Tunes, Tales and Trolleys: It’s Summer 2015 in Gatlinburg

Tunes & Tales in Gatlinburg

Image & video courtesy of Kevin Tierney

Image & video courtesy of Kevin Tierney

Summer begins for sure when Gatlinburg opens its season of Tunes & Tales, starting Friday evening, June 12, 2015, and lasting through August 1. This is a time when strolling the town becomes not just filled with wonder but also filled with surprises, and the casual stroller can run into music, song and street performance at any turn along downtown Parkway, every evening from 6 pm.

Tunes & Tales started only in recent years, and has become immensely popular, turning the evenings into magic as characters in period costume, bluegrass musicians and storytellers celebrate the legacy of Appalachia and share it with all who care to gather ’round.

Just to put an even bigger smile on your face, Zeno the Bear, Gatlinburg’s very own costumed character is usually around during these summer evenings – fun loving, street dancing, very furry, and always ready to give out hugs to children whose mothers have their cameras ready.

See how far you can get in your stroll along Parkway, before you get caught up in a little cluster of people being entertained by demonstrations of fiddle and banjo, dulcimer and guitar, and the sweet sound of hill music. Don’t be surprised to see cloggers showing how it’s done, or to be spellbound by a story out of legend.

Free Trolleys in Gatlinburg

If you’re tired of the stroll, take a trolley and, uh, troll? Maybe not, but either way, the trolleys are free in Gatlinburg for 40 special stops along Parkway, starting Saturday, June 13, 2015 and lasting through August 15.

The trolleys are vividly painted to show they’re the free ones, and they run from 10 am to 10 pm, between Light #1 and Light #10. They’re open-air, perfect for hopping on and off and shooting the sights with your camera.

image courtesy of City of Gatlinburg

image courtesy of City of Gatlinburg

The free trolley is a great way to dive in and see more in Gatlinburg, make a jaunt of it and have fun. It’s perfect for shopping and taking in many of the Parkway attractions you might not even have known about.

If you want to go further afield, the area’s regular trolley system remains in full force through the summer, operating 7 days a week, and traversing more than 50 miles of roadway. Get more information on the nationally acclaimed trolley system in our Things To Do section: Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge Trolley

For amazingly cheap prices you can travel to more than 100 destinations, including Pigeon Forge, Sevierville and parts of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You can even go to Dollywood by trolley and if you do you’ll discover the third sure sign that summer has started.

Dollywood: Great American Summer

Coinciding with free Trolley season in Gatlinburg, Dollywood starts its Great American Summer season on June 13, 2015, lasting through August 2.

During this season the park hours are longer, from 10 am to 10 pm, which opens some of the best rides up to thrills under the night sky. Every evening has a spectacular fireworks display, following the evening dance party.

There are lasers, special effects, a Gazillion Bubbles, and plenty of high-energy fun things happening. For more information see Dollywood’s Great American Summer website.


Image courtesy of Dollywood




About Lindsey Stallings

I started with Cabins of the Smoky Mountains at Gatlinburg Falls in early 2014. I love to interact with our guests and help them to plan their vacations. Each guest has a different story, and they come from all over the world. I was raised in Ohio, but moved to Tennessee as a teenager and finished high school in Pigeon Forge. Cades Cove is one of the most beautiful places, by far my favorite place in this area. I try to take time out to visit it as often as possible, especially in the Fall.