The holiday season is one of the most exciting times to visit the Smokies! As Winterfest Gatlinburg gets underway, you will find all kinds of festivities, special events, and Christmas shopping opportunities. To help you make the most of your vacation, Amazing Views Cabin Rentals has put together a list of five Winterfest events you don’t want to miss:
1. Winter Magic Kickoff & Chili Cookoff
If a piping hot bowl of chili is one of your favorite cold weather dishes, you’ll love sampling the area’s very best recipes at the annual Gatlinburg Chili Cookoff and Winter Magic Kickoff, which takes place on Wednesday, November 11 from 5 to 8 p.m. in downtown Gatlinburg. While you taste the mouthwatering chili, you can watch the Christmas lighting ceremony, in which more than 3 million LED bulbs will be lit around the city.
The city of Gatlinburg will also be observing Veteran’s Day earlier on the 11th, with a special celebration at Ripley’s Aquarium Plaza at 11 a.m.
(See Also: Top 3 Most Popular Things to Do in the Winter in Gatlinburg)
2. Gatlinburg Trolley Ride of Lights
The Trolley Ride of Lights is another annual Winterfest Gatlinburg tradition that brings people to town year after year. For only $5 per person, you can take a special trolley tour of Gatlinburg’s incredible Christmas displays. The city’s lights are arranged into fun and creative forms, such as familiar Smoky Mountain animals, snowmen, rocking horses, and sparkling fountains. Trolleys depart nightly from November 11 – January 31 at 6:30, 7:30, and 8:30 p.m. from Gatlinburg’s mass transit center at Traffic Light #5.
3. Festival of Trees
The beloved Festival of Trees will take place from November 25 – 29. Hundreds of ornately decorated Christmas trees will be on display at the W.L. Mills Conference Center. Guests will also enjoy live entertainment, a craft area, and photos with Santa Claus. Admission to the Festival of Trees is free, but donations will be collected for the Boys & Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains. The event begins on the evening of November 24 with the Candy Canes and Cocktails Reception.
4. Great Smoky Christmas Arts & Crafts Show
The Smoky Mountains have a long tradition of producing beautiful and unique works of art. Local artists of the Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community keep this tradition alive with their many shops and galleries. The Great Smoky Christmas Arts & Crafts Show gives you a chance to see a selection of their handmade items on display in one place. This is a popular event for Christmas shopping or just browsing and admiring the incredible variety of products. The holiday themed arts and crafts show will be held from November 30 – December 6 at the Gatlinburg Convention Center.
5. Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade
The Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade is one of the area’s premier holiday events. Each year, thousands of people gather to watch this incredible Christmas parade, featuring marching bands, colorfully lit floats, horses, and an appearance by Santa Claus himself. This mile-long parade will take place on Friday, December 4 at 7:30 p.m. You can watch the parade from the street or purchase bleacher seating tickets for $20.
These Winterfest Gatlinburg events help to make the Smokies extra special during the holidays. Amazing Views Cabin Rentals offers a wide selection of comfortable and convenient cabins in the Gatlinburg area for your winter vacation. Our cabins, which come in all sizes and styles, provide a wide range of amenities, including fireplaces, Jacuzzi tubs, game rooms, spectacular views, and so much more. To start planning your winter getaway, check out our complete selection of Gatlinburg cabin rentals!