The Winter Lineup: Upcoming Holiday Events in the Smokies


Are you ready for the intoxicating scent of freshly baked gingerbread cookies, the melodious sound of holiday tunes, the memory-inducing seasonal decorations, the unforgettable taste of grandma’s Christmas-morning casserole, and the loving snuggles with your little ones as midnight approaches on New Year’s Eve?

The biggest holiday of the winter season is just a few months ago, swiftly followed by a brand-new year. With many festive events on the way, it’s time to grab your warmest scarf, ugliest sweater, best boots, and merriest smile for 2018’s winter lineup in the Smokies!

Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade | December 7

Get into the Christmas spirit with marching bands playing seasonal melodies, equestrian units sporting festive outfits, giant balloons of famous holiday characters, and fantastical light displays on all kinds of Christmassy floats. Welcome to the 43rd Annual Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade, where the magic of winter in the Smokies begins in downtown Gatlinburg!

Attracting upwards of 60,000 people every year, this award-winning parade starts at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 7. Beginning at traffic light 1A (by Roaring Fork Road) on East Parkway (Hwy 321), traveling towards the main Parkway (Hwy 441), and continuing from traffic light 3 to traffic light 10 (by Ski Mountain Road), the procession will last around 1-2 hours. With colder weather settling in, be sure to wear warm clothing and buy some hot cocoa and yummy snacks at the event — after all, what’s a winter parade without a few toasty treats! As an early Christmas gift, admission is FREE for all who wish to attend!

New Year’s Eve Celebration at The Island | December 31 – January 1

After opening all the presents, eating a sizable sum of candy canes, and drinking more than your fair share of eggnog, it’s time to ring in the new year with party songs, midnight kisses, and champagne toasts! Start off your new year with a bang at the 6th Annual New Year’s Eve Celebration at The Island in Pigeon Forge.

Already equipped with 60+ retail and specialty shops, 18 restaurants and eateries (including Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen), as well as a variety of rides, games, and activities, The Island is the perfect place for a New Year’s Eve event! Live music starts at 6 p.m., and the official celebration begins at 10 p.m. With face painting for the kiddos, fun attractions for the adults, an exciting countdown to midnight, and a grand fireworks finale, this will be an amazing New Year’s Eve party. And the best part is admission is FREE!

When it’s all over, head back to your cozy Pigeon Forge cabin for a quiet winter night in the Smokies. Cuddle up in front of a wood-burning fireplace, sip hot cocoa with mountain views on your back deck, shoot pool in a warm game room, whip up a late-night snack in your fully equipped kitchen, or unwind in the hot tub on your cabin’s deck after your long days of fun!

More Winter-loving Events in the Smokies

  • Dollywood Smoky Mountain Christmas
  • 29th Annual Winterfest Kickoff
  • Gatlinburg Winter Magic Trolley Ride of Lights
  • Great Smoky Mountain Christmas Arts and Crafts Show
  • Old Mill Breakfast or Brunch with Santa
  • Sevierville’s 56th Annual Christmas Parade
  • Titanic Museum Attraction Christmas and Winter Celebration
  • New Year’s Eve Ball Drop & Fireworks Show