Celebrations and Events Accent Gatlinburg Winter Magic Season

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The holiday season and wintertime in Gatlinburg are filled with plenty of events and decorations to keep you busy during Smoky Mountain Winterfest.

The holiday season and wintertime in Gatlinburg are filled with plenty of events and decorations to keep you busy with a hint of “green” mixed in everywhere you look during Gatlinburg’s Smoky Mountain Winterfest celebration.

Listed as a “Top 20 Event” by the Southeast Tourism Society, Gatlinburg’s four-month Gatlinburg Winter Magic lights program transforms this mountain resort town into a spectacular winter wonderland from November through February, and now it’s all LED! Gatlinburg has converted its entire winter lights program to Light Emitting Diodes, replacing the incandescent bulbs and saving the Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau some 95 percent in energy cost.

In addition to turn on the more than three million twinkling lights, illuminated exhibits, winter forests and animated displays up to 40 feet tall, the Gatlinburg Winter Magic Kickoff and Chili Cookoff on the Downtown Parkway features live entertainment on Wednesday, November 7 from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. For a small fee, you get a voting ballot and a spoon that allows all the chili sampling you desire and a chance to cast your vote for the People’s Choice award.

    Join in as Gatlinburg salutes those who have served in our American Armed Services at the 10th Annual Veteran’s Day Celebration on Sunday, November 11 on Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies Plaza. A rousing musical tribute honors our veterans featuring the Gatlinburg-Pittman High School Band and the Knoxville Pipe and Drum Band.

As thoughts turn toward the holidays, browse for unique gifts and timeless treasures crafted by members of Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community at their annual Thanksgiving Arts & Crafts Show. Visit the Gatlinburg Convention Center from November 20 through November 25 for fascinating artistic demonstrations and fantastic holiday shopping all under one roof.

Returning by popular demand on Friday and Saturday evenings throughout this holiday season, Winter Magic Tunes & Tales takes to the Downtown Parkway. From Thanksgiving through the weekend before Christmas, visitors can meet characters and enjoy a capella caroling and entertainment along the Parkway on weekend evenings.

Get in the holiday spirit November 20 through 24 at the Gatlinburg Convention Center when the annual Festival of Trees goes on display in the W.L. Mills Conference Center Ballroom. View dozens of ornately decorated Christmas trees decorated by local businesses and support Sevier County Area Rescue Ministries.

On Thanksgiving weekend, November 23 and 24, Gatlinburg’s Nutcracker “Sweet” is performed at the Gatlinburg Convention Center. The Smoky Mountain Dance Theater Company performs their all-local production at 7 p.m.

With Christmas around the corner, you can continue to shop for one-of-a-kind gifts and unique treasures crafted by members of Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community at their annual Christmas Arts & Crafts Show. Drop in at the Gatlinburg Convention Center from November 26 through December 2 for fantastic holiday shopping options from dozens upon dozens of the best craftspeople in the country.

Ready to continue your celebration of the season? Then bundle up and generate a healthy dose of holiday cheer as the 37th annual Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade takes to the streets of downtown Gatlinburg on Friday, December 7 at 7:30 p.m. With more than 100 parade entries including marching bands, millions of lights and giant helium balloons with special guests Santa Claus and his elves you will surely see why the parade has been recognized as one of the “Top Twenty Events in the South” by the Southeast Tourism Society.

Ring in 2013 in Times Square fashion at the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop and Fireworks Show beginning at 10 p.m. on December 31 and celebrating until 12:30 a.m. on New Year’s Day. An estimated crowd of 40,000 will gather for a street party including free party favors, hats, tiaras, a fireworks show and live entertainment.

Visitors can also soak up the spirit of the season from the comfort of a Gatlinburg Trolley by taking a relaxing Gatlinburg Winter Magic Trolley Ride of Lights. These popular guided excursions are available by advance reservation and embark from the city’s trolley center located at Traffic Light #5. Starting November 7, the trolley carries its guests on a memorable journey through downtown and adjacent Hwy. 321, allowing everyone to experience the magical wonder of Gatlinburg Winter Magic tm, the winter lighting program which has been attracting folks to Gatlinburg for years.

Gatlinburg Winter Magic Trolley Ride of Lights embarks at 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30 nightly during December, except for Dec. 7, the evening of the city’s annual Christmas parade, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Years Eve. Trolley excursions are available on Saturdays during the month of January.

To learn more about these and other events in Gatlinburg, call 800-568-4748 or find mountains of information at http://www.gatlinburg.com.

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Jim Davis
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