8 Fun Ways to Celebrate Smoky Mountain Winterfest 2018 [Plus Winterfest Kickoff Information]

winter in the Smoky Mountains
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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 2018 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. Sevierville Winterfest

Though Sevierville did not hold a kick-off event for this year’s Winterfest, the lights will shine bright from November 9 until January 7!  Bring all of your family and friends to Sevierville to take in the millions of twinkling lights and get into the holiday spirit!

2. Pigeon Forge Winterfest KickoffWinterfest Christmas light display in Pigeon Forge depicting The Old Mill.

Pigeon Forge’s Winterfest Kickoff took place at Patriot Park on November 6 as city officials “flipped the switch” for over 5 million holiday lights that will illuminate the area throughout the winter season.The kickoff event included a performance from Knoxville “Voice” winner Chris Blue. The stunning lights will remain on until February 28.

3. Gatlinburg Winterfest and Chili Cookoff

What better way to warm up while celebrating winter in the Smoky Mountains than a chili cookoff? That is just what the city of Gatlinburg does with their annual Gatlinburg Winter Magic & Chili Cookoff.

Be sure to come hungry! At this event, representatives from several local attractions, restaurants, businesses, charities, and public service groups come together for a friendly competition to see who can make the best batch of chili in the Smoky Mountains.

While they are enjoying the mouthwatering chili, guests at the Gatlinburg Winter Magic festival will be in awe as city officials bring power to millions of lights throughout the downtown area.

There is no admission fee, but chili sampling is $10 per person. Events are set to begin at 5 p.m. on November 7 and end around 8 p.m.

A woman's hand putting an ornament on a Christmas tree.4. 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 20 – 25, this Smoky Mountain Winterfest tradition showcases hundreds of festive trees, each with their own theme. All proceeds from this event benefit the Boys & Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains.

5. Gatlinburg Winter Magic Tunes & Tales

It wouldn’t be the holidays without a little caroling and Christmas cheer, and that is just what guests can expect to find at this year’s Winter Magic Tunes & Tales in downtown Gatlinburg. Similar to their summer series, talented performers and musicians will set up in the heart of the city throughout the festival to entertain guests every Friday and Saturday night. All performers will be dressed in holiday-themed period attire.

Winter Magic Tunes & Tales in Gatlinburg begins at November 23 and continues through December 23.

6. Fantasy of Lights Christmas ParadeA marching band at the Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade in Gatlinburg.

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 parade is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. on December 7. The parade route will run from Baskins Creek Bypass to Traffic Light #10 on the Parkway. Be sure to arrive early! Parade organizers are expecting crowds of more than 60,000 spectators.

7. 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! The holiday events kick off with a tree lighting ceremony from 6 to 8 p.m. on November 17. At 7:30 p.m., Paula Deen will turn on the tree.

Holiday lights at Dollywood's Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival.8. Dollywood’s Parade of Many Colors

As part of the Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival at Dollywood, the theme park hosts nightly parades at 8 p.m. The Parade of Many Colors features enchanting floats, special characters, and holiday music. The theme of the parade ties into the popular TV movie based on Dolly Parton’s childhood: Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love.

If you would like more information on these or any other upcoming things to do during the Smoky Mountain Winterfest 2018 season, be sure to check out all of our Smoky Mountain Events!

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