Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 21, 2023

Great Smoky Mountains National Park 73rd Annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage April 26-29

We’ve finished the Program for 2023 and you can find it on our website!  It is the largest and most dynamic program yet with over 200 educational opportunities over 4 days, April 26-29, 2023.  Pricing is the same as last year and can be found on our website, along with several lodging options from our partner,Hospitality Solutions.  

Registration will open March 1, 2023 at 10AM Eastern via a link on our website under the Program link.  Please remember, on this super busy day when hundreds of people register it is most important to get into the system, even if you cannot get into all the programs/hikes you want when initially registering.  Once you are in the system, Shannon Gordon and I can work with you until you are happy!  And, once in the system you can always add, delete, or change your programs/hikes up to a week or so before event.  Just get in!  We will send out documents on Tips and Tricks in the coming weeks. 

For registration go to SWFP Website

Our Featured Artist this year is Audrey Deal-McEver and in addition to her exhibit on Thursday evening, she will teach a Thursday workshop at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts onExploring Botanical Patterns and Motifs in Clay. Megan Koeppel, another artist at Arrowmont during Pilgrimage week, will teach a workshop on Making Natural Dyes from Kitchen Scraps and Extracts on Friday.  Both of these workshops will require an additional fee to purchase expendables and the materials that you will take home after your class! 

The Evening Speaker lineup this year is wonderful.  It will begin Wednesday evening with Dr. Christopher Johnson and Bengt Carlson, adjunct instructors in the Honors Program at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and they’ll present and discuss on the meaning of “human pilgrimages”.  On Thursday evening, Bill Landry, the host and narrator of TV’s long running The Heartland Series is a featured storyteller for both Thursday and Friday evenings.  On Thursday, he’ll present on the William Bartram, An Unlikely Explorer.  Bartram was an American botanist, ornithologist, natural historian, and explorer of the Southern Appalachian Mountains in the years leading up to the American Revolution.  On Friday, Bill will  present on his new book, A Last Hurrah! and he’ll tell his own stories about his time as a storyteller.  Following Bill’s presentations will be book signings. 

Our store this year is through Redbubble and following that link will take you to where you can find t-shirts, hats, posters, stickers, coffee mugs, and more. We also added posters from previous year’s pilgrimages.  The t-shirt art is by our Featured Artist, Audry Deal-McEver! 

Sustaining Pilgrimage fundraiser.  I am happy to announce that we had a donor pledge to match up to $10,000 if we can raise that much through donations from now through event.  After the last three years the coffers of our nonprofit were depleted.  It is our hope, as well as the donors who made the pledge, this will allow us to kickstart a fundraiser to eventually have a year’s funding in savings to protect Pilgrimage should we face another hardship.   

Parking Passes will be a requirement this year, beginning March 1.  Pilgrims will need to purchase their own parking passes and as we learn more we will try to provide you with more information. 

We are always monitoring construction and closures in the Park and we are aware of ongoing work at Greenbrier.  If there are delays in construction, we may need to modify the Program and we’ll communicate accordingly. 


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