It is officially and effectively winterfest in the Smokies! During this time, people come to the mountains for a variety of reasons, not the least because of the holidays, the romance opportunities and just a badly needed break from the routine, but one slightly less obvious reason is that we have capabilities for Winter sports enthusiasts to break out their skis, snowboards and more; and those seeking to get a hot burst of adrenaline out in the cold will want to get to the Smokies ASAP!
Here are some Winterfest events we have coming up:
* Ober Gatlinburg – Winter Sports *
11/21/20 – Easter Day 2021
Ober Gatlinburg is the mountainside amusement park overlooking the city and it functions in the Winter season as both a family fun center and a sports center where they offer the only place to ski, snowboard, snowtube and ice skate for miles around. Definitely a worthy visit. https://obergatlinburg.com/winter/
From Visitsevierville.com: “It is officially and effectively winterfest in the Smokies! During this time, people come to the mountains for a variety of reasons, not the least because of the holidays, the romance opportunities and just a badly needed break from the routine, but one slightly less obvious reason is that we have capabilities for Winter sports enthusiasts to break out their skis, snowboards and more; and those seeking to get a hot burst of adrenaline out in the cold will want to get to know more about these facilities!” https://visitsevierville.com/EventsCalendar.aspx#!/208477-shadracks-christmas-wonderland
* Gatlinburg Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade *
From Gatlinburg.com: “On December 4, the 45th Annual Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade rolls through downtown Gatlinburg in celebration of the holiday season and the beginning of Gatlinburg Winter Magic.
* Christmas in the Smokies Bluegrass Festival *
12/9/20 – 12/12/20
Every year hundreds of fans pour into the Evergreen Smoky Mountain Lodge & Convention Center to come to the Christmas In The Smokies Bluegrass Festival. While the bluegrass festival is enough fun for anyone, there is so much more to offer in Pigeon Forge! The festival is held in the heart of Pigeon Forge on Parkway. The whole city is decorated for Christmas and sparkles everywhere you go at night. There is lots of shopping, food, and fun in Pigeon Forge. Come join us this year at the festival! https://bluegrasschristmasinsmokies.com/
In less than a week, the city of Gatlinburg will be some of the most active it’s ever been concentrated in one spot with the highly anticipated return of the Gatlinburg Chili Cookoff! The city of Gatlinburg writes this for this year’s Winterfest kickoff festival:
“For over 30 years, Gatlinburg has celebrated the kickoff of Smoky Mountain Winterfest with the annual foodie festival, Gatlinburg Chili Cookoff Presented by Bush’s Chili Beans. On November 12, 2020, the tradition continues with live entertainment and mouth-watering homemade chili sampling and some new adjustments to honor the Tennessee Pledge guidelines.
NEW in 2020, tickets will be required to enter. To accommodate for social distancing, event attendance will be limited. Due to the popularity of the event, an advanced ticket purchase is strongly recommended.
The time-honored traditions of popular local restaurants offering unique, homemade chili samples and vying for the coveted People’s Choice Award will go on. Additionally, festival-goers will enjoy the free, live entertainment by the Eagles tribute band, On The Border – The Ultimate Eagles Tribute! On The Border provides an authentic Eagles concert experience while journeying through The Eagles songbook. They cover every big hit, from ballads like “Desperado” and “Lyin’ Eyes” to rocking hits such as “Life in the Fast Lane” and “Heartache Tonight.”
City leaders will participate in an official lighting ceremony for Smoky Mountain Winterfest that features millions of twinkling lights adorning Gatlinburg Winter Magic light displays throughout the city.
The Chili Cookoff and Winterfest Kickoff will be held on Thursday, November 12 from 5 – 8 p.m. in a NEW location at the Anakeesta Plaza located at 576 Parkway.”
For those wondering if the city of Pigeon Forge is going to be doing their traditional Winterfest celebration for 2020, the answer is an emphatic YES!
Here is what the city of Pigeon Forge is releasing for information on this year’s Winterfest season scheduled to begin on November 13th, 2020 and continue to February 21st, 2021:
“From winter light displays to captivating holiday shows and so much more, here are just a few of the fun ways you can experience the delightful Smoky Mountain Winterfest Celebration.
Visit Dollywood to see more than 5 million lights sparkling around you during Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas. The park is filled with holiday music, plenty of rides, and for the first time ever, fireworks that light up the winter night skies. Make Dollywood your family’s Christmas tradition and enjoy award-winning holiday shows, scrumptious cuisine and seasonal shopping.
A favorite of locals and visitors alike is Christmas at Dolly Parton’s Stampede, where all the stops are pulled out when it comes to decorating for the holidays. The arena is transformed into a winter wonderland with a special appearance from Santa himself. Another highlight is their 60-foot-tall tree, adorned with colorful lights, ribbons and sparkling ornaments from the very bottom to the twinkling star on top.
Another must-see is The Island in Pigeon Forge with thousands of ornaments, millions of lights and over a mile of garland. Guests are treated to three different Christmas trees, including one that stands 40 feet tall and allows guests to walk through. Santa and Mrs. Claus greet guests at their workshop while roving carolers fill the air with Christmas music.
Old Mill Square’s Holiday Open House features holiday lights, displays and decorations. Explore the shops and catch up on your holiday shopping. You can also sample some of the delicious food items and get a few ideas for your own holiday celebrations. The Old Mill also features a holiday light display of a covered bridge made out of thousands of twinkling lights that lead to one of the most historic areas of Pigeon Forge.
The best way to take in the beauty and splendor of all the holiday light displays throughout Pigeon Forge is on the Winterfest Driving Tour of Lights, which begins at the north end of the Parkway. You can also download the Winterfest Driving Tour Map.
Whether this is your first time to visit Pigeon Forge, or you’re making a return trip, Winterfest is the perfect occasion to share special memories with family and friends.”
East Tennessee’s Premier catering co. and Wedding Specialist. Offering Gourmet Southern Comfort foods and Trendy buffets. First Fruits Catering is a full service catering company with the capability to offer plated meals, buffet stations, Hor d oeuvre receptions, custom lunches, gourmet brunch events, charity fundraising gala’s, and everything completely Customizable. First Fruits Catering is more than just catering, they own a retail Bakery and Wedding Cakes kitchen. Chef Tony personally prepares each wedding cake and “the secret to the perfect cake” is freshly baked cakes that are never frozen- using fresh ingredients and a special recipe Buttercream frosting.
Catering items include:
Herb Crusted Pork Loin Herb dry rub Pork Loin cooked to perfect making a glaze as it cooks.
Chicken Marsala Chicken breast covered with a homemade Mushroom Sauce with Marsala Wine.
Whipped Potato Casserole Tasty potatoes blended with sour cream and butter.
Country Style Green Beans Steamed Green Beans with seasoning Ham.
Parmesan Corn Casserole Southern Favorite casserole with diced baby corn and Parmesan Cheese.
Rotini Chicken Alfredo A very Hearty pasta dish using a fresh homemade creamy Alfredo Sauce.
Gourmet Cheeses Display Assorted gourmet cheeses accompanied by a special recipe roasted pecan cheese ball served Gourmet crackers.
Fresh Fruit Fondue Watermelon basket filled with Cantaloupe, Honeydew, Pineapple, etc.. with Strawberry Chocolate Fondue.
Pork Loin Diane Medallions of tender pork seasoned and topped with a hint of Dijon cream sauce.
Pepper Chutney Beef Roast Tender sirloin roast topped with a cognac peppercorn glaze.
Parisienne Potatoes Marble size potatoes sautéed in garlic butter.
Parmesan Corn Casserole Southern Favorite Corn Casserole with diced Baby Corn pieces and Parmesan Cheese.
Consider Chef Tony/First Fruits Catering for your Smoky Mountain wedding, family reunion, military reunion or any occasion you would like to have a professional and high class catering option available. See more on Chef Tony at https://cheftonycatering.com.
Green Eye Hemp Cafe is a small café serving locally roasted organic coffee as well as specially blended teas and home made baked goods, including gluten free options. We also offer a full hemp line with many of our products grown in our USDA Certified Organic grow room.
Green Eye Hemp Cafe is proud to offer visitors and locals the following:
More and more, the Smoky Mountains are returning to the sort of holiday traditions and normalcy we have been looking forward to twice over all year. Nowhere can this sentence and sentiment be better manifested than with the upcoming Winterfest season and the many theater shows that are already offering news for their 2020 Christmas shows and schedules.
Here is what Pigeon Forge is showing off for Christmas shows this Winterfest:
(Please be aware that times and availability may change as we remain keeping social distancing practices in order.)
Christmas Show at Country Tonite
November 1st – December 31st, 2020
From mypigeonforge.com: “The wonder of the magical Christmas Show at Country Tonite Theatre will put the entire family in the holiday spirit! The stage is transformed into a winter wonderland with sets that are only rivaled by the vibrant costumes and choreography. The cast includes popular local performers as well as special guests we all know – Santa Claus, Frosty the Snowman and the Sugar Plum Fairy.
Classic holiday songs will bring back fond memories of Christmas past as everyone sings along. At one point the toys on stage even come to life to join the fun. This is one Pigeon Forge holiday event the family won’t want to miss.”
Hatfield & McCoy Christmas Disaster Dinner Feud
November 1st, 2020 – January 2nd, 2021
From mypigeonforge.com: “Come join Pa Hatfield and Ma McCoy as they try to set aside their differences in the spirit of the Season. Watch as these two famous feudin’ families come together for a night of fun, food and entertainment. The Hatfield & McCoy Christmas Disaster Dinner Feud is guaranteed to make you feel better about spending the holidays with your in-laws!
Whether you’re city-folk or country cuzins, you’ll love the holiday singing and dancing, mighty feats of strength, jaw-dropping stunts and side-splitting comedy. There’s something for everybody at the Hatfield & McCoy Christmas Disaster Dinner Feud!
And Granny’s pulling out all the stops for the holiday dinner! She’s cookin’ up a heap of fried chicken and country pulled pork shoulder barbecue. Add smashed taters, creamy coleslaw, homemade rolls, corn on the cob, creamy vegetable soup and Granny’s special dessert. Afterward, you’ll need to loosen up your belt! It’s the best dinner in town–Granny guarantees it!”
Christmas At Dolly’s Stampede
November 3rd 2020 – January 2nd, 2021
From mypigeonforge.com: “Your experience during Christmas at Dolly’s Stampede begins in our non-alcoholic saloon where you will enjoy special entertainment from our house band Mountain Ruckus. Hear some of your holiday favorites performed with a mixture of comedy added.
During the Christmas show, the cast, including 32 magnificent horses, takes you on a nostalgic holiday trip with a friendly North Pole – South Pole rivalry. Watch in delight as the Sugar Plum Fairy brings toys to life right before your eyes. Our live nativity scene, which includes three kings arriving atop real camels, brings the true meaning of Christmas to life. Santa himself will also make an appearance in a horse-drawn sleigh.”
Christmas at Pirates Voyage Dinner Show
November 3rd, 2020 – January 2nd, 2021
From mypigeonforge.com: “Celebrate all of the good things that make the holidays special as the Mystical Christmas Spirit takes Captain Scrooge on a journey through time and space to find the meaning of Christmas. Cheer along as giant Christmas toys come to life and perform amazing acrobatics high above the lagoon. Laugh at the hijinks of a comical castaway and her sea lion companion. Gaze in wonder at a live Nativity, complete with wise men and an angel with a special message for landlubbers and pirates alike.
Your family with also be thrilled by an epic battle between the Crimson and Emerald pirates as they compete for the coveted Christmas treasure on land, on deck, in water and high above two full-sized pirate ships! All the while, you will enjoy a four-course holiday feast including our Voyager Creamy Vegetable Soup, Buccaneer Biscuit, Cracklin’ Pan-Fried Chicken, Sugar-Cured Ham, Matey’s Mac ‘n’ Cheese, Jolly Roger Sweet Potato Souffle, Walk the Plank Peach Turnover for dessert and unlimited Coca-Cola, tea or coffee.”
This last weekend was pretty interesting in Pigeon Forge as many hot rods and well-designed, custom-made cars drove into our side of the Smokies as we normally expect in mid-September. What makes it interesting, though, is that the official Pigeon Forge Rod Run 2020 is THIS weekend from September 17th to the 19th – there is only one September Rod Run scheduled for 2020 that hasn’t begun yet, but our Smoky Mountain visitors brought their cars, families and party materials anyway!
Now that’s the spirit of the Smoky Mountain guest, right there. That’s the appeal of our mountains and cities – we’re having a Rod Run come Houston or high water!
Additionally, there are more Fall time Smoky Mountain events that are still scheduled to go on and we’re going to showcase a few of the more immediately upcoming ones here:
*** Pigeon Forge ***
Dollywoods Harvest Festival
9/25/20 – 10/31/20
One of the most beautiful times of the year is autumn in the Great Smoky Mountains. With a colorful patchwork of orange, red, yellow and gold painted throughout the hills and valleys of East Tennessee, fall provides the perfect backdrop for festive family fun at Dollywood.
* Great Pumpkin LumiNights The largest addition ever made to Dollywood’s fall festival, Great Pumpkin LumiNights features artistic sculptures, whimsical scenes and delightful, family-friendly fun. Numerous lighted pumpkin displays throughout the park will delight families looking for a new and unique tradition.
* Southern Gospel and Bluegrass Concerts Dollywood park will be filled with the sounds of Southern Gospel and Bluegrass during the Harvest Festival. Over 800 concerts will be spread over ten stages, in addition to roaming concert-style performances throughout the park. Don’t miss the soul-stirring sounds of beautiful harmonies ringing through the crisp air this fall at Dollywood.
* World-class Artisans Visiting artisans from across the country share their talents through an array of handmade wares, spanning from functional to decorative. Each day is a picture-perfect opportunity for your family to enjoy the traditional experiences of a Smoky Mountain harvest!
Professional and aspiring chalk artists will gather at The Island in Pigeon Forge to adorn its concrete with colorful masterpieces made entirely with chalk during the annual Chalkfest. All artists, professional and aspiring, are invited to create a masterpiece. Registration is free and chalk and concrete are provided. If you prefer to just watch, come check out our four featured artists and be sure to vote for your favorite community piece!
Fall Smoky Mountain Trout Tournament
10/3/20 – 10/4/20
Don’t miss out on the fun and excitement of the annual Fall Smoky Mountain Trout Tournament. This event is fun for adults, children, tourists, and locals. Over 5,000 trout will be stocked in over 20 miles of streams prior to this 2-day event and features $10,000 in cash & prizes!
OktOBERfest returns to its Gatlinburg-style roots with 38 days of merrymaking from September 25 through November 1, 2020 as the resort commemorates the 208th anniversary of the popular festival held in Munich, Germany. The Bavarian Fun Makers Band, in authentic costumes, will perform traditional Bavarian folk dances, schuhplattling, oompah music, sing-a-longs, yodels and more with daily shows and multiple performances every day during Oktoberfest. Special Oktoberfest Biers will be served along with traditional German wurst, schnitzel, sauerkraut, strudel, pretzels and more.
The 2020 Hands-On Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Weekend provides arts and crafts lovers the opportunity to own a beautifully crafted piece of artwork made with their very own hands. Take a look around your house and you’re likely to find a multitude of carefully orchestrated decorative pieces all telling the story of the personal character of your home. That beautiful, handmade vase you’ve been complimented on over 100 times. The intricately carved broom hanging on your mantlepiece constantly admired by visiting houseguests. What if those unique pieces weren’t just a compliment to your style, but a point of personal pride? Studios throughout the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community will host classes, providing guests with the chance to learn how to make their favorite crafts from the professionals themselves. An abundance of do-it-yourself style classwork will be offered, from knitting to pastels, painting, jewelry-making, watercolor, weaving, pottery, crochet, woodworking, soap-making and much more. Festivalgoers can keep the items they make and place them alongside their other coveted works of art.
The Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair hosts Artisans and Craftsmen from all over the nation. Two hundred booths with unique and one-of-a-kind handmade products, are beautifully displayed inside for your shopping pleasure. As these skilled craftspeople demonstrate their talents, you can witness works of art come to life. Each participant is subject to a rigorous jury process to ensure the uniqueness and quality of their respective products. All items represented are handmade and of utmost quality. Look for exceptional pottery pieces, painted artwork, molded leather, copper art, local candy makers, photography, and many more unique items.
The Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair October is the premier holiday shopping destination! We are your one-stop-shop for everyone on your list.
A surprise new event popped up in our info boxes over the weekend and we wanted to share it with you. From October 2nd to October 11th, 2020, Gatlinburg will be celebrating Tennessee Crafts Week and Hands On Gatlinburg back-to-back.
From their official event page:
“The 2020 Hands-On Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Weekend provides arts and crafts lovers the opportunity to own a beautifully crafted piece of artwork made with their very own hands.
Take a look around your house and you’re likely to find a multitude of carefully orchestrated decorative pieces all telling the story of the personal character of your home. That beautiful, handmade vase you’ve been complimented on over 100 times. The intricately carved broom hanging on your mantlepiece constantly admired by visiting houseguests. What if those unique pieces weren’t just a compliment to your style, but a point of personal pride?
Studios throughout the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community will host classes, providing guests with the chance to learn how to make their favorite crafts from the professionals themselves. An abundance of do-it-yourself style classwork will be offered, from knitting to pastels, painting, jewelry-making, watercolor, weaving, pottery, crochet, woodworking, soap-making and much more. Festivalgoers can keep the items they make and place them alongside their other coveted works of art. Hands-On Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Weekend is October 2-4 and would make a great Christmas gift for the art lover in your life.”
The main questions in the Smoky Mountain tourism industry this year have all revolved around what traditional special events will still be going on for 2020 and when. While indeed things will continue to be different this year for the next season with the iconic Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years event lined up one after another, those who come to the Smokies to celebrate those events specifically will still find we are indeed celebrating them!
For Halloween, as of September 1st, here are some events that locals and visitors can plan on enjoying.
* Great Pumpkin LumiNights *
Sep 25, 2020 – Oct 31, 2020
Held at: Dollywood
“Great Pumpkin LumiNights is just one of the fun things to see and do at the annual Dollywood Harvest Festival presented by Humana. Dollywood’s Great Pumpkin LumiNights features spectacular lighted pumpkin displays throughout the Dollywood park, which glow with the fire of fall. And this season’s event promises to be even more spectacular with artistic sculptures, whimsical scenes and loads of fun for families to experience all throughout Timber Canyon.
Here is just a sampling of some of the fun family activities taking place at Dollywood’s Great Pumpkin LumiNights:
* Character Meet & Greet * Master Carvers * Glow Face Painting * Specialty Foods”
* Halloween Spooktacular Event *
Oct 29, 2020
Held at: Pigeon Forge Community Center
“Join the family-fun Spooktacular Halloween Event at the Pigeon Forge Community Center on the Thursday before Halloween. This free and non-scary event is a safe alternative for families to go Trick or Treating.”
* Halloween Trick of Treat *
Oct 31, 2020
Held at: The Island in Pigeon Forge
“Step right up! Step right up! Join us for our annual Halloween Trick of Treat at The Island in Pigeon Forge.
Enjoy free Trick or Treating Halloween night at The Island In Pigeon Forge and unlimited rides for just $5 for those in costume. Watch live Bluegrass band, Midnight Run, from 5pm-11pm on the Ole Smoky Stage.”