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Enjoy the Lights and Sounds of the 32nd Annual Pigeon Forge Winterfest 2021 Nov. 11-Feb. 15!

That crisp air, that need for a coat means it’s time for Winterfest in the Great Smoky Mountains! There’s so much to do this year: parades, chili tastings, holiday shows and oh so many lights!

Pigeon Forge’s annual Winterfest 2021 celebration starts this Thursday, November 11, 2021, and runs through February 15, 2022.


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. Pigeon Forge Winterfest takes the bite out of winter frost and transforms the area into a metropolis of winter fun.

Christmas Lights

Drive through the lights on your own or let someone else take you – trolley tours, Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland tour out of Sevierville , or take the Smoky Mountain Christmas Light Ride from The RedNeck Comedy Bus Tour and laugh your way through the adventure.

Shadrack’s is a drive-through show that takes place in Sevierville at Smokies Stadium 3 from dusk until 10 p.m. nightly.  Want to get out and stretch your legs? Additional attractions, like visiting with Santa, a petting zoo, and food vendors are on site as well.

The Smoky Mountain Christmas Light Ride is a jolly good time! As they say: ”Beware of merry rednecks and drunken’ reindeer aboard this fun-filled festive adventure. Time to dig out those tacky holiday sweaters, join in some rowdy Christmas carolin’ (Redneck style) & jingle all the way through Winterfest with newfound friends!

The tour boards at Lumberjack Square

Pigeon Forge Winterfest

Pigeon Forge Winterfest 2021 is a mixture of holiday celebrations, themed special events and millions of decorative lights. That combination created a new visitor season for Pigeon Forge when Winterfest started in 1990.

After the Winterfest Kickoff, businesses throughout the city offer special activities, and theaters add a Christmas flair to their shows for two months.

The Old Mill in lights for Pigeon Forge Winterfest

Pigeon Forge Winterfest
The Old Mill in lights for Pigeon Forge Winterfest

Pigeon Forge Winterfest continues through February each year, offering winter activity throughout this gateway to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Among the events on the calendar:

The first event of the season is Gatlinburg’s annual Chili Cookoff. Set for Nov. 11, 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 mouth watering chili sampling, with mouth-watering recipes of homemade chili ranging from mild and delightful to wild and adventurous.

City leaders will participate in an official lighting ceremony for Smoky Mountain Winterfest that features millions of twinkling lights adorning Gatlinburg Winter Magic light displays throughout the city.

The cookoff takes place at Anakeesta, 576 Parkway, Gatlinburg, The park has created an enchanted Winter throughout the park and also has Breakfast with Santa.

Nov. 6 ,2021– Jan. 2, 2022

Christmas is a magical time at Dollywood.  Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana is filled with music, song, dance, lights, fantasy and joy.

Enjoy Smoky Mountain Christmas, an award-winning festival known for being the best across America. This year, there will be more lights & shows, a themed area and all of the classics that you know and love. Enjoy Glacier Ridge, showcasing a 50-foot video motion Christmas tree that was added in 2019. In addition, classic shows and productions such as It’s a Wonderful Life, the Parade of Many Colors and more will return.

Stroll through the park to see that each land tells a seasonal story with unique and vibrant hues. Find Santa’s Village with classic red and green. Glacier Ridge is aglow with the blues and whites of winter. Craftsman’s Valley has a soft candlelight warmth. Dozens of spectacular Christmas trees inspire the holiday feeling.

Each night ends with a celebratory crescendo of Merry & Bright—a seasonal fireworks spectacular sure to fill the memory books.

Seasonal shows will warm the heart with holiday cheer. Enjoy Christmas in the Smokies, Twas the night Before Chistrmas, Appalachian Christmas or Cadlelight Carolers. Visit the north Pole for Santa’s List … Naughty or Nice for an interactive experience.

The Island
Nov. 12 – Jan. 5

The all NEW Winterfest at The Island in Pigeon Forge starts Friday, November 12th at 6 p.m. as the The Island Show Fountain Courtyard comes to life! This is the kick-off of The Island’s brand new choreographed 40-foot high, LED Christmas Trees and Island Show Fountain Winterfest Show.

The Winterfest kick-off show begins at 6 p.m. and features the Smoky Mountain Jazz Orchestra, an 18 piece big band ensemble that will play the classics including your favorite Christmas songs with “a swingin’ twist!” Santa will be available for photos from 3 p.m. – 9 p.m., with a short break for the Winterfest Show at 7 p.m.

Winterfest at The Island in Pigeon Forge is unlike any experience in the Smokies. With millions of lights, the 23-acre property lights up as the sun goes down to create a holiday ambience everyone is sure to love.


Gatlinburg Christmas Parade
Dec. 3, 2021

Gatlinburg’s Annual Fantasy of Lights Parade will roll through downtown in celebration of the holiday season and the arrival of Santa Claus.

The parade begins at 7:30 p.m. with the step-off from Baskins Creek Bypass on East Parkway, before spanning through Gatlinburg and ending at traffic light #10.

An award-winning celebration, the Fantasy of Lights Parade has delighted more than 20 million people from around the world and is poised to enchant once more with a parade lineup that includes marching bands from all over the east, large balloons, dancers, musicians, and so much more.
 Parade-goers are encouraged to arrive early to find a spot on the Parkway to watch the parade and to spread the festive cheer by wearing Santa hats.

Sevierville Christmas Parade
Dec. 4, 2021

Join the fun in downtown Sevierville for the town’s 59th Annual Christmas Parade at 10:00 a.m. Bundle up and join in the Christmas joy.

Townsend Christmas Parade
Dec. 5, 2021

Enjoy the fun and festivities of the Christmas season at the Townsend Christmas Parade, where the parade will begin at 2:30 p.m. at IGA and end at Nawger Nob Village around 4 p.m.

Want to know more about Townsend? Check out our blog post.


Festival of Christmas Past
Dec. 11, 2021

Experience Christmas in the mountains with old-time music, harp singing, storytelling, craft demonstrations-weaving, spinning, quilting, & basket making- historic toys and games, and children’s activities. Located at the Sugarlands Visitor Center, 1420 Fighting Creek Gap Road in Gatlinburg.

Gatlinburg’s Festival Of Trees
November 24 – 28

The 2021 Gatlinburg Festival of Trees will kick off on November 24th at the WL Mills Conference Center. A full list of events will be added as information becomes available.

The festival will also feature a children’s craft area, play area, entertainment throughout the week, photos with Santa and beautifully decorated Christmas trees and wreaths.

Proceeds from the Gatlinburg Festival of Trees will benefit the Boys & Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains and the Gatlinburg Chamber Foundation.

W.L. Mills Conference Center
234 Historic Nature Trail

The Village in Gatlinburg at Christmas

Pigeon Forge Christmas Tour
Wed Dec 01 2021 at 06:00 am, Pigeon Forge

Great Smoky Holiday Arts & Crafts Festival
Nov. 29-Dec. 4

Gatlinburg Convention Center
234 Historic Nature Trail

Unique handcrafted gifts made by members of Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community are offered as they host their annual holiday show at the Gatlinburg Convention Center. This year the event will combine its formerly separate Thanksgiving and Christmas shows. The Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community is the nation’s largest organization of independent artisans makes its home in Gatlinburg and the 8-mile Arts and Crafts Loop along Route 321, Buckhorn Road and Glades Road.

The Tennessee artists and craftspeople here create beautiful and useful things with techniques handed down for centuries. Find gorgeous quilts, old-fashioned straw brooms with hand-carved handles, exquisitely woven baskets, hand-dipped scented candles, Victorian ceramic pitchers, pottery, dulcimers, stuffed bears and leather vests. There is handmade jewelry, unlike anything you’ll find in the malls back home. Painters capture scenes of landscapes and mountain life, while potters and weavers work magic with clay and cloth.

Under The Bridges

There are three bridges with light displays you don’t want to miss: Jake Thomas Rd, Old Mill Ave, & Dollywood Lane.


women christmas shopping

The Incredible Christmas Place, the South’s largest Christmas store,  is in the holiday spirit year-round, but you can’t miss their special winter lights.

Located at 2470 Parkway, Pigeon Forge

Titanic Museum

Both the interior and exterior of the TITANIC Museum Attraction will be extraordinarily decorated in Edwardian Christmas displays. More than $100,000 has been invested in all the trimmings: twinkling lights, lush garlands, wreaths and towering Christmas trees.

Snow Tubing

Tubers riding down the snow slopes at Ober Mountain.

New for 2021, Rowdy Bear Mountain transforms into a one of a kind snow tubing experience including tubing races, a snow play area, and more.

There’s also Ober Mountain for snow tubing, skiing, ice skating and more! Check out our blog post for more on Ober Mountain.

Polar Express

THE POLAR EXPRESS™ with the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad is back this year!

“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.”

Polar Express

Tenneessee Cider Co.

Stop by one of Tennessee Cider Company‘s locations for free samples of seasonal flavors and collect your 32-ounce growler.

New Years

Ring in the New Year with firework celebrations in Gatlinburg and the Island in Pigeon Forge.

The Gatlinburg New Years Eve Celebration

Gatlinburg will welcome the arrival of the new year with its annual New Year’s Eve fireworks show around the intersection of Parkway and Historic Nature Trail at the base of the Space Needle late at night, December 31.

The Island at Christmas

New Years At The Island

Count down to midnight and celebrate the new year with fireworks & friends on The Island in Pigeon Forge.  The Island has partnered with WIVK/107.7 FM to simulcast the fireworks celebration, making it possible for you to enjoy the festivities from the safety of your vehicle. Parking is available in the Municipal lot and Mountain lot.

When looking for accommodations during Pigeon Forge Winterfest be sure to visit our website for a wonderful selection of log cabins in and around Pigeon Forge.

Complete visitor information about Pigeon Forge is available online at www.MyPigeonForge.com or by calling 800-251-9100.

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