UTK launches "Summer of Smokey" tour with beloved mascot

Summer of Smokey / Source: University of Tennessee Athletics

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The University of Tennessee Athletics is kicking off a "Summer of Smokey" with Vols' beloved mascot, Smokey.

In previous years, the Big Orange Caravan made stops in various cities around the state, but this year the caravan will be stopping in almost every county in Tennessee.

"When we initially discussed a temporary departure from our traditional Big Orange Caravan, my main concern was ensuring that our summer tour maintains its impact as a meaningful way to show our appreciation for our fans," Director of Athletics Phillip Fulmer said. "Our team has put a lot of thought and effort into the Summer of Smokey, and we believe it will allow us to reach more fans in more areas all throughout the state of Tennessee. We're all excited about this new concept that will carry the Volunteer spirit statewide all summer long."

You can keep up with the caravan's latest stops by following @Vol_Sports on Twitter and Instagram.

It kicks off on Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. in Market Square.