Gatlinburg Winterfest

Written by Blaire Chandler-Wilcox
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Winterfest is a three-city celebration of the season of lights. Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and nearby Sevierville team together to make east Tennessee a jaw dropping sight of lights, holiday events, and seasonal bounty. Sevierville kicks things off, typically around November 1st, by setting off her lights and proclaiming the official beginning to the season. Gatlinburg follows, usually the following evening, with her lighting ceremony, and Pigeon Forge enters the party the following night.

America's Cities of Light

The lights of Winterfest are simply astounding. Gatlinburg lights two million individual bulbs, Pigeon Forge four million. Displays offer tribute to religious themes, Santa, and even United States veterans. The cities literally sparkle like something out of a fairy tale. Night parades and music make each lighting ceremony a breathtaking event.

The lights make every evening in Gatlinburg seem even more special. Twinkly lit jingle-bell hayrides and horseback rides through town become twice as magical. Night ice skating and skiing make one feel like they stepped into a Hans Christian Andersen storybook. Needless to say, this is a very popular time for proposals and wedding ceremonies.

Holiday shows abound. The Christus Gardens, which focuses on the life of Christ, reminds visitors of the reason for the season. The musical shows become even more festive with Christmas carol sing-alongs. The atmosphere is charged with childlike magic, and is a really wonderful way to kick off one's holiday season.


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