Beginning in November the annual four-month winter celebration is loaded with entertainment, special events, twinkling lights, shopping bargains and Southern mountain-style hospitality. Touring the light displays is a favorite activity for our visitors, and there’s no better or easier way than onboard our city’s Trolley Tour of Lights.
The festivities begin in November and continue through the end of February. More than five million lights twinkle each sundown creating a glamorous and sometimes whimsical backdrop to the season’s festivities. The rich aroma of hot mulled apple cider and tasty fresh baked ginger cookies provide the perfect compliment to the crisp mountain air. Fireside folktales, toe tapping banjo music and the trolley light tour encourage smiles and laughter.
Enjoy the lights. The 16th annual Winterfest promises to be a blast of winter fun. As before, the Pigeon Forge Fun Time Trolleys conduct a Winterfest Tour of Lights with hosts and hostesses onboard serving as guides. Departing from Patriot Park, guests remain comfortable and warm while seeing the city's landmarks and awesome twinkling lights. The stores will be decked out, open and offering oodles of tempting bargains. There will be music in the air and marvelous starry nights to be enjoyed.
Go for the holidays. Imagine crisp invigorating mountain air; enjoy as lightly slower pace; shopping options that never end; entertainment created to inspire the soul and cause plenty of laughter – think Pigeon Forge for the holidays and prepare to celebrate. Pigeon forge literally twinkles with thousands of lights and hundreds of ways to have fun. Do absolutely nothing or do everything, getting away with the kids will make all of the difference.
Look for treasures. On the trolley route, The Historic Old Mill is a landmark. The gristmill houses a general store filled with gifts and memorabilia rich with the history of Tennessee. Discovery: The Old Mill Restaurant is known for country cooking – think scrumptious biscuits and great blackberry cobbler. Artisans display their talents, spinning, weaving and throwing pots as shoppers watch. Bonus points: Connecting to the Old Mill Square is Patriot Park, a 16-acre park with a walkway along the river.
See a new musical.
A new musical production, Babes in Toyland - adaptation of the family classic, Dollywood’s version is the most elaborate stage show in the park’s year history. The show unfolds in a small East Tennessee village on Christmas Eve and follows “Alan” and “Jane” on an incredible adventure through Toyland. The duo encounters a cast of characters, including “Simple Simon,” “Contrary Mary” and “Miss Muffett” as well as the dastardly Mr. Barnaby and his scheming henchmen Roderigo and Gonzorgo, both determined to keep the children from discovering Toyland’s greatest mysteries. Along the way, the children witness amazing sights brought to life with the aid of innovative puppetry and spectacular scenery.
Shop for bargains. A paradise for bargain hunters, the area has more than 200 stores plus Belz Factory Outlet World, Pigeon Forge Factory Outlet Mall, Tangier Factory Outlet Center, Z-Buda Outlet Mall, River Vista Factory Stores, and River View Factory Outlets with bargain prices well below retail. Find designer clothes, athletic wear, luggage, home furnishings, crystal, china, tools, toys, books, music, shoes, leather goods and more. Discovery: Bell Tower Square (the South's largest year-round Christmas village) offers thousands of unique items including exceptional toys, collectible dolls and distinctive Christmas items. Visit the Old Mill Village for a piece of Appalachian history. Find shops with hand-thrown pottery, original oil paintings, woodcarvings and one-of-a-kind souvenirs.
Prepare to be entertained. From music and dancing to laughter and magic, the city's theaters present all styles of entertainment. The best part is that they are dedicated to presenting wholesome family programs. Audiences are treated to amazing costumes, heart pounding music, thrilling horsemanship, racing ostriches, mind-reading pigs, fire-eaters, jugglers and perhaps the best Elvis impersonator outside of Graceland. Discovery: Tickle your funny bone at Elwood Smooch’s Ole Smoky Hoedown where the art of laughing has been has mastered. Audiences enjoy one liners, banjos playing, and gospel singing. Elwood welcomes families and provides an Internet discount on tickets.
The joke is on the bear. Spunky and oozing with energy, the Black Bear Jamboree Dinner & Show creates comical chaos. Pointed one-liners, jokes music and songs are ideal for young families. Pre-show entertainment is provided throughout the meal and once the tables have been cleared the pace picks up. Children in the audience will be fascinated by the interaction of the black bears and music. The deal: One child eleven and younger receives a complimentary admission with each paying adult and there is a charge for additional children.
Laugh, laugh, knock yourself out. Known as the place to revive dormant funny bones, The Comedy Barn Theater provides reasons for everyone to laugh. This is the family version of a nightclub. From ventriloquists providing comedic banter on stage as dogs jumped over children selected venues make everyone laugh. You’ll find the details in the Pigeon Forge Vacation Planner. Discovery: Be careful sometimes pictures are taken of guests when they arrive and may be purchased during intermission. The key chains can be used for a discount on a return visit.
Go wild. Winterfest includes a series of remarkable annual events each with a memorable line up. The 16th annual Wilderness Week (Jan. 13-21, 2007) offers a series of outdoor themed activities designed to connect visitors with the natural beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains. During the unique event nearly 100 experts on wildlife and nature, host walks, guide hikes, conduct seminars and provide clinics on variety of topics, including Smoky Mountain history, music, and folklore as well as plant and animal life. Bonus points: A number of Wilderness Wildlife Week programs are designed for children. Try tracking and identifying scat coordinated by Mary Burke. Enjoy storytelling moments and introduce your children to the majesty of the outdoors.
Make your own story. February brings the return of the 17th annual Smoky Mountains Storytelling Festival which celebrates the traditional mountain-style of spinning tales for fun and education. Each year the festival attracts some of the best tale-spinners in the country. They perform and conduct workshops throughout the weekend. Artists participating at this year's festival include: Donald Davis, Jeremy Evans, Barbara Freeman and Connie Regan-Blake. Bonus points: Haunts ‘n' Haints Trolley Tales combine storytelling with an evening ride aboard a Pigeon Forge Winterfest trolley.
Hear the music. Rounding out the season the Saddle Up! Celebration will feature concerts by some of America’s finest western musicians and cowboy poets. Featured entertainers include Don Edwards, Waddie Mitchell, R.W. Hampton, Wylie & the Wild West, Brenn Hill, the Burson Family, Rich O’Brien, and Belinda Gail and Curly Musgrave. Bonus points: The festive weekend also includes a cowboy action shooting competition, a western swing dance, a western songwriter’s workshop, and a daily vendor mall.
A complete listing of all Winterfest events is available at the Pigeon Forge website. A brochure is also available, call 1-800-WINTERFEST or the Pigeon Forge Office of Special Events at 1(865) 429-7350 or www.MyPigeonForge.com
The Old Mill. Located at traffic light #7, 164 Old Mill Avenue, 1 (865) 429-3463 or www.old-mill.com
Tangier Factory Outlet Center. 1-800-408-5775, 1(865) 428-7002 or www.tangeroutlet.com
Black Bear Jamboree Dinner & Show. Located at traffic light #1 at 119 Music Road, 1(865) 908-7469 or www.blackbearjamboree.com
The Comedy Barn Theater. Located between traffic lights # 3 and 4, 2775 Parkway, 1(865) 428-5222 or www.comedybarn.com
Elwood Smooch’s Ole Smoky Hoedown. 2135 Parkway Pigeon Forge, 37863. 1(865) 428-5600 or www.olesmokyhoedown.com
Dollywood Theme Park. Parkway. 1020 Dollywood Lane, Pigeon Forge, 37863. 1-800-Dollywood, 1(865) 428-9488 or www.dollywood.com
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Content provided by Travel Communications Inc. and images provided by Pigeon Forge Public Relations. Updated 11.2006