8 Fun Ways to Celebrate Smoky Mountain Winterfest
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Winter is one of our favorite seasons! Why? It is the one time of year that combines two of our favorite things: Christmas and the Smoky Mountains! There are so many great Smoky Mountain Winterfest 2021 events, it can be hard to keep track of everything going on. Below is a list of a few events that we are most looking forward to celebrating this year.
1. Gatlinburg’s Chili Cookoff
To kick off Winterfest in Gatlinburg, the city is holding its popular Chili Cookoff! The Chili Cookoff takes place on Thursday, November 11th from 5 to 8 p.m. in downtown Gatlinburg. During this annual event, local restaurants offer unique, homemade chili samples, and you’ll get to vote on which chili you like the best! There will also be live entertainment by Grand Ole Opry member and Country music star Mark Willis. The event will take place at the Anakeesta Plaza at 576 Parkway. General admission tickets are $15 dollar per person and will be sold at the event. However, you can also buy tickets in advance.
2. Sevierville Winterfest
Though Sevierville does not hold a kick-off event for Winterfest, the lights will shine bright beginning on November 12th! Bring all of your family and friends to Sevierville to take in the millions of twinkling lights and get into the holiday spirit! Sevierville is once again teaming up with Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg to present more than 15 million lights in a 25-mile stretch of road.
3. Pigeon Forge Winterfest
Pigeon Forge’s Winterfest begins on November 11th when over 5 million holiday lights are turned on and will illuminate the area throughout the winter season. The stunning lights will remain on until February 15. Be sure to take part in the Winterfest Driving Tour of Lights along the Pigeon Forge Parkway! A drive down the Parkway will allow you to see the 12 Days of Christmas in lights.
4. Christmas Fun at The Island
The Island in Pigeon Forge is home to some of the very best holiday decorations in the Smokies! This popular shopping and entertainment complex is filled with Christmas cheer, featuring 500,000 lights, 40,000 ornaments, 5,000 feet of garland, and three spectacular Christmas trees. At 40 feet tall, The Island’s largest tree is truly something to behold. The Island is also one of the best places to go Christmas shopping in Pigeon Forge, so be sure to bring your Christmas list! Winterfest at The Island begins Nov. 12 and runs through Jan. 5. New to Winterfest at The Island in Pigeon Forge is the Smoky Mountain Jazz Orchestra. The 18-piece band ensemble will play a variety of you favorite Christmas songs while the trees and fountain dance to the music! The show will take place every evening at 6 pm, 7 pm. 8 pm, and 9 pm during the event.
5. Smoky Mountain Winterfest’s Festival of Trees
It is hard to have a holiday celebration without a Christmas tree or two. Help get your family into the seasonal spirit by taking them out to this year’s Festival of Trees event at the W.L. Mills Conference Center. Running from November 24 – 28, this Smoky Mountain Winterfest tradition showcases hundreds of festive trees, each with its own theme. All proceeds from this event benefit the Boys & Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains. The festival will also feature a children’s craft and play area, live entertainment, and photos with Santa Claus. Enjoy your time looking through all the beautiful wreaths and trees and find the perfect one to take back home with you!
6. Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade
The Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade is one of the most popular Gatlinburg parades throughout the year. With over 100 entries, a dozen marching bands from across the region, and larger-than-life balloons, there is a ton of fun just waiting to be had at this winter event. The festivities from the evening will be broadcasted on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day on local television stations in over 100 markets throughout the country.
The parade is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. on December 3. The parade route will run from Baskins Creek Bypass to Traffic Light #10 on the Parkway. Be sure to get the best view of the parade and all the excitement!
7. Enchanted Winter at Anakeesta
Enchanted Winter at Anakeesta kicks off on Nov. 11. Visitors will be able to enjoy seasonal decor and twinkling lights throughout the 70-acre park. Stroll through Firefly Village and the Vista Gardens to take in the stunning scenery, climb to the top of the AnaVista Tower for snow-capped mountain views, or grab a cup of hot chocolate and relax by the fire. Santa also lands his sleigh on Anakeesta mountain on select days in November and December!
8. Smoky Mountain Christmas at Dollywood
As part of the Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival at Dollywood, visitors can enjoy over 5 million twinkling lights, gorgeous holiday decorations, heart-warming holiday shows, and even a visit with Santa Claus himself! The festival is the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit with Christmas trees, Christmas music, Christmas food and more. Be sure to hang out late for the firework spectacular show that makes the perfect ending of your day at Dollywood! Smoky Mountain Christmas at Dollywood begins November 11th and runs through January 2nd.
If you would like more information on these or any other upcoming things to do during the Smoky Mountain Winterfest 2021 season, be sure to check out all of our Smoky Mountain Events!