How To Celebrate Winterfest in Gatlinburg

Winterfest is one of the most brilliant times to visit the Smoky Mountains. Millions of LED lights, strung up throughout downtown Gatlinburg, light up the night sky as locals and visitors celebrate the holiday season. The Smoky Mountains dazzle in the winter, with its high peaks and sweeping valleys collecting snow, painting a remarkable picture unlike anything you’ve seen. As a precursor to winter and the holiday events, Winterfest sets the atmosphere--a mountain fantasy for the whole family. If you plan to visit Gatlinburg during Winterfest, take a look at the events below.

Winter Magic Kick Off and Chili Cook Off

Ring in Winterfest at the 25th annual Winter Magic Kick Off and Chili Cook Off. Area restaurants cook up their best batches of chili and compete against each other, and best of all, you can sample each one. Visitors are encouraged to vote for their favorite chili, and one business is awarded the People’s Choice Award for the most popular chili. The event also includes a hot-chili eating contest and musical performances from EmiSunshine and Sonia Leigh. And don’t miss when the city officially turns on the lights!

Winter Magic Trolley Ride of Lights

Experience the magic of Winterfest up-close with a magical ride through downtown Gatlinburg.  Trolleys transport visitors throughout downtown Gatlinburg, and the trolleys join in on the fun as they are decorated with light displays that illuminate their paths, providing tours of various displays throughout town at 6:30, 7:30, and 8:30. It’s a unique way to enjoy the Winterfest Celebrations.

Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade

Celebrate the Christmas season in the heart of the Smoky Mountains at the 39th annual Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade. Enjoy the Winterfest lights while hundreds of floats make their way up the street. The festivities begin on December 5 at 7:30 p.m., so bring your coat and prepare for a night of family fun.

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