefully return to somewhat of a [normalness] in our lives,” the post reads. “We offer prayers for all those that have been affected and who continue to be affected. We will begin the process of working on next year’s festival so that we can welcome everyone back next year. Please continue to support local business and as always offer kindness to all you are fortunate to come into contact with.” The Rhododendron Festival was first held in June 1947, conceived and carried out by the Roan Mountain Citizens Club as a two-day celebration to memorialize and perpetuate the most gorgeous display of natural beauty on the North American continent, according to the festival website.
The festival is held in Roan Mountain State Park, located at the foot of Roan Mountain, and features handmade crafts, food and a variety of traditional music, plus an array of old-time folkway demonstrations. The event is sponsored by The Roan Mountain Citizens Club, and includes a mini-auction for scholarships for Cloudland High School graduates among its activities. For more information, click to www.roanmountain.com/rhododendron-festival/.