For a good, healthy dose of Appalachian history, you’ll want to be in Townsend, TN next month for the town’s 15th Annual ChristyFest, a celebration of southern heritage dating back to before the founding of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The dates this year are July 21 – 24.

ChristyFest is an annual festival inspired by the timeless Catherine Marshall novel “Christy”. It’s also a study and a celebration of Southern Appalachian history, culture, literature and music as people from all parts of the country come to Townsend, Tenn to celebrate this uniquely American way of life.

This year’s guest lineup includes Emily (Schulman) Webster from the original cast, Mike Hickman and Jo Doster, with more expected to join the list as the time grows nearer. Christy ran for 20 episodes over the course of 1994 and ’95 and earned actress Tyne Daly an Emmy award for her portrayal of Alice Henderson, a Quaker missionary woman in the series.

Emily (Schulman) Webster, far right, will be the featured guest at ChristyFest 2011. Webster, along with series favorites Kellie Martin, center left, and Tyne Daly, center right, are pictured in this early Christy cast photo.

This will be Webster’s first trip to ChristyFest, and her first visit back to Townsend since the filming of the series. Emily portrayed one of everyone’s favorite character’s, Ruby Mae Morrison. The red-haired young girl who loved and tried to imitate her beloved “Teacher” was an oft-cited part of the show in festivals past. Jo Doster is a festival favorite whose stories give life to the actors and actresses that made Christy such a success. As a Casting Director for the series, she is always great fun and lends insight into the series creation. Fan favorite Mike Hickman, “Birds Eye Taylor” will also be on hand to “skere the children and charm the ladies”! Actually the children love Mike, and he can be found on the last day of the festival leading the group on a farewell hike.

So, we’d love to have everyone come out to ChristyFest at the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center in Townsend, TN – an amazing, informative and family friendly vacation in the Great Smoky Mountains! For more information, or to register online just go to our website at