Posted by Darryl Payne in Smoky Mountains
As the chilly winter wind sweeps across your face the holidays tickle your senses, calling you to join in all the upcoming fun. Hot chocolate with marshmallows, warm, toasty fires, gatherings with friends and family, and more are just around the corner. Memories of lights and decorations as well as feasts and gift giving fill your thoughts and you become anxious for all a traditional holiday season has to offer. The Smoky Mountains deliver four months of unforgettable, fun-filled sights and events for you and your family to enjoy (starting right now!) in one of its most popular festivals: Winterfest.
Winterfest begins in November when “the switch is flipped” and lasts through February. Millions of dazzling lights turn quaint storefronts into twinkling holiday villages. The air is filled with the sounds of jingle bells, festive carolers and intriguing storytellers. Bundle up with your coat, gloves and hat and amble down each lane. As you do, you'll be greeted by snowmen, teddy bears and other friendly characters. Take your time and enjoy the beautiful sights as you stroll through the streets, or warm up with a toasty tour on the Trolley Ride of Lights.
This guided trolley ride lets you take in all the wondrous displays while staying nice and warm inside a heated trolley car. Maybe you'd prefer snuggling up close to someone special on an old-fashioned hayride. You'll find plenty of those at Winterfest, too! Whichever you choose, witnessing this enchanted transformation is a great way to get you in the holiday spirit.
No matter if you're young or old, everyone loves a parade, and Gatlinburg's Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade is one to remember. Over 80,000 people a year travel to see this spectacular sight. There are more than 100 entries of lighted floats, marching bands, and giant helium balloons. Special guests include the Budweiser Clydesdales as well as Santa and his elves. Arrive early and pick out the best spot to view this magical event.
Looking for the perfect Christmas tree? Then make sure you visit the Festival Of Trees in the Gatlinburg Convention Center. You'll find trees of every size and shape decorated in more ways than you can imagine. And, since no tree is complete without presents underneath, you'll definitely want to stop in the many arts and crafts shows that take place during Winterfest. They are the perfect places to find plenty of unique gifts that are sure to please even the hardest to buy for. Don't forget to pick out a few things for yourself, too!
After strolling through the forest of trees and the craft exhibits, treat yourself to the incredible performance of the Nutcracker “Sweet.” This traditional holiday show is put on each year by the Smoky Mountain Dance Theater Company. In addition, you'll find countless theater and stage performances from moving portrayals of the traditional Christmas story to modern-day musicals and more.
Whether you enjoy shopping, sightseeing or theater, Winterfest in the Smoky Mountains is the perfect way to celebrate this exciting time of year. With so much to see and do, you'll want to make reservations to visit often during the holidays.
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