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Plan your Christmas 2022 celebrating, shopping and entertainment in the Smoky Mountains

The Great Smoky Mountains are a picture-perfect setting for winter holidays. Let us tell you about all the fun in store for you.

Winterfest 2023

The 33rd annual Pigeon Forge Winterfest 2023 is November 13, 2022 – February 19, 2023, and it’s not to be missed!

More than 5 million twinkling lights come together on streets throughout the mountain towns to form elaborate displays that will leave you in awe. A drive down the Pigeon Forge parkway will treat you to a view of the 12 Days of Christmas in lights. Head to Gatlinburg to see intricate displays of animals native to the Smoky Mountains.

Drive through the lights on your own or let someone else take you – trolley toursShadrack’s Christmas Wonderland tour out of Sevierville , or take the Smoky Mountain Christmas Light Ride from The Smoky Mountain Christmas Light Ride and laugh your way through the adventure wearing your tackiest holiday sweater and singing some rowdy Christmas tunes Redneck style.

Pigeon Forge Winterfest continues through February each year, offering winter activity throughout this gateway to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The First Event

The first event of the season is Gatlinburg’s annual Chili Cookoff. Set for Nov. 10, the cookoff presented by Bush’s Beans has marked the beginning of Winterfest for more than 30 years. The tradition continues with live entertainment and mouthwatering chili sampling. Homemade chilis range from mild and delightful to wild and adventurous. The cookoff takes place at Anakeesta, 576 Parkway, Gatlinburg. The park has created an enchanted Winter that includes Breakfast with Santa. The official lighting ceremony for the Smoky Mountain Winterfest also takes place on Nov. 10.


Voted the best Christmas event for more than a decade, Smoky Mountain Christmas by Humana (Nov. 5, 2022 – Jan. 1, 2023) captures the traditional feel of the holiday season with millions of lights shining bright, heartwarming holiday shows, seasonal shopping, culinary delights, and more!

The skies dance with the glimmer of more than 5 million twinkling lights and the sounds of award-winning rides fill the air with Christmas cheer. Make family memories by taking in a heartwarming holiday show, catching a festive ride on the Dollywood Express, or enjoying seasonal treats packed with classic flavor.

Discover Santa’s Village with its classic red and green, the crisp blues and whites of winter in Glacier Ridge, a soft candlelight glow throughout Craftsman’s Valley, and more. Towering up to 12 feet tall, dozens of spectacular Christmas trees inspire childlike wonder and joy. In Glacier Ridge, a 50-foot video motion Christmas tree that was added in 2019 is the most-talked about feature. In addition, classic shows and productions including “It’s a Wonderful Life” and the “Parade of Many Colors” return for the holiday.

Christmas color zones

This year, Dollywood has created distinct themes for Christmas 2022 as well as themed lands, rather than a uniform look, so visitors won’t miss all of the fun stuff. This guide is from the Dollywood website:

Showstreet– This is classic Dollywood with traditional jewel tones outlining the buildings like dollhouses.

Jukebox Junction and Adventures in Imagination– Here, you’ll find a retro 50s vibe with multi-color C9 bulbs and mid-century décor. A turquoise and red palette is carried over to Dolly’s Closet for the same vintage feel.

Rivertown Junction, Owens Farm and Craftsman’s Valley– Wrapped in candlelight glow, this area reminds us that Christmas is all about the light of the world, Jesus.

The Village– A.K.A., Santa’s Village, identifies the spot where you can find Jolly ole Saint Nick with red and green trimmings galore.

Country Fair- Home of our red and white striped trees, Peppermint Valley will be one of your sweetest stops when you visit Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas.

Wilderness Pass and Timber Canyon- The Smokies have iced over—a Christmas miracle so Polar Bear can visit his cousin Black Bear! In this section of Glacier Ridge presented by Goo Goo Cluster, you’ll see icy blues and cool whites.

Wildwood Grove- While you’re still in Glacier Ridge, it’s clear the enchantment of Wildwood Grove has influenced the color scheme to include pinks and purples in addition to the blues and whites.

The Island Winterfest

Winterfest at The Island starts with the Tree Lighting on Saturday, Nov. 19, at 6 p.m.

Christmas 2022 at The Island

Winterfest at The Island in Pigeon Forge includes millions of lights that brighten the 23-acre property as the sun goes down to create holiday ambiance as you watch, shop and play. Experience The Island Show Fountain and its newly choreographed 40-foot high, LED Christmas Trees for the Island Fountain Winterfest Show. This new Winterfest show will happen every evening at 6 p.m., 7 p.m., 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. through Wednesday, January 5th. For all things to do at The Island, check out our blog post.

Among the interesting shops at the Island are:

Savannah Bee Company – honey tasting, honey accessories, honey lip balm – I bought a unique Mint Julep balm last time I was there.

Old Smoky Moon Shine – pick up some white lightning and accessories to take home and share with friends

The Paula Deen Store – celebrity chef Paula Deen has a retail store and a restaurant at The Island. Butter anyone?

Farmhouse 9110 – made in the U.S. original home décor from signs to coffee mugs, reclaimed wood and farmhouse charm.

Build-a-Bear – you remember these. You make your own bear and even put its heart in as the final touch.


Make your Smoky Mountain Christmas special by celebrating the season with Winterfest Parades in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg & Sevierville! Everyone loves a parade, especially during Winterfest in the Smoky Mountains.

Gatlinburg Christmas Parade

December 2, 2022, 7:30 p.m.

Gatlinburg’s 47th

Sevierville Christmas Parade

December 3, 2022, 11 a.m.

Sevierville’s 60th annual Christmas Parade is sponsored by the Sevierville Chamber of Commerce.

Bluegrass Christmas In The Smokies Music Festival is Nov. 17-19 at the Gatlinburg Convention Center, 234 Historic Nature Trail.

Festival of trees – in its 49th year, the Festival of Trees details haven’t been announced yet, but the annual charity event features a children’s craft and play area; entertainment;  photos with Santa Claus and the beautifully decorated Christmas trees and wreaths.

Gatlinburg’s Festival of Trees

Outdoor fun

Ride the Polar Express, go snow tubing or skiing and enjoy some outdoor fun this holiday season.

THE POLAR EXPRESS™ with the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad returns in 2022. “The 1¼ hour round-trip passenger excursion comes to life as the train departs the Bryson City depot for a journey through the quiet wilderness for a special visit at the North Pole. Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, guests on board will enjoy warm cocoa and a treat while listening and reading along with the magical story. Children’s faces show the magic of the season when the train arrives at the North Pole to find Santa Claus waiting. Santa will board THE POLAR EXPRESS™, greeting each child and presenting them with a special gift as in the story, their own silver sleigh bell. Christmas carols will be sung as they return back to the Bryson City Depot.

Ober Mountain

Ober Mountain is the place to go for skiing and snowboarding, tubing and even ice skating. Read all about Ober Mountain in our blog.

Ober Mountain Amusement Park and Ski Resort is a “mountaintop of fun, excitement and beauty.” Little and big kids alike AND all the adults can find entertainment at Ober – outside or warm and cozy inside.

Start your day at Ober Mountain by boarding the Aerial Tramway in downtown Gatlinburg and avoid the drive up the mountain while taking in, arguably, the best views as you soar above Gatlinburg for more than 2 miles. The cable car has been taking passengers from downtown Gatlinburg to the Ober amusement park and ski area since August 1973. Check out this video for a taste of what you’ll experience!

The Snow Zone for Christmas 2022

Outdoor adventures at Ober Mountain include Skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing and the children’s play area. This includes: Cubbies Snow Zone – where younger children can just, well, play in the snow.

Ready to make your holiday plans?

Visit our website for a wonderful selection of log cabins in and around Pigeon Forge. Check out our Cabins near the Parkway and our blog on why stay near the parkway.

Give our Reservations staff a call at 800-204-5169 or check out our website.  No matter your group size or budget, American Patriot Getaways has a cabin for you! If you want a cabin decorated for Christmas 2022, we have those too!

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with all the latest area information.  Check us out on Pinterest for easy recipes to cook in your cabin, décor inspiration, and more!

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