Blog for Zipline Attraction in the Smoky Mountains

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


Winterfest Returns To The Smokies

By Ross Bodhi Ogle
Posted on November 1, 2023

Where does the time go? It seems as if just days ago, we were enjoying balmy days in the Smokies, and then Halloween came and went. And now, everyone in Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg is getting geared up for this year's edition of Winterfest - a four-month-long festival during which locals and visitors ramp up for a celebration of the Christmas holidays, winter and much more. If you'd like to know what's in store this year, keep reading, and we'll give you the 4-1-1.

Things are getting under way next week with Winterfest opening ceremonies taking place in all three of our main communities. On November 9, you can see what they're up to in Pigeon Forge by attending kickoff ceremonies at Patriot Park, beginning at 3 p.m. and running until 8 p.m.

This also happens to be on the eve of Veterans Day, so the event will include a music-filled tribute to veterans performed by the 101st Airborne (Air Assault) U.S. Army Band. Veterans of all branches of the U.S. armed services and their families are encouraged to attend. The entertainment begins with concerts by local high school choruses, then the Army band will take the stage at 6:15 p.m. for a free 45-minute concert that will include horn-driven funk and dance music. The Veterans Military Honor Guard of Pigeon Forge will present colors in honor of each U.S. military branch.

The event will conclude with the activation of six million lights throughout the city of Pigeon Forge, followed by a show-stopping fireworks display. All Winterfest kickoff entertainment is free, and free parking will be available in the city's Municipal and Mountain parking lots, which are located just off Teaster Lane. A variety of food trucks will offer guests multiple dining options for purchase that evening.

That same night, folks in Gatlinburg will be kicking off their Winterfest celebration as well, beginning at 5 p.m. and running until 8 p.m. Gatlinburg's Winter Magic & Chili Cookoff will feature mouth-watering recipes of homemade chili ranging from mild and delightful to wild and adventurous. Festivities will take place at a new location, the Shade Tree parking lot, 120 Airport Road.

Live entertainment that night will include On The Border, The Ultimate Eagles Tribute Band. They'll take the stage at 6 p.m. Note that while the shows and many other activities that night are free, the chili cookoff does require a ticket to participate. They're available on a first-come, first-served basis. Prices range from $20 per person for general admission (at 5:30 p.m.) to $50 per person for VIP access (at 4 p.m.). All ticket holders will receive a spoon that's good for unlimited tastings of competition chili.

Of course, visitors to Gatlinburg that evening will also enjoy that city's millions of Winterfest lights, which adorn much of the downtown area as well as some of the major routes into and out of town.

We haven't heard any details about opening ceremonies for Sevierville's Winterfest celebration, but they'll definitely be involved in the festivities this year as well. That town will be decked out in lights and lots of other Christmas decorations, and, like Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, they'll be hosting fun special Winterfest events and activities through February. We'll be posting more about the individual events in all three cities in a future post.

In the meantime, consider starting a new family tradition this year and doing some ziplining while visiting the Great Smoky Mountains for the holidays. Smoky Mountain Ziplines will be open through the end of the year, although our schedule may be more limited, and some operational days will be dependent on temperatures and the weather. So follow us on Facebook or give us a call to stay up to date on the best times to zipline Pigeon Forge with us.


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