Winterfest / Winter Magic [November-February]
Winter is another season to revel and enjoy yourself in the Smokies! Watch the lights turn on in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville, each town one after the other, with literally millions of Christmas lights and decorations. Dollywood contributes a few million more, which are synchronised to music! The holiday season begins with numerous events planned throughout the winter.
Sevierville's Winterfest festivities include live entertainment and hay rides, as well as millions of display lights that stretch all the way up to Interstate 40 to welcome tourists!
Pigeon Forge's Annual Winterfest Kickoff takes place at Patriot Park, with live music and free passes on the Trolley Tour of Lights.
Gatlinburg's Winter Magic holiday season kicks off with the famed Chili Cook-off on Parkway. It's among the few occasions when Parkway is closed, and it's one of the best parties. While Sevierville and Pigeon Forge celebrate until February, Gatlinburg's season of lights and festivities lasts until the end of January.
Trolley Tour of Lights [November-February]
The trolley systems of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge provide special evening excursions of the towns' millions of Christmas lights. The trolley is a sensible way to see the best displays of the spectacular lights of the two cities. It is comfortable and warm, with huge clear windows to gaze through, and is led by guides with extensive knowledge of the interesting spots along the route.
The Gatlinburg Trolley Ride of Lights will take you past the downtown lights, including Parkway and River Road. You will also go along Highway 321 and view spectacular light displays with animated animals, characters, dancing fountains, and any number of Christmas scenes. Not to be outdone by its neighbor to the south, Pigeon Forge puts on its own celebration light display every winter for you to enjoy. Pigeon Forge no longer provides trolley tours of the lights, instead publishing a free map of the top lights each year so that you can navigate through the lights on your own. The Driving Tour of Lights map is available for free.
Tunes and Tales- Winter [Thanksgiving-Christmas]
Take a walk down Gatlinburg's downtown Parkway on a Friday or Saturday evening around this time of year and join some strolling carolers, listen to a storyteller, or observe the many characters costumed in Dickens-style Christmas garb. Tunes & Tales, the famous summer event dressed up for the Christmas season, is coming.
Ski Season at Ober Gatlinburg [Thanksgiving-Easter]
To the people at Gatlinburg's ski resort, winter means only snow, and it can't arrive soon enough. Ober Gatlinburg can run a relatively long season with some serious snow-making equipment to assist Mother Nature, starting and finishing with the fun and no-skills-required Snow Tubing!
Of course, snow is what a ski resort lives for, and Ober Gatlinburg has enough of it. The ski area features ten routes and four lifts, as well as a fantastic snow-tubing loop at the base that is normally accessible from Thanksgiving to Easter! Ober Gatlinburg uses some of the most advanced snow generating technology in existence to intensify the natural snowfall of the Smoky Mountains.
Thanksgiving and Christmas Craft Shows [Late November-Early December]
The craftsmen of Gatlinburg and the surrounding area gather for two crafts exhibits conducted back to back in the latter week of November and the first week of December. The Thanksgiving-themed show also offers products for the home and family that have a harvest festival feel to them. The unique Christmas items and gifts are clearing the way for the second presentation. It's a shopper's dream, with high-quality and distinctive gifts for everyone, including yourself.
Christmas in the Smokies Bluegrass Festival [Mid December]
Lorraine Jordan and Carolina Road, award-winning and chart-topping bluegrass performers, make Pigeon Forge their home for the annual four-day Christmas event. Each year, they bring together a dozen or so other highly experienced performers for the festival, offering us multiple concerts of high-energy music throughout the days and evenings, with fantastic jams and a tidal wave of great music - the perfect party vibe for the time of year.
New Year's Eve in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge [December 31]
New Year's Eve celebrations in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge provide two fantastic venues for the much-anticipated excitement of free concerts, live and DJ music, specials in local restaurants and theaters, crowds of revelers, millions of seasonal lights, and massive fireworks to ring in the new year at midnight.