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Gatlinburg’s Top Annual Events

In Gatlinburg, we love to celebrate various seasons, holidays, and traditions with a variety of events. No matter when you decide to visit our neck of the woods, you’re likely to encounter something fun and exciting going on. Get in on the action for yourself by checking out some of Gatlinburg’s most anticipated yearly local events!


Spring and Summer

From mid-June through the end of July, Tunes & Tales fills the streets of downtown Gatlinburg with historical reenactments, storytelling, musicians, and artisans showcasing arts and experiences from the 1800s to today. A fun and interactive experience that gives visitors insight into the Smoky Mountain culture and heritage, you won’t want to miss this nightly event during your stay.

Gatlinburg also has the privilege of hosting the country’s first Independence Day parade each year, beginning the festivities on July 4th with the Fourth of July Midnight Parade. Finally, the Independence Day celebrations end with a spectacular twenty-minute fireworks display at 10:00pm that night. Before and after the event, the 100th Army Band plays a free concert for spectators to enjoy.

During mid-July, the Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair is held at the Gatlinburg Convention Center. At this event, visitors can peruse over one hundred and fifty booths of art and crafts, set to the sounds of live bluegrass and country music.

For four days in mid-August, musicians come together in Gatlinburg to celebrate the city’s Appalachian musical roots during the Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival. Free live entertainment is given, and songwriters can attend workshops, mentoring sessions, and song competitions.


Fall and Winter

In mid-September, Gatlinburg holds its Taste of Autumn, which commences the fall season with food, celebrities, and comedy at the Gatlinburg Convention Center.

Anglers have a chance to compete in the Smoky Mountain Trout Tournament in Gatlinburg during late September of each year. In this competition, anglers of all ages are invited to participate in the largest trout tournament in the Smokies, featuring multiple competition categories.

From the end of September until the beginning of October, the Sugarlands Mountainfest brings outdoor enthusiasts together for four days of outdoor competitions, races, live music, and a selection of beer, cocktails, and spirits.

Throughout October, Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort holds its Oktoberfest celebrations in the Bavarian style, with a variety of German foods, beers, folk dancing, and live music.

On Halloween, Gatlinburg celebrates with the Trick or Treat Kick Off Karnival at Ripley’s Aquarium during the afternoon and early evening hours, where costumed characters, costume contests, candy, and pumpkin contests can all be enjoyed.

In early November, Gatlinburg commences its winter celebrations with the Winter Magic Kickoff & Chili Cookoff. During this event, the city’s holiday lights are lit, and the Chili Cookoff is held on the streets of downtown. For Veteran’s Day, Gatlinburg hosts a free public ceremony honoring our nation’s veterans with spoken tributes and patriotic musical pieces at the Ripley’s Aquarium Plaza.

On December 1st, downtown Gatlinburg lights up with the Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade, which consists of lit floats, enormous balloons, marching bands, horses, and an appearance by Santa Claus. Gatlinburg also celebrates New Year’s Eve with its very own ball drop and fireworks show on its iconic 400-foot-tall Space Needle, rivaling the celebrations in New York City.

Summer, winter, fall, and spring—these are all the best times to visit Gatlinburg! If you’re not sure when to visit this fabulous mountain town, we recommend you try planning around one of the spectacular events below. They not only make fabulous memories, but also give an excuse to leave town and have a family gather together!


Fourth of July Celebrations in Gatlinburg

Independence Day is serious business in Gatlinburg—and serious fun! Starting at 12:01 on July 4th , Gatlinburg begins what it boasts as “The First Independence Day Parade in the Nation.” Praised by travel magazines, the parade draws out over 75,000 spectators! During the day, the River Raft Regatta will take place. This tradition includes a race between unmanned floating vehicles. You might be surprised what sorts of river-worthy vessels people can craft when you don’t need to worry about a passenger! Finally, at 10 p.m., comes everyone’s favorite part: the fireworks festival! The downtown streets will be full of people excited to watch the twenty-minute salute to our nation and its finest people.


Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair

While there are several craft fairs here throughout the year, the summer Craftsmen’s Fair is one of the most anticipated! Over one hundred and fifty booths will be open for your perusing pleasure, including arts and crafts and music. In a world where more and more is being mass-produced, come and marvel at what trained human hands and a detail-oriented eye can accomplish! Not only will the exhibits astound—it’s also the perfect place to pick up a superior souvenir. This year, the Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair will be July 14 – 23 at the Gatlinburg Convention Center, open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (closing 5 p.m. on Sunday.)


Sugarlands Mountainfest

If you’ve lived in Gatlinburg—or are even just visiting—you’ll understand that the mountains are so great, sometimes you just want to celebrate them! The Sugarlands Mountainfest takes time to celebrate good music, good drink, and the great outdoors. Among the food and music, the city hosts different races and other outdoor competitions—think you have what it takes to take a prize? If so, make sure you’re in town from September 28 th through October 1 st , 2017!


Winter Magic Kickoff and Chili Cookoff

As the days get shorter and the temperatures drop, treat yourself to a feast for the eyes and palette at Gatlinburg’s Winter Magic Kickoff and Chili Cookoff! Officials from the city begin the season of Winter Magic with a ceremony in which three million lights will brighten up the city. Meanwhile, search out your favorite chili: from meaty to brothy, from mild to intense, you’re sure to find the right bowl for you! Tickets for chili sampling cost only $10; if this sounds like the perfect event for you, mark November 8th in your calendar!


Enjoy it All with The Cabin Rental Store

If you want to enjoy the best of Gatlinburg, don’t settle for a hotel—rent out a grand cabin and enjoy the mountain life in luxury! Call The Cabin Rental Store at 865-635- 4629 to set up your getaway today!

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