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To say 2020 has been a crazy year is an understatement. But, as the year comes to an end, we want to reflect on some of the great things that happened in the Smoky Mountains this year. From new restaurants and festivals, to surprises from our Smoky Mountain hometown hero, plenty happened in the Smokies in 2020. We’ve put together a list of the top 6 things you forgot happened in the Smoky Mountains in 2020.
1. Flower and Food Festival at Dollywood
While Dollywood opened for its 2020 season later than usual, it kicked off the season with something special: its brand new Flower and Food Festival! The Flower and Food Festival was a one-of-a-kind Smoky Mountain festival that featured larger-than-life plant sculptures with colorful flower blooms, an umbrella sky and delicious garden-fresh dishes from Dollywood chefs. Dollywood visitors got to enjoy dishes like lobster rolls, citrus shrimp and blueberry tarts after taking in the views of the beautifully designed plant sculptures and the picture-perfect umbrella sky.
2. New Restaurants Opened
Each year, the Smokies welcome more delicious restaurants to the area, and 2020 was no different. Do you remember the opening of a new brunch spot, Ruby Sunshine? Or what about Smith & Son Corner Kitchen? New sweet spots opened in the area as well, like Cruze Farm in Sevierville and Cinnaholic in Pigeon Forge! The Smoky Mountains saw plenty of new places to eat open up in 2020, from authentic Italian restaurants to restaurants with incredible mountain views. Ristorante DellaSantina, Cliff Top and Bigfoot Philly Cheesesteaks are more of the new restaurants in the Smoky Mountains!
3. Dolly Parton Released a New Netflix Movie
Our Smoky Mountain hometown hero continued to spread joy throughout 2020. Whether it was reading bedtime stories virtually to kids every week or releasing new music, Dolly Parton was constantly giving fans something to look forward to. As the perfect start to the holiday season, Parton released a brand new Netflix movie, “Christmas on the Square.” The movie is a musical that features 14 original songs written by Dolly Parton, who also plays an angel in the film! If you haven’t seen it yet, you can still watch the movie on Netflix.
4. Gatlinburg SkyBridge Added More Glass Panels
One upgrade you may have forgotten happened in 2020 was the Gatlinburg SkyBridge! While the SkyBridge opened in 2019, it got some upgrades in 2020 to its midpoint. In August, the Gatlinburg SkyBridge added 3 new glass panels to its midpoint, doubling the length of the panels on the bridge! Now, visitors can experience a total of 30 feet of glass as they cross the bridge. This just makes the thrill of walking across the longest pedestrian suspension bridge even better!
5. The Smokies Got a Food Truck Park
Do you remember when the Smokies got a food truck park? Wears Valley Social opened in the summer of 2020 and introduced a new experience for visitors. It’s a food truck park mixed with an arts and crafts fair, so you can see a variety of different vendors. Wears Valley Social has plenty of outdoor seating, permanent food trucks, rotating trucks, live entertainment and more. One of the permanent food trucks is GrillBillies, which serves delicious BBQ, burgers, sandwiches and more. Other trucks that have been open at the park are Penne for Your Thoughts, Chicken Coop and Mac Truck. You can find Wears Valley Social in the shadow of Cove Mountain in Wears Valley.
6. Anakeesta Completed Its Largest Expansion
One of our favorite Gatlinburg attractions completed its largest expansion ever in 2020! Anakeesta introduced a new restaurant, new shops and eateries, new activities and more. One of its most notable new features is the AnaVista Tower, an observation tower that stands as the tallest point in downtown Gatlinburg! The expansion also brought the completion of Black Bear Village, which has a stage for live entertainment, places to relax, a splash pad and more. Enjoy the new Treeventure Challenge Course, grab a slice of pizza at Kephart Cafe, shop at Mercantile, or enjoy dinner with a view at Cliff Top!
More Things to Do in the Smoky Mountains
These are just some of the exciting things you may have forgot happened in the Smoky Mountains in the 2020! The truth is, there is always something new and exciting happening in the Smokies, and you’ll have to plan a visit to see everything for yourself! While there were plenty of new experiences introduced in 2020, you also don’t want to miss out on all the fun activities that have been in the Smokies for years.
Take a look at more things to do in the Smoky Mountains to see what you should do the next time you’re in town!