Fall in the Smokies Means Halloween, Colorful Leaves, Fires and Chili!
The air has turned, football has begun, and the sweatshirts have come out; autumn in Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains has arrived. There are lots of things to do in the Smokies in the fall – from Octoberfest and Halloween fun to chili cookoffs and a craftsman fair. Check out our blog on changing leaves.
Be sure to call before you go to any event – to make sure it is still happening – given weather and Covid-19.
Dollywood Harvest Festival Sept 25-Oct 3
Dollywood Harvest Festival by Humana is one of the most anticipated annual events of the season and it starts this weekend!
Rides and music by day and more music and everything aglow at night make for spectacular fun. Some of the great events include Great Pumpkin LumiNights, the Southern Gospel Jubilee, and handmade wares from world class artisans showcased to visitors. New this year are Colossal Pumpkins – weighing up to 1,000 pounds each! Make sure to find the Pumpkin Tree and the new sunflowers in Wildwood Grove.
Check out our blog post all about Dollywood Harvest Festival!
Bluegrass musicians will join the lineup of musicians, along with Southern Gospel Jubilee. More than 800 concerts will be taking place throughout Dollywood during the festival. Don’t forget the fall treats and seasonal foods, including barbecue as an offering this year.
Dollywood is located in Pigeon Forge. Phone: 1-800-DOLLYWOOD.
Oktoberfest at Ober Mountain Sept. 25- Nov. 1
Ober’s 11th Annual OktOBERfest kicks off this weekend with German-themed food, drinks and music daily.
The Bavarian festival features the Smoky Mountain Oompah Band, which dresses in authentic lederhosen while performing traditional Bavarian folk dances, oompah music, sing-a-longs, yodels, and more. An outdoor Bier Garten open daily for those 21 years and older. A $20 Beer Card gets visitors eight 8oz Beers or four 16oz beers of your choice.
German food offerings include, but are not limited to, schnitzel, bratwurst, strudel, turkey legs, salted pretzels, and sauerkraut. Check out the full menu.
If you have been to Octoberfest before, you’ll notice a few changes to protect visitors from contracting Covid-19: no inflatable bounce houses, no face painting and no kids craft table. “The band will have a clear partition in place, to help keep both themselves and festival-goers safe. Hand sanitizer dispensers can be found throughout the property. There is currently a mask mandate in place for indoor areas.”
Chalkfest at The Island: Sept. 26
The Island’s concrete will be a canvas of color during Chalkfest. All artists are invited to make their own colorful masterpieces at the park. Registration, chalk and space are all free – sign up here.
Spectators also are welcome. Four featured artists will be on hand and visitors are encouraged vote for their favorite community piece.
2020 Hands-On Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Weekend: Oct. 2-4
Learn from the masters at Hands-On Gatlinburg when makers in the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community play host to classes that give visitors the chance to learn how to make their favorite crafts with the help of a professional. The do-it-yourself classes include an abundance of art like painting, weaving, glassblowing, stained glass making and much more. Reserve a spot at gatlinburg.com/event/hands-on-gatlinburg.
Spooky Halloween events start in early October with Ripley’s Fright Nights.
Ripley’s Fright Nights OCT. 2-31
Ripley’s Haunted Adventure will be hosting its 20th Annual Fright Nights Show in October. Visitors can enjoy a howling good time at these shows on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. The year-round haunted house will have a new theme, and new ghouls stalking its dark corridors: Nostalgic Nightmare.
During Ripley’s Fright Nights, the house is geared towards ages 12 and up, however children ages 6 and up will be allowed to enter.
Find Ripley’s Haunted Adventure at 800 Parkway, Gatlinburg. (865) 436-5096
Spooktacular October 29
The Pigeon Forge Community Center plays host to a safe, non-scary event for families to go trick or treating. Always on the Thursday before Halloween, vendors from local Pigeon Forge businesses offer candy for the kids.
Some vendors have fun displays and interactive elements. There is always entertainment and a haunted house. The event is free, and a must-attend tradition of the Pigeon Forge Community.
Find the Community Center at 70 Community Center Drive, Pigeon Forge. 865-429-7373
Trick Or Treat At The Island OCTOBER 31
Halloween at the Island is a celebration for all ages! Join the businesses at The Island for trick or treating, a costume contest and parade, and half price unlimited rides for those in costume. Enjoy this family-friendly, spooky celebration starting at 4 pm on Halloween.
The Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair hosts Artisans and Craftsmen from all over the nation.
More than 200 craftspeople from around the country assemble to exhibit their trades at the Gatlinburg Convention Center.
This event consistently attracts the country’s finest artists and crafts people. The artists not only make their art available for viewing and sale, but they also demonstrate their special talents and skills.
“You can witness works of art come to life.”
Each participant is subject to a rigorous jury process to ensure the uniqueness and quality of their respective products.
The Convention Center is at 811 East Parkway, Gatlinburg. (865) 436-4178
Mysterious Mansion – Halloween events weekend evenings in October
Scary on a regular day, Mysterious Mansion steps it up for Halloween. Presentations are much more intense with many extra actors featuring a new and exciting theme every year. Halloween Events take place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings throughout the month of October with regular year-round shows still available Mondays through Thursdays.
Held in a classic “turn of the century” haunted mansion, the hosts want your fears to awaken and for you to discover “the startling secrets of this dreadfully daunting domain.”
Visitors take an unguided tour through “secret passageways, eerie dark corridors, winding staircases and spine chilling chambers that will curdle the blood of even the bravest of souls!”
Mysterious Mansion can be found at 424 River Road, Gatlinburg. (865) 436-7007
How about a haunted tour through Gatlinburg for Halloween?
Explore the supernatural. Learn the stories of settlers, famous pioneers, loggers, solders and just regular people who came to Gatlinburg “only to find heartbreak, misery and for some, death.”
The walking tour of Gatlinburg “mixes tales of historical fact, legend and visits to the actual places where a number of the more “colorful” people and events have happened in Gatlinburg’s history, many with a twist of the macabre.”
Learn about Richard Reagan, the first PostMaster in Gatlinburg and the man most responsible for changing the name of the town from White Oak Flats to Gatlinburg. And The Witch of Gatlinburg, who has been seen walking along the back wall of the cemetery for almost 200 years.
Make reservations for your visit to Ghost and Haunt Tours of Gatlinburg, The Ghost Hunting Experience or the Private Tour online. Tours take place daily 9:00 p.m. with check in at 8:30 p.m. (865) 661-1980
More Fall Fun!
What is fall without chili?
Gatlinburg Chili Cookoff November 12
Taste homemade chili recipes from local restaurants and listen to live music at Gatlinburg’s annual Chili Cookoff presented by Bush’s Chili Beans. The event is set for Thursday, Nov. 12, from 5 to 8 p.m. in Downtown Gatlinburg. Call (865) 430-4148 for updates and event details.
Great Smoky Mountains Food Truck Festival November 13-14
“The Great Smoky Mountains Food Truck Festival is planned for Little Arrow Outdoor Resort in Townsend. The first-ever event was scheduled for the spring but had to be postponed until fall because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizers are hoping to bring food trucks from across the region. For updates and information about the event see facebook.com/gsmFoodTruckFestival.
Read more about Townsend in our blog post.
Grains & Grits Festival November 7
Also in Townsend, craft spirits and gourmet food will warm you up at the annual Grains & Grits Festival.
New this year is the “Ring of Fire,” hosted by Michael Sullivan- aka- The Reverend of Fat. Five chefs will gather around a large fire pit to roast and serve a variety of meats inspired by distilleries’ concoctions.
There will be live entertainment, savory bites and sweets from local restaurants and food purveyors and a large selection of sample craft spirits from regional legends including:
- Jeff Arnett with Jack Daniels Distillery
- Nicole Austin of Cascade Hollow Distilling; home of George Dickel Distillery
- Keener Shanton with Old Forge Distillery
- Greg Eidam with Sugarlands Distillery
- Alex Castle with Old Dominick Distillery
- Jason Franklin with Thunder Road Distillery
- Heath Clark with H Clark Distillery
- Billy Kaufman with Short Mountain Distillery
- Lee Kennedy with Leiper’s Fork Distillery
- Bruce Boeko with Nashville Craft
- Matt Cunningham with Old Glory Distilling Co.
- Randy Trentham with Southern Pride Distillery
- Justin Cutler with Tenn South Distillery
- Darrell Miller with Bootleggers Distillery
- Tim Piersant with Chattanooga Whiskey
- Eric Vance with Ole Smoky Distillery
- Justin Holeman with Tennessee Legend Distillery
- Jordan Ward with Doc Collier Moonshine Distillery
- Stanton Webster with Post Modern Distillery
- Tyler Crowell with Corsair Distillery
- Phil Prichard with Prichard’s Distillery
- Cara King with King Family Distillery
- Brushy Mountain Moonshine.
General admission is $65 online and $75 the day of the event. Event details and tickets can be purchased online. (865) 983-2241
Book Your Cabin to Take in Fall
No matter how you decide to enjoy autumn in the Smokies, you’ll want a cozy place to relax, hang out, lay your head and take in the spectacular views.
Whether you want a treehouse experience or one of our many beautiful cabins, American Patriot Getaways can help you decide.
Book a Gatlinburg Cabin with a hot tub so you’ll have the perfect place to unwind under the stars. Be sure you check out all our amazing featured deals so you can get the best price for your Halloween vacation or your own chili cookoff with friends and family.