Elk Fest

Smoky Mountain elk fest

September 13–14, 2019

Mark your calendars for the first annual Smoky Mountain Elk Festival, happening this fall at the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds! Why have an Elk Fest, you ask? Well, reintroducing the elk to the area was a lot of hard work. Elk used to be abundant throughout the western North Carolina mountains, but by the mid-1800s, the population was wiped out due to overhunting and habitat loss.

After extensive research by the Great Smoky Mountain National Park Service and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, wild elk were reintroduced into the Cataloochee Valley in 2001. The original herd consisted of 52 elk, and over the years their numbers have grown to more than 150.

As the elk population continues to grow, though, there are some interaction issues when the elk end up in places they aren’t supposed to be—for instance, in our local farmer’s fields. Proceeds from the Elk Fest will help us raise funds for habitat maintenance and create other ways to keep our elk protected and happy.

What is the smoky mountain elk fest?

The Smoky Mountain Elk Fest is a family-friendly event full of music, entertainment, and educational demonstrations. While we’re still working on the details, you can expect to find lots of great food and drinks, guided hikes, creekside demonstrations, wildlife artists, crafts, and kid’s activities.

We’re working on live music shows and cultural performances, too. Check back often—we’ll continue to update this page as we learn more!

If you’d prefer to be updated over email, be sure to sign up to get updates delivered right to your inbox.

If you'd like to participate in this event, we'd love to hear from you! Apply to become a vendor today.

Apply Now

Are you as passionate about the Smoky Mountain Elk as we are? Consider becoming a sponsor! Fill out the form at the link below.

Be a Sponsor

Show us your Elk! Enter your Elk pic into our photo contest for a chance to win great prizes!

Photo Contest


Friday, September 13


Taste of the Wild
6PM – 8PM

  • Wild Game Tasting
  • Live Music
  • Raffle


Saturday, September 14

Smoky Mountain Elk Fest
10AM – 9PM

  • Live Music
  • Wildlife Artists
  • Outdoor Adventure Demos
  • Kids Activities
  • Cultural Performances
  • Timber Sports
  • NASCAR Display
  • Elk Habitat Tours
  • Craft Vendors
  • Guided Hikes
  • Local Food Vendors



Thank you to our generous sponsors

Stay Connected

Sign up for our eNewsletter.