Blog for Zip line Attraction in the Smoky Mountains

Located in Pigeon Forge, TN and near Gatlinburg and Sevierville.


Winterfest In The Smokies

By Ross Bodhi Ogle
Posted on November 22, 2022

Some of you may not remember those days, but once upon a time, winter was considered the off season in the Smokies. Very few businesses stayed open. There were hardly any events taking place. You might spot some Christmas lights here and there, but for the most part, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville turned into cold-weather ghost towns, hibernating until signs of life re-emerged in spring.

And while it's true that visitation during those months still isn't quite the same as it is during the peak tourism months of summer and October, Winterfest did manage to narrow the gap quite a bit. For more than 30 years now, the main communities of the Smokies have been celebrating winter and the entire holiday season with a months-long festival that has managed to turn the entire region into a year-round destination. When it comes to the off season these days, it's game on.

Winterfest traditionally kicks off in each town in early to mid-November and continues through the end of February. During that three-and-a-half-month span, the mountains turn into a winter wonderland, from millions and millions of holiday lights and other festive seasonal décor to special events and business-sponsored happenings. In all, Winterfest gives visitors to the Smokies more reasons than ever to make a wintertime trek to the mountains.

It all starts with the lights, which number in the multiple millions and can be found throughout the entire area from Winterfest kick-off ceremonies through the end of February. Whether it's colorfully adorned utility poles that run the length of the main thoroughfares or animated scenes that bring the magic and whimsy of the holiday season to life, the light displays collectively add a festive glow to the dark nights of winter in the mountains.

The tourism departments in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville all offer visitors downloadable PDF maps that will help them conduct self-guided tours of their respective light displays. They'll tell you what parts of town to visit and what to look for when you get there. In addition to the city-sponsored lights, attractions and other businesses throughout the area host their own wintertime celebrations, complete with unique lighting shows. From Dollywood and SkyLift Park to Anakeesta and Ober Gatlinburg, look for fun, thematic displays and structures that take Christmas lights to the next level. At Dollywood alone, you'll see some 6 million lights glowing throughout all sections of the theme park.

The music theaters of the Smokies also get in on the Winterfest action. Beginning each November, most of the showplaces switch over from their regular-season productions to unique holiday-themed ones. Most everything takes on a seasonal feel, from the costumes and sets to the music itself, which typically spans a little bit of everything, from secular favorites to more traditional Christmas-themed hymns. Also look for appearances by holiday characters like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Santa Claus. These Winterfest shows typically run through November and December before the theaters go on winter hiatus.

Winterfest is also about special events. Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville have fun seasonal activities planned throughout the entire festival. Examples include Dollywood's Smoky Mountain Christmas, Titanic Christmas & Winter Celebration at the Titanic Museum Attraction, Shadrack's Christmas Wonderland at Smokies Stadium, ice skating at Wilderness at the Smokies Resort, Gatlinburg's Festival of Trees and many more.

Our Smoky Mountain zipline attraction will be operating, though on a more limited schedule, through the end of the year. So if the thought of ziplining on a beautifully brisk late-fall day is your cup of tea, give us a call today to book your tour before we bid farewell to 2022.


This content posted by Smoky Mountain Ziplines. Visit our home page, for more information on zipline adventures in the Smoky Mountains.

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