Will you be staying in one of our cabins in Wears Valley this week? If so, you might be wondering what’s happening in the Great Smoky Mountains this week – besides Thanksgiving, of course. You’re in luck; there’s a lot going on in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville thanks to Winterfest. This annual four-month-long celebration of winter and the holidays is off to a great start, and if you’re looking for a way to share some seasonal fun with your family, we’ve got a few suggestions for making that happen.
In Gatlinburg, the Great Smoky Thanksgiving Arts & Crafts Show is taking place at the Gatlinburg Convention Center through November 29 and will be immediately followed by the Great Smoky Christmas Arts & Crafts Show November 30 through December 6. At both events, you’ll see exhibitors from Gatlinburg’s own Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community display and demonstrate a wide range of authentic mountain art and craft forms, including pottery, candle making, jewelry, broom making, painting, wood work and many more.
Also in Gatlinburg is the Festival of Trees taking place November 25 through 29 at the W.L. Mills Conference Center on Historic Nature Trail. This annual fund-raiser features beautifully decorated Christmas trees and handmade centerpieces and craft items, the sales of which will raise money for the Boys & Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains. The event also includes live entertainment and photo opportunities with Santa Claus himself.
This weekend, November 27 and 28, the Great Smoky Mountain Dance Theatre presents the Nutcracker “Sweet,” also at the Mills Auditorium in Gatlinburg. The troupe’s take on the classic holiday ballet is a fun event for all ages.
If your travels take you into Pigeon Forge this week, you’ll find that several local attractions are hosting special promotions as part of their Winterfest celebrations. For example, Christmas at Dixie Stampede is the holiday show presented by the long-time equestrian-themed attraction, featuring a live nativity scene with camels and ascending angels. Elves from the North and South serve guests a multi-course feast as part of the fun.
Meanwhile, the annual Smoky Mountain Christmas celebration continues at Dollywood theme park, while the Titanic Museum Attraction hosts a fireworks show on Thanksgiving night. Billed as the largest fireworks event of the year on the Parkway, this pyrotechnics display honors the lives and legacies of the original Titanic’s passengers, crew and rescuers.
In Sevierville, you might want to visit Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland, a drive-through tour of dozens of colorful, animated light displays located at Smokies Stadium just off Interstate 40 at exit 407. The attraction is open through January 4.
Speaking of holiday lights, you’ll probably have trouble avoiding them during Winterfest. Each of our communities, in addition to many local businesses, is decked out in twinkling colorful lights and displays throughout the four months of Winterfest.