November Sparkles in the Great Smoky Mountains
By Jon Hoffman © 2017, All Rights Reserved

Did you know that November's one of the liveliest months here in the Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge area? It's a fact: The whole month is packed end to end with exciting events and festivals.

Christmas Parade at Dollywood

Enjoy an Early Country Christmas at Dollywood (11/4/17-1/1/18)
The fun kicks off November 4 with Dollywood's annual Smoky Mountain Christmas. Presented by Humana, this award-winning extravaganza features a spectacular light display with 4 million lights parkwide; the nightly Parade of Many Colors; and live musical events galore.

There's something here for everyone, from toe-tapping Appalachian and Gospel music to festive performances of favorite Christmas carols. Little kids will love meeting Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and his North Pole pals from the beloved Rankin-Bass TV special... while grownups will enjoy Dollywood's rousing musical version of the heartwarming Christmas classic, "It's a Wonderful Life." In the evening, the entire family can savor delicious food served by Santa's elves at the legendary Dolly Parton's Stampede dinner theater.

Most Smoky Mountain Christmas events run through January 1, 2018. Dates and hours vary, so check ahead of time.

Join the Festivities at Winterfest (11/7/17-February 2018)
On November 7, the entire town of Pigeon Forge lights up for Winterfest, an annual celebration of the holiday spirit that runs through February 2018. Take the famous Winterfest Driving Tour to view magical LED-lit creations ranging from realistic Smoky Mountain "wildlife" to stirring patriotic displays. There's even a fairytale section featuring familiar Mother Goose characters. Not to mention the highlight of the tour: the spectacular 60-foot Christmas tree, brightly decorated from top to bottom.

Treat Your Taste Buds to the Chili Cookoff (11/8/17)
Love chili? Come to downtown Gatlinburg between 5 and 8 p.m. on November 8 for the annual Winter Magic Kickoff and Chili Cookoff. At 5 o'clock, city dignitaries will switch on more than 3 million lights to jump-start the holiday season. Then, throughout the evening, visitors can stroll the booth-lined outdoor venue and sample mouthwatering chili recipes prepared by local restaurants and businesses. As live music acts perform on multiple stages, chili chefs will compete for the People's Choice Award (for tastiest chili), Best Booth Presentation prize, and Best Apron award.
The Chili Cookoff street event is free; chili-sampling tickets are $10 per person (and deliciously worth it).

Celebrate Thanksgiving in the Smokies
There's no prettier place to spend Thanksgiving (November 23, 2017) than in the breathtaking Smoky Mountains. Enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings at one of our fine local restaurants. Or, cook your own tasty, traditional meal in the well-appointed kitchen of your vacation rental cabin. Then head out to the Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge for a spectacular fireworks display (starting at 7 p.m.).

Staying a few days longer? Check out the annual Thanksgiving Craft Show (November 21-26) and Christmas Craft Show (November 27-December 3). Sponsored by the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community, both shows are free and open to the public at the Gatlinburg Convention Center in downtown Gatlinburg. Stop by to browse hundreds of booths where gifted artisans showcase everything from handcrafted fiddles and birdhouses to quilts, wreaths, carvings, jewelry, and decorative accents. It's your perfect opportunity to purchase unique holiday gifts for all the crafts lovers you know.

Book Your November Getaway Now
Rentals fill fast for Smoky Mountain holiday events, so don't miss out. Contact Volunteer Cabin Rentals today to reserve a beautiful, comfortable cabin just minutes from Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.

Jon Hoffman is Reservations Manager of Volunteer Cabin Rentals specializing in Wears Valley cabins near Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN. Visit them today at to book cabins for weddings, vacations, reunions and other special events.