Gatlinburg Winterfest Magic Kickoff and Chili Cookoff

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The Gatlinburg Winter Magic Kickoff and Chili Cookoff for 2017 will be held on November 8th, starting at 5:00PM and going on until 8:00PM.

From Gatlinburg.com:

Offering mouth-watering recipes of homemade chili ranging from mild and delightful to wild and adventurous, the City of Gatlinburg hosts its annual Winter Magic Kickoff and Chili Cookoff on Wednesday, Nov. 8 from 5 to 8 p.m. in downtown.

City dignitaries will signify the start of Gatlinburg Winter Magic with a ceremonial lighting of more than 3 million lights throughout the city.”

Participants in the Chili Cookoff will be competing for the coveted People’s Choice Award, Best Booth Presentation. While the street event is free, tickets for chili sampling are $10. There is also a special edition t-shirt available for purchase.

See pictures of Chili cookoffs from yesteryears at https://www.gatlinburg.com/event/winter-magic-kickoff-chili-cookoff/.

The 28th Annual Pigeon Forge Winterfest Kickoff

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Pigeon Forge’s celebration of Winter and the holidays runs now nearly three decades, and the 28th celebration of this annual tradition begins on November 7th at Patriot Park around 5:00PM (times of events may change).

MyPigeonForge.com writes:

“Draped in more than 5 million lights, Pigeon Forge creates a winter wonderland for locals and guests alike to enjoy during the city’s annual Winterfest celebration. The lights of Winterfest shine from early November through the end of February.

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 Winterfest Celebration.

Visit Dollywood to see more than 4 million lights shine during Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas, when the park is filled with holiday music, plenty of rides, a nightly Parade of Lights and much more to celebrate the season. Dollywood recently announced the addition of Dolly’s Parade of Many Colors, featuring new floats, specialty characters and songs. The park also adds a new show to its entertainment lineup with the stage production It’s a Wonderful Life.

Old Mill Square features a light display depicting its own version of a covered bridge, one made of thousands of twinkling lights that lead to one of the most historic areas of Pigeon Forge. The Smoky MountainOpry is decked out for the holiday season with giant trees, wreaths and more, all covered with sparkling lights. You might even catch Old Saint Nick making a rooftop delivery.

Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede pulls out all the stops when it comes to decorating for the holidays. One of the highlights 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 all new decorations including approximately 40,000 ornaments, half a million lights and more than 5,000 feet of garland. Guests are treated to three new Christmas trees, including one that stands 40 feet tall and allows guests to walk through. Santa and Mrs. Claus greet guests at their new workshop while roving carolers fill the air with Christmas music.

And the best way to take in the beauty and splendor of all the light displays throughout Pigeon Forge is on the Winterfest Driving Tour of Lights, which begins at the north end of the Parkway.

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.”

See more on Winterfest events in Pigeon Forge at www.mypigeonforge.com.

Family Restaurants For Holiday Visitors

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There are over a hundred restaurants within 20 minutes of almost anywhere you stay in the Smokies (unless your cabin happens to be particularly secluded) and since you came to the Smokies for the Winterfest season to look at this article, we can reasonably deduce you wanted to look for restaurants that could cater to a large group.

Here is what we can recommend taking your family to for a wonderful holiday dinner:

Alamo Steakhouse
The premiere steakhouse in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, Alamo specializes in EVERYTHING you came to the South to enjoy – Texas-sized steaks, ribs, chicken, burgers and even some seafood items to keep things interesting! See their full menu at www.alamosteakhouse.com.

The Peddler Steakhouse
How would you like a proper fancy dinner at one of Gatlinburg’s oldest restaurants where a fat, succulent steak, cooked over hickory charcoal is waiting for you next to some mountain trout or prime rib, New York cheesecake or hot blackberry cobbler. This is one of many amazing food combinations you’ll find at The Peddler Steakhouse. Wine Menu also available. www.peddlergatlinburg.com

Pancake Pantry
When you drive down the main street and, at any given day during the morning, you see a line from the outside of the door extending around to the inside of the Village just to get in and EAT, you know you’re looking at the best pancake restaurant in the city! Chocolate chip pancakes, sweet potato pancakes, cherry waffles, pecan waffles, western omelettes, breakfast cereals with banana slices and much more! www.pancakepantry.com

Mama’s Farmhouse
Mama’s is a Southern-style restaurant with a twist and a mission – to recreate the Sunday Dinner experience that was intrinsic to the South in the old days. A comfortable family atmosphere welcomes you in and invites you and all yours to a table where you are fed rounds of fried chicken, country fried steak, mashed potatoes, soup or salad, biscuits, corn bread and much more, until you’re good and full! See their full menu at www.mamasfarmhouse.com.

The Best Italian
Not just a boastful name, “The Best Italian” proves itself to many a visitor with starting rounds of their famous “garlic knots” and continues on with some of the best homemade pizza you’ll find in the city, or Filet Tips Linguini, Chicken Linguini with White Sauce, Tenderloin Tips Marsala and more amazing Italian dishes that earned them the name on this listing. www.bestitalian.com

Mellow Mushroom
A fan-favorite and a burst of color for the restaurant scene in the Smokies, Mellow Mushroom is a pizza restaurant offering pies with illustrious names like “Funky Q Chicken” “Magical Mystery Tour”, “Kosmic Karma”, “Mega Veggie”, “Mellowterranean” and more. Located on the parkways of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. http://mellowmushroom.com/store/pigeonforge

Kinkaku Japanese Steakhouse
Pigeon Forge has an awesome Japanese hibachi restaurant almost center of downtown with Kinkaku. An extremely talented chef will come and cook your dinner in front of you – your choice of chicken teriyaki, steak, shrimp, scallop, filet mignon, tuna, lobster and much more! www.pigeonforgejapanese.com

Three Jimmys
Drive by Three Jimmys on Glades Road next to Family Dollar on Highway 321 (Gatlinburg) and you’re sure to see a mostly full parking lot at any given night of the week. That’s how good this restaurant and bar has been in just under a year of service! Serves lunch and dinner, offers live music, entertainment, covered outdoor patio, catering services, banquet room rental, and the best beer for miles around! www.threejimmys.com

Cheddars
Might be a bit presumptuous to call Cheddars in downtown Pigeon Forge the biggest restaurant hit there in the past 5 years, but seeing how many visitors they pull in everyday and how awesome their dishes are, the truth wouldn’t be an inch off! The service, atmosphere, prices and most definitely the food are worth the hype at Cheddars, and you shouldn’t leave town without trying their Lemon Pepper Chicken, Hickory Smoked Baby Back Ribs, Baked Spasagna, Grilled Salmon or their Chicken and Waffles. www.cheddars.com

Carriage House Restaurant
A quality restaurant of a slightly fancier variety, Carriage House is a perfect consideration for dates, casual dining, family dining, family reunion dining, and just about any reason you would need to go out for food. Serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and all the traditional Southern and casual favorites you’re looking for – ribeye steak sandwich, grouper fish sandwich, country ham steak, grilled pork chops, spaghetti, chicken buckets and much more! http://dininginthesmokies.com/_townsen/aacarria.htm

Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen
A highly hyped up restaurant that lives up to it can be found at The Island in Pigeon Forge. Paula Deen personally opened this restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu includes chicken and waffles, creamy hashbrown casserole, beef pot roast, Georgia fried catfish, ooey gooey butter cake, “Best Ever” Southern Fried Chicken and much more. You’ll see why this restaurant is a big deal when you stop in. www.pauladeensfamilykitchen.com.

Harpoon Harry’s Crab House
Probably the biggest seafood restaurant in Pigeon Forge, Harpoon Harry’s Crab House is a great place for dinner with the guys, dinner with the gals, and other kinds of associated congregations. Serves dishes like Shrimp Cavatappi Pasta, Pan Seared Sea Scallops, Rainbow Trout with Pecans, Shrimp Pot Pie, Snow Crab, and non-seafood entrees like Filet Mignon, Applewood Smoked Porn Loin, Ribeye and more you can see at www.harpoonharryscrabhouse.com.

Friendly Falls
Undoubtedly the most unique restaurant in Wears Valley, this roadside stop has more than meets the eye, and with a focused, delicious selection of sandwiches, wings, refreshments and other tasty treats served on a deck overlooking the waterfalls. Also features a gift shop with locally made crafts, activities for the kids and more. www.friendlyfalls.com

Best Places To Propose During The Holidays

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If you’re reading this article, you plan on proposing to your guy or gal during the holiday season while on vacation in the Smoky Mountains. You chose a great time and area to do it at, but where, more specifically, would you like to actually pop the question?

In this article, we’ll take a look at some reasonably convenient places full of romantic holiday atmosphere that could be perfect for pulling the ring out and presenting the very genesis of your new life together.

1. The Village in Gatlinburg
A more quaint English-like setting you won’t find for miles and miles here in the Smoky Mountains. Although a decent amount of traffic goes through here, you’ll see why with the exquisite and glassy decorations, brick walkways, fountains (yes, more than one) and fine shopping make it feel like you’re in a Yorkshire-ish hamlet in 1942. Located in downtown Gatlinburg. www.thevillageshops.com

2. Dollywood
Though you might want to steer away from high-powered rides while carrying it in your pocket, Dollywood makes another excellent place where Appalachian ambience and holiday cheer come together nicely. Despite the influx of people, there are quiet, nice spots throughout the park where you can take him or her aside and get them ready for their big Christmas surprise. And then you have the whole rest of the park to enjoy! www.dollywood.com

3. Ober Gatlinburg
Gatlinburg’s mountaintop amusement park provides endless views of the white-tipped mountains and, thusly, lots of memorable backdrops where you can present him or her a ring and really make feel at the top of the world while they’re at the top of the world. www.obergatlinburg.com

4. The Incredible Christmas Place
Like The Village in Gatlinburg except this one is in Pigeon Forge and specifically built for the Christmas season, the Christmas Village on the parkway in Pigeon Forge is another pleasing, holiday-centric place where couples find the right time and place to ask if their partner would like to become joint under God. www.christmasplace.com

5. Greenbrier Restaurant
Of course, you can always surprise him or her right in the middle of a romantic dinner and there’s fewer places more romantic than Greenbrier Restaurant just off of Highway 321. This restaurant is VERY secluded, even as far as other secluded spots go so maybe convenience is low, but the quality of the food, atmosphere and mountain views of the Smokies in the back more than make up for it. www.greenbrierrestaurant.com

Need some additional romance elements to complete a romantic getaway in the Smokies? See our other article for things you can do to spice or sweeten up your weekend trip to Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and Sevier County.

Alcatraz East Museum in Pigeon Forge

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Pigeon Forge is getting a new museum attraction in central downtown that isn’t quite like anything else around – The Alcatraz East Crime Museum.

We have many museums in our area and some of them go into the chilling and yet morbidly intriguing history of crime throughout history – the Guinness World of Records, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum and some others, but none feature as much content with as much focus on the weird, wild mythos of jail life and jail lifers that Alcatrez East does. The museum is located prominently on the parkway in Pigeon Forge in front of The Island and next to the Comedy Barn – trust us, you won’t be able to miss it!

Exhibits and amenities include:
* 25,000 square feet of floor space over 2 floors.
* 100 interactive exhibits.
* “A Notorious History of American Crime”.
* “Punishment: The Consequence of Crime”.
* “Crime Fighting.”
* “Crime Scene Investigation.”
* “Counterfeit Crimes & Pop Culture”.
* “The OJ Simpson White Bronco”.
* “Ted Bundy’s VW Beetle”.
* “Junior Detectives” fun exhibits for kids.
* Accommodations for groups.
* Special needs assistance available.

This museum opens on December 16th, 2016. You can see more on Alcatraz East at https://www.alcatrazeast.com.

Deer Ridge Winterfest Specials For 2017

http://deerridge.com/specials/.

Winter Special

Book now and stay between January 4th and February 28th!

Stay any 2 or more nights, in any size condo or cabin and receive 30% OFF your stay.

Best Views of the Smokies!

 

Thanksgiving Events in the Smoky Mountains For 2016

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Smoky Mountain Winterfest begins right after the end of Harvest Festival in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee. This is technically the longest seasonal celebration we have in our region going from roughly the second week of November until the end of February. We celebrate it in three parts – Thanksgiving, Christmas and the post-Holidays Winterfest.

In this article, we’ll focus on the upcoming events for the Thanksgiving portion of Winterfest.

wedding221042008-12-15_0001DSC_0010j* Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland
November 4th – January 1st
http://shadrackchristmas.com/sevierville/

* Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas
November 5th – December 31st
http://www.dollywood.com

wedding221042008-12-03_0001DSC_0174* Sevierville’s Winterfest Kickoff
November 7th
http://visitsevierville.com/

* 27th Annual Winterfest Kick-off
November 8th
http://www.mypigeonforge.com/events/winterfest/

wedding221042008-12-03_0001DSC_0172* Winter Magic Kickoff and Chili Cookoff
November 9th
http://www.gatlinburg.com/events/details.aspx?id=11

* Veterans Day Celebration
November 11th
http://www.gatlinburg.com/events/details.aspx?id=14

* Old Mill Square Holiday Open House
wedding221042008-12-15_0001DSC_0017November 12th
http://www.old-mill.com/

* Festival of Trees
November 22nd – 27th
http://www.gatlinburg.com/events/details.aspx?id=120

* Great Smoky Thanksgiving Arts and Crafts Show
November 22nd – 27th
wedding221042008-11-08_0001DSC_4997http://www.gatlinburg.com/events/details.aspx?id=15

* Fireworks on Thanksgiving at the Titanic
November 24th
http://www.mypigeonforge.com/events/fireworks-on-thanksgiving-at-the-titanic/

* Tree Lighting at The Island
November 26th
http://www.mypigeonforge.com/events/tree-lighting-at-the-island/

And in our next article, we’ll show off some of the events we have going on that will get you in the Christmas spirit!

See more events at:
www.mypigeonforge.com
www.gatlinburg.com
www.visitsevierville.com

Christmas Events in the Smokies For 2016

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Christmas, naturally, is the crown jewel and centerpiece for the Smoky Mountain Winterfest season. A few of the special events going on from November continue on in December to help build the Christmas season spirit during your visit to the Smokies.

Many attractions and areas in and between Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville will be decorated for the holiday. Many theaters in town will be showcasing Christmas shows while other places like Dollywood and The Village in Gatlinburg will be wildly redecorated with lights, sights and other elements that drive the Christmas spirit home.

Let’s look at what December has:

wedding221042008-12-03_0001DSC_0172* Great Smoky Christmas Arts and Crafts Show
November 28th – December 4th
http://www.gatlinburg.com/events/details.aspx?id=15

* Shadracks Christmas
Continues To January 1st
http://shadrackchristmas.com/sevierville/

* Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas
wedding221042008-12-03_0001DSC_0175Continues to December 31st
http://www.dollywood.com

* Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade
December 2nd
http://www.gatlinburg.com

* Winter Magic Tunes and Tales
December 2nd-3rd
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* Sevierville 54th Annual Christmas Parade
December 3rd
http://www.visitsevierville.com

* Townsend Christmas Parade
December 3rd
http://www.aboutwearsvalley.com/festivals.html

wedding221042008-11-08_0001DSC_5023* Breakfast or Brunch with Santa
December 3rd
http://www.old-mill.com

* Christmas in the Smokies Bluegrass Festival
December 7th-10th
http://www.smokymountainconventioncenter.com

* Winter Magic Tunes and Tales
December 9th-11th
wedding221042008-11-08_0001DSC_5018http://www.gatlinburg.com/events/details.aspx?id=194

* Winter Magic Tunes and Tales
December 16th-18th
http://www.gatlinburg.com/events/details.aspx?id=194

* New Years Eve at The Island
December 31st
http://www.mypigeonforge.com/events/new-years-eve-at-the-island/

wedding221042008-02-28_0001DSC_2858d* New Year’s Eve Ball Drop and Fireworks Show
December 31st
http://www.gatlinburg.com/events/details.aspx?id=117

See more events at:
www.mypigeonforge.com
www.gatlinburg.com
www.visitsevierville.com

Gatlinburg Annual Fantasy Of Lights Christmas Parade 2015

No holiday season is complete without a Christmas parade to really get the seasonal cheer started in December, and Gatlinburg, TN, has one of the greatest Christmas parades in all the land!

The Gatlinburg Fantasy of Lights Parade is the official start to the “Christmas” section of Winterfest, and wow what a kickoff it is! This year marks the 40th annual Christmas Parade in Gatlinburg and every single one of you and your kids’ favorite Christmas icons will be there – from mainstays Santa, the Reindeer, Charlie Brown and The Grinch, to newer classics like The Polar Express and other surprises. The “Fantasy Of Lights” moniker lives up to its name with a breathtaking display of lights, sights, sounds and more from over 100 floats and a dozen marching bands from participants and businesses in the area. It lasts for over an hour, and there are over 200 awesome photo opportunities for you and the whole family to enjoy for years to come!

The parade starts at 7:30PM on December 4th and goes on between traffic light #1A (near Alamo Steakhouse on Highway 321) and goes on to the very end of the parkway through downtown Gatlinburg to traffic light #10. More than 80,000 people are expected to show up, so find a good spot EARLY!

See more on this at http://www.gatlinburg.com/events/details.aspx?id=17.

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Smoky Mountain Winterfest Kick Off Events for 2015

Of the four seasonal shifts in the Tennessee Smokies, Winterfest is the only one that actually gets an official celebration to mark the change between the seasons, as well as being one of the few events that Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and Sevierville all provide separate celebrations for.

The first one is Pigeon Forge’s 25th Annual Winterfest Kickoff on November 11th, which is scheduled to coincide with Veteran’s Day as the 4th Annual Salute to Veterans Parade begins the festivities in Pigeon Forge. The parade begins at 4:30PM on the parkway, between stoplights #7 and #10, and leads to Patriot Park at 5:00PM where the celebration continues. There will be musical entertainment, photo opportunities with Santa and Mrs. Claus, a kids’ play area, local food vendors and quite a bit more. Near the close of the evening, the switch for the holiday lights come on and the Trolley Tour of Lights begin for those who want to see them.

The second one is the Gatlinburg Winter Magic Kickoff and Annual Chili Cookoff in downtown Gatlinburg. This is one of the few times of the year when Gatlinburg actually shuts down the main street of the central downtown area to hold all the visitors and vendors who show up for the event. The chili cookoff begins at 5:00PM and features live entertainment as well (sometimes there are even TWO stages on both sides of the street), plenty of kids’ fun things to do, and as it starts to get dark, Gatlinburg will throw their own switch for the holiday lights to come on and begin their Trolley Tour of Lights as well.

And then on December 6th is Sevierville’s Winterfest Kickoff, which this year begins with the Sevierville Christmas parade at 11:00AM, and moves on to the municipal downtown complex at 5:00PM where you can enjoy even more seasonal music entertainment, food, kid’s activities and even fireworks. Then the lights will go on, and the event organizers will have 3D glasses available for purchase to make the lighting displays even more enjoyable!

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