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25th Anniversary of Smoky Mountain Winterfest kicks off Monday, Nov. 10
By Jeaneane Payne

This elk display will be part of Bass Pro Shops' Santa Land which opens on December 15th as part of Smoky Mountain Winterfest. The 25th annual WInterfest kicks off on Monday, November 10th. Image by Jeaneane Payne.

The 25th Anniversary of Smoky Mountain Winterfest kicks off today with special events and more than 12 million lights! This magical celebration of light displays, unique shopping, award-winning shows, family attractions and the winter majesty of the Great Smoky Mountains offers family fun for all ages throughout Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville and Sevier County, TN. Winterfest runs from November 10, 2014 through February 28, 2015.

Smoky Mountain Winterfest has been an overwhelming success story for all of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville and Sevier County. Winterfest began in 1989 as an effort between the cities of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville. The initial idea of Winterfest was to extend the visitor travel season into the months of November, December, January and February by highlighting the winter beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains, offering festive family events and entertainment along with themed light displays throughout the area. Smoky Mountain Winterfest is today an economic boom to the Smoky Mountain family vacation destination resulting from major visitor increases.

In celebration of the 25th Anniversary, the Sevier County area has added even more lights and enchanting displays, including the historic Old Mill District bridge which has been transformed into a covered bridge all aglow. Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland introduces Santa’s Mountain, a comical glimpse of Santa, Mrs. Clause, and their many helpers hang gliding, snow tubing, fly fishing, zip lining and rock climbing in the Smoky Mountains. Many of the local attractions, businesses and entertainment venues will dress-up their presentations, adding more shows, lights, festive entertainment, and events to help celebrate the 25th Winterfest season.

Events include Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland at Smokies Stadium in Sevierville, Gatlinburg’s 27th Annual New Year’s Eve Fireworks Show & Ball Drop, the 25th Annual Wilderness Wildlife Week in Pigeon Forge and much more.

Winterfest kicks off in Sevierville today with the annual Music Music, Lights & Magic event on November 10 at the Sevierville Municipal Complex. This completely free event annually draws around 7,000 spectators who enjoy entertainment, free food, kids’ games, fireworks and plenty of great surprises. The event runs from 3-7:30pm at the Sevierville Municipal Complex located at 110 Gary Wade Blvd. in Sevierville.

This year’s Music, Lights & Magic event will feature seasonal goodies like hot cocoa, egg nog ice cream, caramel apples, and other sweets supplied by area businesses. Fireworks will also be back for the 2014 Winterfest Kick Off. Other event highlights include outdoor holiday movies, face painting, and a special performance from Frozen! Attendees are encouraged to bring a camera to snap photos with Santa. Plus, Bloomie the Pig and other area mascots will also make appearances and participate in a special “Mascot Dance Off” contest during the event.

This year’s show schedule includes performances from school dance teams, Elizabeth Williams School of Dance, Donna’s Majorettes, the SCHS Concert Choir, Move Dance Factory and 3D Studio of Dance.

This year, the City of Sevierville is also partnering with Operation Warm Wings, a program facilitated by the Tennessee Museum of Aviation to provide new coats to children in need in Sevier County, and the Sevier County Food Ministry, a local non-profit providing food and clothing to those in need, for a Winterfest Coat Drive.

Winterfest Kick Off attendees are encouraged to bring a new or gently used coat to donate to these organizations. Donors are encouraged to bring new coats in children’s sizes 4, 5, 6 and 7 to donate to Operation Warm Wings and new or gently used coats of any size to donate to the Sevier County Food Ministry. Donoros will receive a commemorative 25th Anniversary Winterfest Ornament for each coat donated – and all coats remain here locally to help those in Sevier County.

Coats can be donated during Sevierville's Winterfest Kick Off at the Sevierville Municipal Complex. Coats can also be dropped off at Sevierville City Hall November 12, 13 and 14.

Show Schedule:
3:30pm – Elizabeth Williams School of Dance
4:35pm – Southern Stomp Studio
5:10pm – Donna’s Majorettes
5:35pm – SCHS Concert Choir
6:10pm – Move Dance Factory
6:45pm – 3D Studio of Dance
7:20pm – Mascot Dance Off
7:30pm – Lighting Ceremony

The City of Pigeon Forge will kick off Winterfest on Tuesday, November 11th, and Gatlinburg will kick it off with a Chili Cookoff on Wednesday, November 12th.

To request free brochures and other visitor information on Smoky Mountain Winterfest, visit

Published November 10, 2014

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