Honda Goldwing Spring Fling

Roaring engines, whether from automobiles or motorcycles, have definitely carved out a place amongst the tourism industry in Sevier County. It’s a loud and fast growing group of motorcycle enthusiasts that all come together in April for the Tennessee Goldwing Road Riders Association Rally & Show. Honda Goldwing motorcycles riders bill get this spring get together as their “Spring Fling”, usually commencing at the Sevier County Fairgrounds.

In recent years it’s been put on in connection with the Wilderness at the Smokies Resort where attendees can attend seminars and discussion groups on the lifestyle, participate in parades, win prizes, and discuss all things Honda with other Gold Wing enthusiasts. Past years themes have included Davy Crockett Days at the fairgrounds.

Tennessee’s Gold Wing Road Riders Association is the largest single-marquee social organization for owners and riders of Gold Wing motorcycles and serves as hosts for the Spring Fling. Of course, the Honda Gold Wing is their common denominator and they each know everything there is to know about the open road cruiser, the lifestyle, everything. Seminars on everything from stress management to listening and communicating on the road are a large part of the weekend schedule. Vendors have booths and tables set up for the conference that everyone can peruse. Some of those products – bike gear, motorcycle-related clothing will be available for purchase throughout the weekend.

This past year, Goldwing Riders competed for the grand prize of a Bushtec Performance Sport Trailer, a $1,000 second place prize and two chapter prizes worth $250 each. Cash prizes were also awarded to talent show winners in the categories of comedy, serious, and the outside Tennessee combined category.

The weekend typically centers around the following events:

  • The Sevier County Fairgrounds hosts a   Campfire Stew that is billed as just some great country fun. Visitors can sit in their lawn chairs, listen to the music, and dance in the field. The fun of the Chapter Challenge commences as Gold Wing Chapters vie for the title of “King of the Frontier.” For the Chapter Challenge portion, make sure ‘dirty’ clothes and shoes are a part of your wardrobe. Chapters can have more than one five-member team and teams may be all male, all female, or co-ed.
  •  Each and every one who takes part will have their skills tested in a variety of ways. It’s always a fun, but messy event.
  • The annual Bike Light Show circles the fairgrounds/vendor area and gives everyone a chance to get decked out on their ride.
  • The Tennessee Couple of the Year 2011 selection. Each chapter nominates a man and woman for couple of the year, and you really don’t want to miss this opportunity. Each chapter is encouraged to come out and support their chapter Couple of the Year.
  • The Frontier Rodeo is one of the newer draws to the event. Complete with cowboys riding bulls, timed horse races, and rodeo clowns, this is one of the more popular gatherings, always packs the house and recently has been a free event for a number of attending Gold Wing riders.
  • Come in your riding best, as well as Sunday best for a number of Best Dressed competitions. Categories include Best Dressed-Parade, Best Dressed-Show, Best Dressed-Riding, and Best Dressed-Theme.

Of course, there are numerous bike shows scheduled throughout the weekend, and whether you’re planning on staying around the fairgrounds, or out as far as Gatlinburg, you’re bound to see some of your Honda Goldwing brethren cruising the Parkway. Talent shows are a big part of the weekend as well with various cash prizes being handed out at different competitions. The biggest of those competitions happen at the weekend finale. After a day filled with activities including field events, bike show (onsite at the fairgrounds), seminars galore, and more, the closing ceremonies will feature announcements for chapter awards, TN member of the year, Chapter educator of the year, as well as grand prizes.

Directions to the Sevier County Fairgrounds:

Traveling on Interstate 40 from Knoxville, Asheville, or the Tri-Cities, take Exit 407 towards Sevierville (the Great Smoky Mountains National Park) approximately 8 miles. Take a right over the river onto the bridge leading to the Wilderness Resort at the Smokies. Take a left at the 1st light over bridge. The Sevier County Fairgrounds is approximately 2 miles on your left.

Townsend Spring Festival & Old Timer’s Day

If you looking for a time or reason to come to Townsend, TN, every spring the town holds its annual Townsend Spring Festival and Old Timer’s Day. And if you’re looking for a literal melting pot of bluegrass, clogging, arts, crafts, BBQ, storytelling, and woodcarving, then you’ve come to the right place. All come together in a cornucopia of events and festivities at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Whether it’s a wildflower walk on Chestnut Top Trail, a book signing, or gardening tips and plant sales by the Trillium Cove Home and Garden, Townsend’s Old Timer’s day has something for everyone.

A typical festival day looks a little something like this:

10:00am: Hedgewood Gardens Tour

11:00am: Clogging Demonstration and Instruction

1:30-3:30pm: Wildflower Walk on Chestnut Top Trail

2:00pm: Hedgewood Gardens Tour

6:30pm: Knoxville Pipes and Drums Concert and Parade: Highland music in celebration of Scottish heritage.

7:30pm Concert: Special entertainment by “Six Mile Express” at the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center.

On top of those typical, every day festival goings-on, visitors can hear bluegrass music on the festival stage till way past sun down. Guests can even bring their own instruments to the pickin’ porch. Arts and crafts are being made and sold throughout the day and BBQ pork and chicken, ice cream, deli sandwiches, hot dogs, kettle corn, and other good food are always being prepared…. Just be sure to stick around for the cake raffle and bake sale if you know what’s good for you.

A few of the Townsend Days artisans that have given demonstrations in years past include:
– Karen Kenst and Bonny Kate Sugg – basketry
– Lendel Abbott – woodcarving
– Maetta Conrad and Marcella Emrick – quilting
– Carol McBride – rug hooking
– Dale Liles – spinning on the great wheel

Stop by and make your own memories with an old fashioned portrait photo on the grounds near the annual family art fair. Art activities are led each year by the Townsend Artisan Guild.

One of the more unique aspects of the festival might just be the early-Appalachian demonstrations given around the Townsend Days grounds. Things like mountain berry basket making, bee keeping, cornmeal making, and oak shingle-making are just some of the well-attended demonstrations in years past. The festival’s oh-so-popular moonshine still and history of moonshine in the Great Smoky Mountains with Bill Leistner always draws a crowd. A festival favorite, Leistner actually demonstrates how to drink from a moonshine jug.

For those who just love bluegrass, there wouldn’t be a Heritage Festival & Old Timer’s Day without a heaping helping of local bluegrass. From clogging to cake raffles, to actual bluegrass performances by the likes of Deep River, Notchey Creek, Appalachian Bluegrass, Mike Clemmer, and Steve Jordan, the festival stage is always brimming with bluegrass tunes. Banjos, dobro guitars, harmonicas, and whatever else those early Appalachians strung together to make mountain music are strummed and played throughout the day. If anything, just come listen to some great Appalachian bluegrass.

One other highlight of the weekend is the Young Pickers Talent Contest held at the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center. This is open to all striving, young bluegrass musicians who are interested in performing before a crowd. Bring your own tune, or sing one of the classics. Either way you can’t go wrong and everyone here loves those young performers.

The Townsend Heritage & Old Timer’s Days festival occurs every spring and fall at the Townsend Visitors Center. It’s a celebration of the traditional bluegrass and mountain music, crafts, and heritage of Townsend, East Tennessee, and the Great Smoky Mountains.

On Cosby

Cosby, TN celebrates all that it is and has become every year each spring and fall called:  On Cosby.  And if you like local Smoky Mountain crafts, this is as good of a festival as the area offers.  Crafters of all kinds selling their wares – from homespun crafts to local authors, you can easily lose track of the day going from booth to booth browsing through all the local goods.

On Cosby isn’t just for crafters, everyone from local politicians to nonprofit groups set up booths here. You definitely don’t want to miss the various culinary offerings at the On Cosby festival. Besides being a great local festival, On Cosby is held at the base of the Great Smoky Mountains.

On Cosby

Let me reiterate that the craft show is the major draw to the On Cosby festival.  Featuring over 50 vendors each year, it’s an eclectic festival that incorporates both traditional mountain crafts and a number of items that would surprise you, and that are new to most.  Crafters will still be heavy on popular sellers – lots of quilts, bears and log cabin home décor that are always sought out locally.  You’ll also find Southern favorites such as the hillbilly wine glasses and paintings on old barn boards.  The crafts-people at On Cosby are especially talented and it shows in their work.  Things that you might discard become a work of art to some and an item that you may have not even thought twice about; it really is a “someone’s junk is another’s treasure” scenario.  This past year, there was even a local author promoting and selling autographed copies of her book, the topic of which centers around the Smokies.

Being that it’s a small town festival, everybody who’s anybody locally is bound to show up.  On Cosby’s back row of booths is a local politician’s dream that is only equaled by the number of nonprofit groups promoting their upcoming charities and trying to get people involved. Girls Scouts selling brownies and cupcakes is always a crowd pleaser, and why wouldn’t it be.  Beside the girl scouts is a church youth group raising money for a trip, followed by people working for the Appalachian Bear Rescue. And while people continue to speak about the issues, gain signatures, and recruit volunteers, people are eating and the entertainment goes on.

On CosbyYou’ll find the main stage at the festival’s center, literally.  Over the next three days, there will be more bluegrass played on this stage than you can shake a stick at.  Gospel is big as well and always draws a big crowd to root on their favorite local group or singer.

Make sure to visit the moonshine exhibit as well and take a trip back to Cosby’s past.  The festival’s presentation shows how Cosby became the moonshine capital of the Smokies.

Various food tents and booths align the front of the festival and rightly so as most are overcome by all the sensual smells upon entrance.  Numerous foods to eat by hand as well as full meals make up theses tents, many with smoky wafting above.  Soon, the smell of BBQ over takes your lungs followed by a buttery fragrance that signals the popping of popcorn, cotton candy not far off either. The breeze brings the sound of children lining up for delicious ice cream, despite the apparent coolness of the fall air.  On Cosby is definitely a local festival not to be missed.  Bring your appetite; a chair to relax in, feel free to dance and listen to the music; and bring the kids along for a weekend you’re sure not to forget.

Bloomin’ BBQ & Bluegrass Festival

When you think of local spring/summer festivals, the images of mouth-watering food and great music seem to always be prevalent. Nowhere is that more the case than in Sevierville, Tennessee every May when the town closes its downtown streets for two days in anticipation of the oh-so-yummy Bloomin’ BBQ & Bluegrass festival.

Bloomin' BBQ & Bluegress FestivalIts racks upon racks of pork, brisket, and chicken drenched in some of the nation’s premiere barbeque sauces. Bloomin’ BBQ & Bluegrass attracts some of the greatest grillers from around the country to downtown Sevierville, as well as a number of other vendors who follow the barbeque circuit. Take a break between pork sandwiches and watch the mascot parade and dance competition on Friday evening. Kids get their chance to grill as well in the annual Knoxville TVA Employees Credit Union Kids’ Que… It’s a new generation of rib racks and sauce!

You’ll also find a variety of new food vendors, funnel cakes, and various deserts for sale to go along with your barbeque, and plenty of great new entertainment on the festival stages. In years past, crowds have listened to the musical stylings of bands from Blue Moon Rising and Jimbo Whaley & Greenbrier to the legendary Sam Bush, and it’s all been absolutely FREE.

On the business end of the grill, barbeque masters such as the Carolina BBQ Company, Carolina Rib King, and Smoky Mountain Smokers – last year’s grand champion, have competed yearly for Bloomin’s top prize. You’ll also come across local establishments like Evelyn’s Ice Cream, The Diner and Tony’s Kettle Korn cooking what they’re best known for – exceptionally great food. In all, these are just a few of the vendors that will be on hand offering some of their best recipes over the weekend.

There will be plenty of hands-on Que’ing going on at the festival’s annual BBQ Boot Camp. This usually occurs in the days leading up to the Bloomin’ Barbeque Festival. Visitors can come and talk barbeque secrets, and pick up a few tips and tricks for backyard BBQing, advanced BBQ smoking and even learn some new summertime dessert recipes! BBQ Boot Camp classes are taught at the Rel Maples Institute for Culinary Arts at Walters State Community College in Sevierville, TN. This new facility offers state-of-the-art kitchen facilities rivaling major cooking schools nationwide

Bloomin’ Barbeque & Bluegrass is a family-oriented festival that celebrates the beauty of the Smoky Mountains, great barbeque and lively bluegrass music. Bloomin’ Barbeque & Bluegrass is a part of Sevierville’s Smoky Mountain Springfest. Bloomin’s Barbeque cook-off is an official barbeque championship of the state of Tennessee and is coordinated by the Sevierville Chamber of Commerce.

Smoky Mountain Highland Games

Local Scots converge on Maryville, TN every year to hoist and toss such things as logs, stones, and even haggis, during the annual Scottish Festival and Games at Maryville College.

Smoky Mountain Highland GamesThe event has transformed over the years from a small local event in Gatlinburg to a sprawling festival on the campus of Maryville College in Maryville, TN. All Scots are invited for the opening night Scottish whiskey tasting on campus before participating in a weekend of Scottish music, athletic events, and Pipe Band performances.

On Saturday and Sunday beginning at 8:30 a.m., the Scottish Games will feature professional and amateur athletes competing in many different events including tossing the Scottish haggis, turning the caber, Highland wrestling and the manhood stones. Kids can event participate too during the scaled down kids games where they’re challenged to toss a smaller version of the caber, as well as haggis.

The Scottish dog parade and talent show usually follows a worship service and a massed bands/parade of tartans presentation on Sunday, which is open to anyone who purchases a ticket and brings their dog on a leash. Meanwhile, dancing, athletics, children’s activities, and various talks are going on throughout the day.

Bands like Cutthroat Shamrock, Colin Grant-Adams, and Thistledown Tinkers have provided entertainment over the years as well.

Each of the pipe and drum bands compete in individual and band events for prize money during the festival. Highland dancers from across the country compete as well. Each year more and more Scottish Clans are represented at the festival to assist guests in finding their Scottish heritage. Scots can find everything they need here with vendors offering such things as Scottish clothing to a sampling of Scottish foods.

For more information or the schedule of events for this year’s Smoky Mountain Scottish Festival and Games, call 865-368-2543.

Secret City Festival

scf1Each year, Oak Ridge, TN puts on a festival to celebrate the people, culture and history of the city that was a secret until after the second World War. This festival, which used to be known as Mayfest, brings community organizations, crafters, entertainment and all of the people of Oak Ridge together in a mass celebration that takes place downtown.  This is one of the highlights of the Oak Ridge events calendar each year and it brings thousands of people to AK Bissell Park each year.

In 1982, Oak Ridge started a festival in the late spring called the Azalea Festival.  This festival wa sa one day craft show that evolved over time into a two day event called Mayfest.  In 2003, Mayfest got a name change and a face lift.  Mayfest became The Secret City Festival.  The celebration moved to the first Friday and Saturday in June and become a much bigger celebration of Oak Ridge’s people and history.

scf3In 2012, the Secret City Festival presented the following events:

  • The Cuban Missile Crisis: When the Cold War Got Hot – Exhibit
  • General Leslie R Groves and the Manhattan Project – Exhibit
  • Tour f the ORNL Graphite Reactor
  • Tour of K-25 Site
  • Art & Craft Show
  • Juried Art Show
  • Craft Demonstrations
  • WWII Living History
  • Oak Ridge 70 Years of History
  • Children’s Games
  • Toddler’s Games
  • Youth Games
  • Historic Rugby Play
  • DOE Facilities Public Bus Tour
  • Secret City Scenic Excursion Train
  • Tennis Tournament
  • Concerts

scf2Each year, one of the highlights of the festival is the WWII Reenactment.  With your family gathered around, you get to watch reencators, in fall military gear display the tactics and part of what an actual battle might have looked like during World War II.  From infantry troops to armored personnel carries and light tanks, the display the put on brings this time in history to life.  For the history or military buff in your life, this is a once in a life time event.

If you happen to be on the Tennessee side of the Smokies the first weekend of June, plan to visit Oak Ridge.  Stop by and enjoy the craft show, the concerts, the people and of course an amazing WWII reenactment.  Let the kids enjoy the sunshine, browse the booths, find a nice shady tree and watch the crowds roll by and of course, find a place to sit and watch the battle begin.  Learn more about the people and the places around Oak Ridge at the Secret City Festival.

Secret City Festival
P O Box 1
Oak Ridge, TN 37830

Dandridge Scots-Irish Festival

sidandridge1The Scots-Irish Music Festival in Dandridge is a yearly event that celebrates the Celtic heritage of the people that founded this area of Tennessee.  Bringing lots of music and entertainment to the mountain town of Dandridge, TN, this festival is a celebration of all things Celtic.  This is a free event mixes music, art, craft, history and a lot of fun into an all day festival of fun for the whole family.

Primarily, the Dandridge Scots-Irish festival is a celebration of the people and culture of the people that founded the towns in the mountains of the Southern Appalachians.  The Scottish and Irish peopl that immigrated to the area and settled in the mountains found a land that was very similar to the land they left, especially for the people that lived in the highlands of Scotland, the Dandridge area looked like home.  These people brought with them a history and culture that still influences the area to this day.  At the Scots-Irish Festival, the history of the Celtic people comes to life.  Scottish clans from around the area come and setup booths to help people learn more about their heritage and the places they came from.

sidandridge2And then there is the music.  Live entertainment is scheduled for the entire weekend.  From pipe and drum bands to bands specializing in Celtic rock and roll, there is something for everybody and a stage to entertain both the young and the old.  Along with the musical acts, the Scots-Irish Festival also brings in dancing.  Some of the best Highland dancers from around the region come to strut their stuff on various stages around the festival.   Here is a brief list of just some of the entertainers that were in attendance at the 2012 event in September:

  • Champion Highland ancer Claire MacMillan
  • Champion Irish Dancer Katie Carver
  • The Celtic Martins
  • Knoxville Pipes & Drums
  • Nashville Pipes and Drums
  • The O’Kennessee Strings
  • Thistletown Tinkers

Add to all of this action a craft and art show and you have a Saturday of fun in beautiful downtown Dandridge.  Great music, plenty of entertainment and all kinds of dancing a history abound at the Scots-Irish Festival.  Make sure that you plan to be there for the whole event and while they have not announced the date for next year yet, you can check their website and they will have that date up soon.  Stay in beautiful Dandridge, TN or maybe in one of the adjoining cities and have a great time will you enjoy the Scots-Irish Festival.

Festival of Nations

Dollywood's Festival of NationsFor all the spectacular rides and water adventures offered by Dollywood every year, it’s the theme park’s shows that draw just as many crowds to them as any coaster or slide. If you’re from the area, you know that Dollywood’s Festival of Nations draw some of the biggest.

Dollywood’s Festival of Nations in Pigeon Forge, TN is a great way to discover Dollywood if this is your first time at the park, as well as a great event for those who have been a time or two. Festival of Nations has been an end of March through the beginning of May event in years past featuring international performers highlighting their cultures through dance, song, and culinary delights. It’s one of Dollywood’s most captivating events showcasing a world of entertainment, plus art, dancing, music and food, that’s most won’t see in person over an entire lifetime.

In 2011, Le Grand Cirque and the show Imaginé was back for another run on the Festival of Nations stage. But this is no Americanized “Circus”. This is a mouth-dropping performance weaving the flavor of numerous cultures into one spell binding show. These performances combine aerial acrobats, gymnasts, clowns, jugglers, and high wire artists in fantastic costumes. It’s a dazzling display of amazing feats set to great music. Really a can’t miss for the Festival of Nations.

Dollywood's Festival of NationsOther shows that have wowed the crowds at the Dollywood spectacular include Keona, an act unlike any other from Switzerland.  They perform using an instrument called the hang drum, which produces fascinating rhythms on many different drums. The Equadorian group Atahualpa captures the crowd with traditional South American song and dance. Native instruments as well as modern keyboards and guitars are just a part of their show, resulting in a melting pot of cultures and sounds. Calpulli Danza Mexicana has also put on a lively performance in years past featuring the Mexican variations of music and dance. Ceremonial dances and rich costumes from Mexico play a large part in Calpulli Danza Mexicana’s number.

DRUM!, a Nova Scotian group featuring 20 musicians, puts on quite the musical spectacle with dancers, drummers, and singers performing songs from four principle cultures – Aboriginal, Black, Celtic and Acadian. This 45-minute stage show is an upbeat combination of music, dance, poetry, video, rhythm and song, and is known the world over for its melding of different cultures into one spectacular performance.

Dollywood's Festival of NationsAnother group found to have combined together different cultures, Zambian Vocal Group brought numerous tribes together for their performance last year. Their united performance in a capella – no instruments, brought the crowd to its feet following a show of traditional hymns as well as original pieces to the backdrop of African rhythms, unique vocal percussion, and complex harmonies.

Whatever time of year, it’s always a great time to be at Dollywood, and even more so during the Festival of Nations. For the month of April into early May, you get all the normal attractions, plus everything encompassing the Festival of Nations. For more Festival of Nations information, check out Dollywood’s Festival of Nations web page. You’ll also find anything you need if you’re visiting Dollywood for the first time.

Driving Directions to Dollywood:

  • From Interstate 40, take Exit 407 toward Sevierville/Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg.
  • Follow TN Hwy. 66 South which becomes US 441.
  • At Traffic Light No. 8 in Pigeon Forge, turn left. Dollywood signs are posted along the road till you reach the park.

Using a GPS Navigation System:

Use the address 1198 McCarter Hollow Road, Pigeon Forge, TN 37862 to take you to  Dollywood’s entrance.

Pigeon Forge Rod Runs

With tourism being the business of the Smoky Mountains region, you could make a case for classic cars being the area’s hobby. Each year during the spring and fall, Pigeon Forge and the neighboring towns of Gatlinburg and Sevierville welcome thousands of car enthusiasts in for the Grand Spring and Fall Rod Runs. Since its inception, it’s become a gathering of metal and chrome not seen since Detroit’s hey-day during the early part of the 20th century.

On one street corner you’ve got shiny, chromed-up, vintage models like the classic ’56 & ’57 Chevys, while right down the road you might see someone trying to sell their unique fixer-upper that just needs a few of those oh so hard-to-find parts. Whether you’re there to fawn over that ride from your childhood, or finally lay down the green on that supped up ’70 GTO, there will be cars to drool over and cars to purchase. This is one of the largest gearhead gathering in the southeast, and it only happens twice a year. With so much metal and chrome, as well as brand name vendors from across the country in attendance, this is the car show to end all cars shows.

Traffic light No. 3 in Pigeon Forge is where the party starts. The endless line of cars runs almost all the way down the Parkway, while other cars are parked in every available parking space facing the road. To get you warmed up for the infusion of metal brought about by the Grand Fall Rod Run, the Shades of the Past car show gets the area started with its own chromed out festival the weekend prior.

Here, its cars as far as the eye can see. The thing to do is just park your car and walk either side of the Parkway. Cars of every make, model, and finish, especially cherry, vintage, American steel: a ’70 Chevelle Super Sport parked next to an Austin Healy; a ’68 Impala parked next to a ’38 Studebaker Bus. It’s an outdoor museum spread out along the Parkway.

Most of the car owners will be sitting near their rides – that’s one of the great things about the Rod Run, there’s no lack of car knowledge here. Everyone loves talking cars, especially if it’s their own. The owners will tell you everything from where they got it, any upgrades, and plenty of good stories. I’m sure you remember you’re first car, where you were, who you were with. And if they’ve not already been there a week, owners and their cars will start rolling in on Tuesday and Wednesday. By Friday the Parkway is literally roaring.

The spring and fall Grand Rod Runs bring in auto vendors from all over the country. Whether it’s just a vendor booth, a sponsor booth, or a demonstration, if you’re looking for stuff for your classic or muscle car this is the place. If you’re more into the mechanics of the automobile, you’ll see people representing Camaro Central to ET Motorgear, and Hunter’s Custom Automotive to Ausley’s Chevelle. These guys know how to keep a car running and have spent years doing it. They also know a thing or two about restoration. Ask them whatever you want; it’s why they’re there. Just be sure to head back over to the Parkway that night.

Each night, the constant parade of cars is palpable as owners fire up their engines and cruise the strip. Those same cars you admired that afternoon will be rumbling up and down the streets of Pigeon Forge to see whose is the loudest. It’s a mixture of steel, chrome and glass reflecting through the night. For some it’s a journey back in time. Each year, Pigeon Forge’s Grand Rod Runs let you relive it time and again.

Past Grand Rod Run Info:

• Participants:
30 Days Before Event = $30
Within 30 Days of Event = $40

• Vendors:
Outside Space (9×16) = $135
Inside Space (10×10) = $155
Sales Corral = $75

For more information about any of the Grand Rod Runs, contact:

MCS Promotions
Monday-Friday 8am – 4pm EST

Pigeon Forge Winterfest

There is no shortage of fall events in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee this year and it starts with the town’s seasonal extravaganza – Pigeon Forge’s Winterfest. It’s a four month celebration of winter with such events as the Trolley Tour of Lights, Wilderness Wildlife Week, and Saddle Up.

The kickoff event itself is one to behold with the lighting of 5 million Christmas lights following a salute to veterans with a Veterans Parade throughout town. It’s not only a celebration of our heritage past and present, it’s a combination of the things that Southern Appalachians hold so dear. Look no further than Pigeon Forge’s Winterfest for what to do in the Smokies as fall turns into winter!

Winterfest in Pigeon ForgeThis incredible event has garnered numerous honors over the years from various publications and news outlets around the United States with some even proclaiming it a top event nationwide. But you don’t have to read a book or tune in for the national news to see why this is such an incredible event. Pack up your things, drive on down to Pigeon Forge, TN for the weekend, week, or even month, and enjoy everything our little town has to offer this time of year! You’ll see why Pigeon Forge’s Winterfest is the perfect time to book a Smoky Mountain vacation for the holidays.

Holiday lighting displays illuminate Pigeon Forge from one end of town to the other during these few months. We’re talking around 5 million LED lights! This lighting creation was sparked out of an idea in the mid-80′s when two city officials visited a Virginia town that featured holiday light displays that drew in thousands of visitors during the holiday season. Thus, the Winterfest idea grew and was implemented. The goal being that every year the town adds even more lights to the display. Next stop, 6 million lights!

Each year, the lighting displays get bigger, more detailed, and more breath taking. The town has even developed trolley tours in recent years so that people do not have to worry running into the car in front of them and can take in everything. It’s simply an experience you can’t find in most towns, at least around these parts.

As previously mentioned, outside the enormous lighting display, there are also numerous events and festivities taking place in Pigeon Forge throughout the winter. Winterfest officially kicks off this year on November 8 with a salute to Veterans held at Patriot Park. Other events that stretch throughout the winter include Wilderness Wildlife Week, Saddle Up, Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas, Pigeon Forge New Year’s Eve Celebrations, and a number of new yearly events.