Winterfest kicks off in Sevier County

There’s 15 million lights over 25 miles with plenty to do with the family.
Published: Nov. 14, 2020 at 12:23 PM EST
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PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- As the sun set Friday night millions of lights started to twinkle in Sevier County. The 31st year of Smoky Mountain Winterfest was underway.

There’s 15 million lights over 25 miles with plenty to do with the family.

“Everything from driving up and down the parkway from looking at all the Winterfest lights, to enjoying some great seasonal attractions like Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland, the ice skating rinks that you can find at a couple of the resorts around town,” said Amanda Marr with Sevierville Chamber.

Wilderness at the Smokies opens the Winterfest season with an ice rink in the water park.

“It is amazing to see the guests out here ice skating and enjoying having that family time together. This is a nice atmosphere, change of pace you get to come enjoy,” said Nikki Harrell with Wilderness at the Smokies.

5-million lights at Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas are twinkling, the holiday shows are on. If you need to know the best place to go for the sights and sounds, Pigeon Forge has you covered with a map!

“That is going to give you some of the different locations of all the lights displays that are in town and there’s many opportunities to pull to the side and get out and take that holiday photo that you might want to use on your Christmas card this year,” said Sue Carr with the city’s Department of Tourism.

Winterfest has become big business for Sevier County’s economy. Now instead of closing up when all the leaves are gone, businesses are open year round. Now millions visit in the winter compared to the early 90s when the numbers were less than 100-thousand. And sales revenues are up 50% over the past 30 years.

“Winterfest has helped us to become a year-round destination. It gives people a lot of reasons to come visit us November, December, January, February. It really adds a sparkle to the holiday season,” said Marr.

She also reminds people to visit responsibly and when it is safe for your family to do so. She says Winterfest is a great way to socially distance because you can see much of it from the safety of your own car.

Some events this year include:

-Titanic Christmas and Winter Celebration: Through January 1, 2021 you’re invited to stop by November thru December for Titanic’s holiday spirit. The ship will be aglow. Come exchange greetings with our Titanic crew or enjoy the glittering lights and the festive decorations.

-Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland: Through January 3, 2021 enjoy a drive-through Christmas light show this winter at Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland. The lights will take place from dusk to 10 pm nightly.

-Gatlinburg’s Festival of Trees: November 25 -29, 2020 the 2020 Gatlinburg Festival of Trees will kick off on November 25th at the WL Mills Conference Center.

-Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade: December 4, 2020 the 45th Fantasy of Lights Parade will roll through Downtown Gatlinburg in celebration of the holiday season.

-Sevierville Christmas Parade: December 5, 2020 Sevierville’s 58th annual Christmas Parade, sponsored by the Sevierville Chamber of Commerce, will take place from 11-1 on December 5th.

-New Years Celebration at The Island: December 31, 2020 ring in the New Year with us on The Island!

-Gatlinburg’s New Year’s eve Ball Drop and Fireworks: December 31, 2020 Gatlinburg will welcome the arrival of 2021 in unique style with its Annual New Year’s Eve Ball Drop and Fireworks Show.

You can find more holiday events here.

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