Category Archives: Events

Gatlinburg 4th of July Parade at Midnight

Come see the first 4th of July parade of the year in Gatlinburg, TN! Every year, the parade starts at midnight, and it’s the first 4th of July parade to kick off in the entire country!

The parade starts at midnight on the evening of July 3rd. The 37th annual Gatlinburg 4th of July Parade at Midnight is expected to bring over 100,000 spectators! The the city of Gatlinburg expects that it will continue to grow each year, too!

The streets will be closed to vehicles at approximately 11 p.m. on July 3rd so plan to get there early. You will want to pack a chair for your evening, so you can relax and wait on the parade to pass! You can see the parade anywhere from downtown on the main strip, so don’t sweat it too much if you have trouble finding a spot in the middle of downtown! You’ll see the same parade at the beginning and end of the route, so just find a place where you can be comfortable!

During the parade, there will be a tribute to the 5 military branches – a major highlight of the parade and rightfully so.

 

Also, Gatlinburg will be having a fireworks show around the same time as the Gatlinburg 4th of July Parade, which will begin about an hour after sundown. The display can be seen along most of the Parkway. The fireworks show is supposed to last around 20 minutes, so make sure you don’t miss it!

Tips for Visiting the Gatlinburg 4th of July ParadeFireworks to celebrate the 4th of July

  • Arrive early to get the best spot!
  • Pack snack and drinks so you don’t have to leave your spot!
  • If you spend the day in Gatlinburg, stop by one of the amazing restaurants in the area to grab an early dinner before the parade begins.
  • Take a few folding chairs and blankets to make you comfortably while you wait.
  • Don’t forget your camera!

If you won’t be in Gatlinburg, you can check out the 4th of July fireworks in Pigeon Forge. The Pigeon Forge event will have free concerts on July 4th. The Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge events are both free and will be a great time for the entire family! We can’t wait to see you soon!

Christmas in July? Gatlinburg’s Christmas Expo starts today.

If trimming the tree and hanging lights are your thing, no matter the time of year, you’ll want to drop by the Gatlinburg Convention Center this weekend for tips on making your place even more Christmas-y than last year. The 2013 Christmas Expo will run Thursday, July 11 through Saturday, July 13 at the 30,000 square foot center.

You’re also bound to learn a few holiday tricks as well. Conference-goers can pick the minds of Christmas enthusiasts, professionals, consultants and vendors nationwide, as well as attend educational seminars, meet and greet special guests and get a sneak peak at new Christmas trends and stuff arriving in stores this fall.

“We will feature a wide range of products, valuable to both the professional and neighborhood decorator,” said Chuck Smith, event promoter. “In fact, we’ve already registered attendees from all across America and even Australia. We take Christmas decorating very seriously.”

Some of those educational classes that enthusiasts can sink their teeth into include seminars about indoor decorating, outdoor Christmas displays, computer animation, how to produce your own drive through park and starting a holiday decorating business.

The event is open to the public, professionals or those to aspire to be one from 9 am to 5 pm on those dates. Tickets are $8. For more information about the Christmas Expo, or to register for educational classes, call Chuck Smith at (615) 301-1671 or visit website at www.ChristmasExpo.com. A $4-off general admission coupon is available at www.ChristmasExpo.com.

Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair – July 19-28

Get a head start on your Christmas shopping this year at the Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair. The Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair is rated as one of the top events in the southeast. Crafters from all over the country bring their finest work to the Gatlinburg Convention Center. Crafts and fine art abound! This is a shopping experience to end all shopping experiences. There are aisles and aisles of merchandise, all for your viewing and shopping enjoyment.

On every Christmas list there is that one someone that is hard to shop for. That person who has everything or has that odd interest that you can never find something for. The Craftsmen’s fair will help you eliminate that problem. Finding that odd knick-knack, discovering that perfect piece of jewelry or even finding a way to display that prized collection is all part of the experience. Take your time while you wander through the aisle. Make sure not to miss anything. Look high and low and don’t hesitate to ask questions. Most of these crafters have been coming to this fair for a long time and they will point you in the right direction if they don’t have what you are looking for.

The Craftsmen’s fair brings in over 180 crafters. These crafters bring every type of hand craft and art to the table that you can think of. From pottery to painting, wood crafting to weaving, there is something for everybody. The booths are full of merchandise and the crafters themselves are full of talent and history. You will be able to meet the people that created the pieces of art that you are looking at. You can ask questions, handle the crafts and make a connection with the person that made the item you are interested in.

Some of the various craftsmen and women expected to be in attendance include a soap maker, metal sculptors; Jottie Hand, Gatlinburg, TN – leather; Lonnie McMillan, Maryville, TN – muzzle loading guns, primitive turkey callers, knives; Beverly Watson, Powell TN – designer and creator of whimsical snowmen; Gerald and Cheri Lewis, Land Oakes, FL – antler craft; Joyce Smith, Cherokee, AL – lamp work, glass bead jewelry; Donnie Faulk, Pulaski, TN – horseshoe creations; John Fancher, Gatlinburg, TN – shadow box art; Burton Dye, Murfreesboro, TN – artist; Michael Moss, Speedwell, TN – treasure boxes; Tommy and Sandra Price, Conover, NC – carved and whimsical gourds; Brenda Tustian, Ball Ground, GA – watercolorist; PJ Girouard, Cosby, TN – original design leathers; and Leo and Frankie Edwards, Elizabethton, TN – handpainted switchplates, clocks and lamps.

The crafts and art are the main draw of the show but the craftsmen’s fair does have more to offer. There will be live entertainment throughout the day, food to enjoy and demonstrations of some of the crafts you are viewing. You may get the chance to see someone finish a perfectly turned piece of pottery. You may get to watch someone create a brand new painting, whether it is oil or watercolor. Whatever your reason for attending: Christmas shopping, learning more about crafts, meeting a lot of interesting people or just attending one of the best events in the Southeast you are sure find everything you are looking for at the Fall Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair.

Hours are 10am to 6pm daily and 10am to 5pm on Sundays. Music shows are 12, 2 and 4pm daily 12 and 2pm on Sundays and are included in the admission cost ($6 for Adults and children 12 and under free. Group rates available). For additional information call 865-436-7479 or visit our website at www.craftsmenfair.com

Celebrate Junior Ranger Day Saturday in the Smokies

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is getting ready to celebrate National Junior Ranger Day with special activities at all three visitor centers.

Children can earn a free Junior Ranger patch by completing three of the specially planned activities. They include ranger guided walks, historic toy making, a talk with a wildland firefighter, a blacksmith shop demonstration and touch tables with animal skins and skulls.

Activities take place from 10 am to 2 pm Saturday, April 27 at Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg, Cades Cove Visitor Center near Townsend and Oconaluftee Visitor Center near Cherokee, NC. Contact Lloyd Luketin at 865-436-1292 for additional information on Junior Ranger Day.

“National Junior Ranger Day provides a great opportunity for children and families to spend time together learning about the Park while doing fun activities,” said Park Superintendent Dale Ditmanson. “We hope that our local residents will take advantage of this program to interact with our staff and the resources, and, at the same time, plan a full day in the Park.”

Sugarlands will also host a National Park Career Day for middle and high school students who will get a behind-the-scenes look into the careers of the National Park Service.

Students will get a “behind the scenes” look into the careers of the National Park Service. Employees will be demonstrating their jobs with hands-on activities while providing insight for those interested in these types of future careers.

For information and questions about High School Career Day, please contact Emily Guss at 865-736-1713.

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/04/23/2843867/smokies-hosting-junior-ranger.html#storylink=cpy

The Smoky Mountains Fireflies Event

If you want to see a true “wonder of nature,” a beauty that can only be seen in a two known places in the whole world, then you need to make a plan to see the Smoky Mountains fireflies. They are a rare species of firefly that seem to coordinate their blinking into a Smoky Mountain show around mid-June (approximately the 6th through the 13th) each year.

There’s only one other place in the world, Southeast Asia, where this phenomenon can be seen. This species of fireflies has an internal “sensor” that let’s them know when a nearby firefly has lit, in which they respond with their own light as quickly as possible. It may take a minute for them to get in sync, but all of a sudden that start performing together with flashes that last as long as six seconds. This, in turn, presents an amazing wave of blinking lights that is truly astonishing. Of course, it’s a mating ritual among the fireflies, but it’s actually one of the most beautiful sights you’ll see in the Smokies.

What to Expect at the Smoky Mountains Fireflies Event

The show begins at dusk, usually around 9:30 p.m. and tickets/parking passes are required.

Starting at 7 pm, visitors may board the Gatlinburg trolley from the Sugarlands Visitor Center. Trolleys will run every 20-25 minutes. It will take you to the Little River Trailhead at Elkmont. The last trolley back leaves at 11 p.m. No private vehicles will be allowed into the Elkmont entrance after 5 p.m. – the trolley is the only transportation in and out unless you are a registered camper at Elkmont. You won’t be able to simply drive up into Elkmont to experience this; you must either be camping in Elkmont or ride the trolley.

Bring a blanket or a small lawn chair to sit on, a flashlight or two (cover them with red cellophane to minimize white lights), and a backpack with refreshments. The only amenities available are portable toilets.

Park rangers and volunteers will be available in various locations for questions, guided walks, and assistance.

No pets or alcoholic beverages allowed.

More information about the Smoky Mountains fireflies (or lightning bugs), click HERE.

The 9th Annual Music of the Mountains Festival

The 9th annual “Music of the Mountains” festival, hosted by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, begins this weekend with its first stop being Townsend, TN.

“We’re very pleased to again partner with the City of Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains Association to offer the public a variety of musical styles for this year’s ‘Music of the Mountains festival,” said Dale Ditmanson, park superintendent. “Our staff has lined up a wide spectrum of old-time, traditional, and bluegrass music performers. With the change to an all day festival we hope to allow more of our visitors to experience the rich traditions of mountain music.”

The “Music of the Mountains” event begins at 7 p.m. Friday at the Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center in Townsend. Four Leaf Peat performs traditional Celtic music.

Saturday, the festival moves to the Sugarlands Visitor Center just outside Gatlinburg with the Lost Mill String Band, Boogertown Gap Band, Brien Fain, Tony Thomas, Matt Morelock and Ferd Moyse and the Mountain Strings. Then, at 7 pm Saturday, Steve Brown and Hurricane Ridge play at the Plaza at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg.

On Sunday, “Heritage, Harps and Hymns” begins at 2 p.m. at the Smoky Mountain Visitor Center in Cosby.

“Music of the Mountains” is a celebration of musical traditions of the southern Appalachian Mountains, showcasing the evolution of mountain music over time,” said Kent Cave, North District supervisory park ranger. “The festival is one of several special events the park has developed to tell the story of the people who lived here prior to the park’s establishment in 1934.

“Musical expression was often, and still is, a part of daily life in the southern mountains, and mountain music is tied to Smokies history like no other part of our culture.”

Seating at Sugarlands (865-436-1291) is limited to 160 persons per concert, and available for free on a “first come, first serve” basis.

Gatlinburg Smoky Mountain Winefest

The Smoky Mountains region is slowly becoming quite the wine-lover’s paradise with all the specialty wineries popping up throughout the Smokies. That’s partial reason for Gatlinburg’s latest initiative: the Gatlinburg Smoky Mountain Winefest, taking place Saturday, April 27 from 1-6 pm on the plaza at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.

At the winefest, guests can sample wines from local Tennessee wineries along with small dish fare from some of the top Smoky Mountain restaurants. Not only will you hear from some of the most knowledgeable area wine connoisseurs, you’ll also witness food pairing demonstrations in the aquarium’s Jules Verne Room.

Over the years Gatlinburg, TN has come to be known for many things – a multitude of family attractions, skiing Ober Gatlinburg, for the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains, a thriving arts and crafts community, and for the town’s growing wine tastes. In fact, Gatlinburg is home to three very different wineries: the Smoky Mountain Winery, Sugarland Cellars and Bootleggers Homemade Wine.

Located on Cherry Street in Gatlinburg, the Smoky Mountain Winery is East Tennessee’s oldest producer of premium wines, including the very popular Blackberry wine. Stop by Winery Square and try a sample in their tasting room while you’re in town!

Meanwhile, Sugarland Cellars is located near the entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You’ll find wine-related gifts in the store’s gift shop, as well as their handcrafted wines that are produced on site. Some of their most popular wines include sweet, semi-sweet and dry wines. Like the Smoky Mountain Winery, Sugarland Cellars also offers tours and free samples.

The newest wine locale, Bootleggers Homemade Wine,  is an offshoot of the Olde Smoky Moonshine Distillery also located downtown right off the Parkway. Bootleggers Homemade Wine only uses all-natural ingredients in order to create their unique wine. Their wine is made in small batches, from local fruit, following the very same recipes that have been used in the East Tennessee Mountains for generations. Here, wine bottled by hand, which means no machinery or other complicated equipment. Popular wines include Blackberry, Scuppernong, Muscadine Blush, Peach, Strawberry and Redneck Reserve.

Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage

For all those nature-lovers out there, Spring is always the best part of the year. And with everything in full bloom, it’s the perfect time to celebrate the Smokies’ natural offerings.

From April 23-27, Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountain Association will present their 63rd annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage. Weekend gardeners to more serious botanists can come learn from some of the nation’s leading botanical experts as well as Appalachian wildlife authorities.

“It is a rare opportunity for those with a personal love of flowers to have the same access to leaders in the field as researchers,” said Ken McFarland, University of Tennessee professor and botanist. “With seminars and intimate guided tours, each participant will expand his or her skills and knowledge of the unmatched flora and fauna of the Smokies.”

Since 1951, the Wildflower Pilgrimage offers over 150 programs including an array of guided hiking tours and instructional walks tailored to meet individual ability, along with demonstrations and guest lecturers educated in the local fauna. These tours showcase the abundant varieties of wildflowers, ferns, plants, trees, mosses and shrubs, as well as birds, amphibians and reptiles – all native species in the Great Smoky Mountains.

While most classes take place in a more natural setting amongst the Smokies, a number of educational classroom sessions take place in the W.L. Mills Conference Center in downtown Gatlinburg.

“The Wildflower Pilgrimage is always an exciting time in our town,” said Dave Perella, executive director of the Gatlinburg Department of Tourism. “The Convention Center is transformed into a hub of learning and celebration of the Great Smoky Mountain’s natural botanical beauty. We look forward to the Pilgrimage each year.

Educational programs and entertainment in the evenings will round out the week’s events in Gatlinburg and the Smokies. Each is sponsored by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and GSMA, the City of Gatlinburg, Friends of the Smokies, Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts, the University of Tennessee Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, the Southern Appalachian Botanical Society and the Gatlinburg Garden Club.

Contact Info: 865-436-7318
Toll-Free: 800-568-4178

Earth Day 5K

Strap on your racing shoes and get ready to run for a great cause in Gatlinburg later this month! It’s the Earth Day 5K in Gatlinburg presented by Hilton Garden Inn!

The Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce Foundation is celebrating Earth Week this year by offering an Earth Day 5K Run/Walk throughout town. Funds raised will benefit the Chamber Foundation’s initiatives in education and their green program.

The Earth Day 5K is a United States of America Track & Field sanctioned event complete with time chips, prizes and much more! ANyone interested can register early to guarantee their shirt size.

Runners register here http://www.imathlete.com/events/EarthDay5KGatlinburgTN?z=1363006292183

Friday, April 26, 2013
Race begins and ends at NOC Gatlinburg, 1138 Parkway
Registration begins at 9 pm.
Race begins at 10 pm.

Early Bird Registration: $20 (until April 12)
Regular Registration: $25 (April 13-25)
Race Day Registration: $30 (Register at event on April 26)
Student/Youth: $15 (17 & under or High School Student)
Family Rate: For each parent, a child 12 or under is free.  Call for more information.

There will be awards given for the best overall male and female in each category, as well as the overall group winner. The various age categories are: 12 & under, 13-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, and 50 and over.

For more information, contact Jennifer Burke at the Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau (865) 436-0505 or email jennifer@gatlinburg.com

Earth Week 2013 in Gatlinburg

There is really no place like Gatlinburg – surrounded by the natural beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains, to celebrate Earth Day with Earth Week 2013! With events including a 5K, the entire family will be able to enjoy the offering of the old town while learning about local conservation practices. Music, activities and games, craft stations, food and more will be ongoing throughout the week!

Schedule of Events

Sunday, April 21
Go Green Disc Golf Tournament
Registration begins at 12:30 at the pavilion at Mills Park; $20 for adults, $15 for children. Registration includes a 2013 Earth Week T-shirt. Winners will receive Innova discs donated by NOC Gatlinburg.  The awards ceremony will be held at 4:30 pm.

Monday, April 22
Gatlinburg Goes Green Breakfast Seminar at Hilton Garden Inn

Tuesday, April 23
Get a hands-on experience at the Spur Clean Up on Tuesday, April 23.  Earth Week is partnering with Keep Sevier Beautiful to pick up trash along a stretch of the National Park between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, known as The Spur.  To participate, bring a pair of gloves and meet at Gatlinburg’s Spur Welcome Center at 9:00 am.

April 23-27
Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage
The Great Smoky Mountain Association is hosting the 63rd Annual Wildflower Pilgrimage April 23-27.  Attend one or more of the 150 programs including instructional walks and tours, demonstrations and guest lectures.

Wednesday, April 24
Wildflower Pilgrimage Welcome Luncheon
Presented by the Gatlinburg Garden Club featuring “Cherokee Plant Lore,” with Ila Hatter
W.L. Mills Conference Center $25 per person
For tickets & information, Call  Pat Willoughby 865-397-7355 or Juanita King 865-453-6101 ext 481 or cell 865-654-4393.

Thursday, April 25
Earth Day Festival at Mynatt Park
Live entertainment provided by Tuatha Dea and Boogertown Gap.  Food will be for sale from the Cabin Café.  Ben and Jerry’s will be selling ice cream.  Several exhibitors will be on-site including Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Discover Life in America, Keep Sevier Beautiful, Sevier County Humane Society, NOC Gatlinburg, the Gatlinburg Farmers Market and more!  Families are encouraged to come enjoy the free crafts and activities offered.  Earth Week t-shirts featuring the art work of a local student will be for sale at the festival.

Friday, April 26
Shred Day
10 am – 3 pm at Anna Porter Library.  $5 per box – proceeds to benefit the library’s new book fund.  Certificates of destruction will be provided.

Earth Day 5K Run/Walk in downtown Gatlinburg
Runners and walkers are invited to celebrate Earth Week by participating in the Second Annual Earth Day 5K Run/Walk in beautiful downtown Gatlinburg. The night race is scheduled on Friday, April 26, 2013 at 10:00pm. Athletes of all ages are welcome to participate in this USA Track and Field sanctioned event.  Early registration is encouraged to guarantee your shirt size! Race night registration begins at 9:00pm at Nantahala Outdoor Center. Race starts at 10:00 pm.
Race Cost:
Student/Youth: $15
Advanced (before April 12): $20
Regular (April 13-25): $25
Day-of: $30

Saturday, April 27
Gatlinburg Smoky Mountain Winefest
Saturday April 27, 1- 6 pm on the Plaza at Ripley’s Aquarium
16 wineries from all over Tennessee will each serve samples of their various labels.  Visitors age 21 and older will purchase a ticket to the festival for $20 and receive a wristband for sampling and a signature wine glass.  The first 1,000 couples at the festival will receive a free 6-pocket wine bag.

Participating wineries are: Grinder’s Switch Winery, Keg Springs Winery, Beachaven Winery, The Grape Barn at Nolichucky, Spout Spring Estates, Blue Slip Winery, Sumner Crest Winery, Beans Creek Winery, Tennessee Valley Winery, Mountain Valley Winery, Delmonaco Winery, Stonhaus Winery, Amber Falls Winery, Sugarland Cellars, Eagle Springs Winery, and Bootleggers Winery.

Enjoy presentations on wine making, wine pairing and more. A portion of proceeds will benefit the Gatlinburg Hospitality Association Scholarship Fund and Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts.

Discover Life in America Great Smoky Mountains Salamander Ball

7-10 pm at Gatlinburg Convention Center
Live music with the Johnson Swingtet
Tickets $75 for adults, $50 for Wildflower Pilgrimage participants, Children 12 & under free

Sunday, April 28
Children’s Planting Program
Sunday at 1:00 pm at Mills Park Pavilion
Children are invited for storytime and seed planting activity. This event is sponsored by Keep Sevier Beautiful.