One of the best Christmas parades in the nation happens in Gatlinburg with the 43rd Annual Fantasy of Lights parade starting at 7:30 pm on Friday, December 7, 2018. The parade takes about an hour to pass along Parkway, and anywhere from 60,000 to 100,000 people can be expected to line the route, many having staked out their spot earlier in the day with chair and blanket.
For a different spin on the Christmas music this season, take in the annual Christmas in the Smokies Bluegrass Festival happening at the Smoky Mountain Convention Center in Pigeon Forge, Wednesday through Saturday, December 5-8, 2018.
Just in time for holidays, family celebrations, and the gift-giving season, the Gatlinburg arts and crafts community brings out its finest products in two great shows held back to back, at the tail end of November and in early December.
Ober Gatlinburg starts its 2018 winter season on Friday, November 16, 2018 with the freestyle Rail Jam, followed by Snow Tubing opening on Saturday, November 17. The advanced skier freestyle evening event known as Back in Blue Rail Jam, kicks off the winter sports season, even as the area is still ablaze with amazing fall colors, in this very late leaf-turning season.
In the Rail Jam, participants will be entered in a drawing for a prize, and the contest for showing off your ski and board moves – and just to practice – is from 6pm to 8pm.
This is a great event simply to spectate, with vendors, food and on-snow entertainment. It’s too early yet to open the ski resort’s Terrain Park, but this kickoff party celebrates the Tubing Park, where they’ve been making a huge amount of snow and setting the rails and grooming for this event.
November 6, 7 and 9 mark the 2018 winter fun seasons beginning in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and Sevierville, TN. These days are the kickoff celebrations as each town turns on its millions of Christmas lights to start the season of Winterfest.
Friday through Sunday, October 12-14, 2018 is the first fall occurrence of the popular Hands On Gatlinburg event that offers you personal tuition from an expert artisan as you create your own art or craft work.
The unique, handmade items available from Gatlinburg’s flourishing arts & crafts community make wonderful gifts for loved ones, or heirlooms to keep, and the chance to perfect your own skill and create your own, makes for an even more meaningful work of art. Hands On Gatlinburg lets you make your own jewelry or ornament, or your own work of art, or craft item – everything uniquely handmade, and this time by you!
Two completely opposite events are happening in the Pigeon Forge area Thursday through Saturday, September 13-15, 2018. There’s the astonishingly muscular Fall Rod Run classic car event in Pigeon Forge, and to the north a little ways in Kodak is the astonishingly musical Dumplin Valley Bluegrass Festival. Take your choice!
The 36th Annual Shades of the Past Hot Rod Roundup happens at Dollywood’s Splash Country Friday and Saturday, September 7-8, 2018. This event takes place each year on the first weekend after Labor Day, and is always a big hit.
Kasey and her family came to stay with us recently, and wrote up her impressions of the trip. We always appreciate these views through other eyes of cabin vacation time. What made this trip so interesting was they shared the cabin with another family. It worked out well, and could probably only have worked using a cabin for accommodations.
Kasey’s family includes four kids, while their friend’s family has two, so it was four adults and six kids sharing a 5-bedroom cabin. The good news is that there was plenty of room for everyone to feel comfortable, with quiet space when needed and communal times such as meals together. And then there was the game room, which kept both the kids and adults occupied and having fun.
Local broadcaster WBIR Channel 10 News has footage of Great Smoky Mountains National Park in a recent story showing the dramatic recovery of the forests, following the wildfires of 19 months ago in the Gatlinburg, TN area. As the interview with the park’s fire ecologist Rob Klein makes clear, this is a great example of how quickly forests can snap back and regenerate with new life following a wildfire.
According to the story, 70 percent of the areas affected by the fires of November, 2016, are recovering very rapidly. Hundreds of brand-new Table Mountain Pine trees have already shot up to around 2 feet in height. Within a couple more years, says Klein, it will be difficult to see that these areas were even burned. In fact, entire areas will become transformed into new forests over the next decade.
This is all good news, and it’s quite astonishing to see the images of before and after in various parts of the national park.