Everything You Need to Know About the 2014 Smoky Mountains Winterfest Kickoff Events

It’s hard to believe that it is almost time for winter in the Smoky Mountains. It seems like it was only a short time ago when we were packing up our winter coats and lounging by the pool at Dollywood’s Splash Country. However, with the cold weather starting to settle in, this can only mean one thing. It is almost time for the 2014 Smoky Mountains Winterfest!

Celebrating 25 exciting years, the kick off to the 2014 Smoky Mountains Winterfest is a weekend-long celebration that includes special events in all three cities in the area, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville. The festival as a whole will last from November 10 to February 28.


The first of many fun-filled holiday events in the Smoky Mountains, Sevierville’s Smoky Mountains Winterfest kickoff event will be on November 10 at the Sevierville Chamber of Commerce’s office located at 3099 Winfield Dunn Parkway. City officials and guests will be in awe as the city brings power to thousands of holiday lights located throughout the town.

Admission to Sevierville’s Winterfest kickoff is free.

Pigeon Forge

Smoky Mountain Winterfest holiday lightsAlong with celebrating the coming of another thrilling winter in the Smoky Mountains, Pigeon Forge’s Winterfest celebration is also meant to honor the service men and women who have sacrificed for our country. November 11 is also Veteran’s Day, and the city is celebrating veterans with their Salute to Veterans Parade. The parade will begin at 4:30 p.m. at Patriot Park.

Immediately following the parade, Pigeon Forge will host their traditional lighting ceremony that brings more than 5 million holiday lights to life. These illuminating displays include snowflakes, snowmen, reindeer, and the popular Twelve Days of Christmas display that runs along the median on the Pigeon Forge Parkway. Admission is free to the Winterfest kickoff.

After all the lights have been turned on, guests to Pigeon Forge’s Winterfest celebration are invited to enjoy a free Trolley Tour of Lights. This is the only night throughout the festival that the trolley tours will be free.

After November 11, the tours will run Monday-Friday at 6:30 p.m., 7:45 p.m. and 9 p.m. through the end of December. Beginning in January, the tours will only run on Mondays and Fridays with a minimum of 15 passengers per tour. Tickets for the trolley rides are $5 per person.


Rounding out the kick-off celebrations, the city of Gatlinburg invites families and guests to join them for their annual Winter Magic Kickoff & Chili Cookoff on November 12.

The Winter Magic Kickoff in Gatlinburg will begin at 5 p.m.

In addition to flipping the switch on the millions of lights that will illuminate downtown Gatlinburg throughout Winterfest, guests to this event will also enjoy the best chili that the area has to offer. Representatives from a variety of local businesses, attractions, restaurants, civic groups, banks, and public service agencies will compete against one another to take home this year’s prize.

And if that isn’t enough, both EmiSunshine and Sonia Leigh will be at the festival to entertain guests with their musical talents. EmiSunshine is a musician from Middle Tennessee who specializes in singing, as well as playing the ukulele, banjolele and mandolin. Sonia Leigh is one of the newest artists to take over the country music scene in Nashville with her debut hit “Put It In Your Pocket.”

Admission is $10 per person. Click here to purchase tickets to the 2014 Gatlinburg Winter Magic Kickoff.

Other Upcoming Smoky Mountains Winter Events

If you want to keep the excitement of winter in the Smoky Mountains going, you and your family may want to check out one of these exciting upcoming events below.

Santa Claus at Smoky Mountain WinterfestShadrack’s Christmas Show

Located inside the Tennessee Smokies’ Stadium, Shadrack’s Christmas Show allows guests to get as close as possible to the holiday lights with an auto tour. What is even more exciting is that all the lights that are part of the show at Shadrack’s are synched to music that you can tune the radio in your car to. This really helps enhance the holiday feel.

Not to mention, kids will also love having their picture taken with Santa Claus and spending time in the children’s play area inside Santa’s Village.

This year, Shadrack’s Christmas show will run November 7 through January 4.

Click here for more information on Shadrack’s Christmas Show, including admission cost and times: http://shadrackchristmas.com/sevierville/

Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade

Following the holiday light theme, you and your family will also enjoy spending the evening at the 39th annual Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade in downtown Gatlinburg on December 5. Beginning at 7:30 p.m., over 80,000 spectators are anticipated to come out and enjoy the festivities. The parade route stretches from Traffic Light #1A on Highway 321 to Traffic Light #10 and it expected to last roughly an hour and a half.

The Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade in Gatlinburg is one of the most popular holiday-themed parades in the country, earning both the 2009 and 2013 IFEA/Haas & Wilkerson Grand Pinnacle Award for excellence.

Nutcracker “Sweet”

Nutcracker Sweet in the Smoky MountainsPresented by the Great Smoky Mountain Dance Theater, the Nutcracker “Sweet” is known for bringing one of the most-popular Christmas shows to life. You and your family will love spending the evening with the sugar plum fairies, nutcrackers and snow angles that make this holiday event so popular.

This year’s Nutcracker “Sweet” in Gatlinburg will be held November 28-29. Both performances will begin at 7 p.m. in the W.L. Mills Auditorium.

For more information and to purchase tickets, please call the reservation staff at (865) 680-7369.

If you and your family would like a relaxing place to stay while visiting the area for any of these exciting winter events, be sure to look through the large selection of inviting cabin rentals offered by Alpine Mountain Chalets.

If a cabin isn’t quite what you had in mind, you may enjoy browsing through all of our spacious Gatlinburg condo rentals for your next winter vacation in the Smoky Mountains.