The time of year has come for the 2012 Gatlinburg Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade scheduled for Friday, December 7 and beginning at 7:30 pm. The Christmas parade is the third event in Gatlinburg’s Winter Magic celebration. This parade will feature over 100 entries which includes at least 12 marching bands, giant helium balloons, and so much more. Finally, what Christmas parade would be complete without Santa Claus? He’ll be there as well!
Presented by Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, Sharky and Sharkette of Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies will serve as the Gatlinburg Christmas Parade’s Grand Marshals as it travels through downtown Gatlinburg. Distinguished entries in this year’s parade include the world-famous Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. The first Wienermobile was designed by Carl Mayer, nephew of Oscar Mayer, in 1936. The Wienermobile itself is 24 hot dogs high, 60 hot dogs long, 18 hot dogs wide and weighs 140,500 hot dogs.
If you plan on attending the Gatlinburg Christmas Parade, here is some inside info that can help you out. Santa will start his “Autograph Party” at 6 pm at the Riverbend Mall which is located in front of the Welcome Center at traffic light No. 3. The parade itself is scheduled to start at approximately 7:30pm. It will will begin at traffic light 1A on highway 321 and will make its way downtown to traffic light No. 10. If you’re anywhere between those two traffic lights, you’ll have front-row seats for the Gatlinburg Christmas Parade! The parade will last about an hour and a half, so bundle up and bring some hot chocolate!
They are expecting around 80,000 to view the parade, so it’s wise to find a spot early. Also, make necessary dinner plans as most restaurants in Gatlinburg will be packed between 5 pm-7 pm. Either call ahead to your restaurant of choice, grab some fast food, or eat wherever you will be staying (hotel, cabin, etc). It’s not suggested to eat in Pigeon Forge as it will be difficult driving into Gatlinburg before the parade. It’s not a huge deal, but it’s something to prepare for that will make your evening more enjoyable.
The Gatlinburg Christmas Parade is a great event for the entire family. It’s an enjoyable experience to see the faces of children light up as they see all of the lights, floats, cars, entertainers, etc stroll down the street. The music, sights, smells, etc add to what makes a Smoky Mountain Christmas so special to the locals. We hope that you get to experience it along with us! Besides the parade, you’ll also find yourself in a place where people still say Merry Christmas and enjoy sharing their faith and the true reason for the season with others. Christmas in the Smokies is truly one of God’s blessings. We sincerely hope you enjoy it as much as we do!