Pigeon Forge festivals
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A Visitor’s Guide to the Best Pigeon Forge Festivals & Events

Over the course of a year, numerous festivals and events call Pigeon Forge home. Regardless of what time of year you visit, you’ll enjoy a vast selection of Pigeon Forge festivals to check out.

Pigeon Forge car shows are so popular they happen year-round.

Spring Festivals

Springtime in Pigeon Forge is wonderful. Families are returning to the area for spring break and the Smoky Mountain trees and plants are in bloom once again.

As a result, many Pigeon Forge festivals are held during the spring season. If you plan on visiting the Smoky Mountain area during the spring, get your tickets for the following popular festivals:

Improv Comedy Fest & Magic Carnival

Dates: Gatlinburg Improv Fest – February 23-24, 2018
Dates: Winter Carnival of Magic – March 8-10, 2018

Around the same time each year, the Winter Carnival of Magic and Gatlinburg Improv Fest both occur. Fans of off-the-cusp comedy and mystifying magic will have a fantastic spring weekend in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.

A Mountain Quiltfest

Dates: March 20-24, 2018

The Smoky Mountain community is known for its arts and crafts, which makes it a perfect home for A Mountain Quiltfest. This five-day long event gives quilters the opportunity to attend classes that are based on skill level and technique. There will also be a quilt show that displays a variety of quilts for your viewing pleasure.

Festival of Nations at Dollywood

Dates: March 17 – April 9, 2018

Celebrate entertainment and traditions from around the world at the Smoky Mountain’s premier theme park: Dollywood. The theme park produces high-energy cultural shows, authentic demonstrations from multiple different countries, and mouth-watering food from around the world during the spring festival.

Spring Smoky Mountain Trout Tournament

Dates: April 7-8, 2018

This 2-day fishing tournament on April 7th and 8th, 2018 is an all ages event featuring more than 10,000 trout waiting to be caught. All fishing fanatics flock to the Smoky Mountains for this competition. Also, there are cash prizes to win! There is also a fall tournament to participate in each year. 2018 Fall competition dates are to be announced.

Spring Rod Run

Dates: April 19-21, 2018

Calling all classic car fans: The Spring Rod Run is one of the top Pigeon Forge festivals held each year. Classic, historic, and new cars can be viewed during this one-of-a-kind car event. If you plan to attend this spring festival, be aware that Pigeon Forge traffic can be extremely congested due to the influx of visitors. This event is also held in the fall for those that cannot make it to the Smoky Mountains during the spring season. The Rod Run is one of the many Pigeon Forge car shows held year round.

Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage Festival

Dates: April 24-28, 2018

As winter fades away, and spring blooms, the Smokies celebrate with the 68th annual Wildflower Pilgrimage. The festival offers over 150 programs including an array of instructional walks and guided hiking tours tailored to meet individual walking skill and ability, along with demonstrations and guest lecturers. As a result, attendees get a wide perspective on everything from flowers to amphibians to trees and birds.

Wilderness Wildlife Week

Dates: May 8-12, 2018

Attention nature lovers! Wilderness Wildlife Week presents a variety of programs, hikes, classes and seminars designed to engage those of all ages. This spring celebration of the great outdoors is free and open to the public

Gatlinburg Beans and Cornbread Festival

Dates: 2018 dates to be determined.

Presented by Bush Brothers & Company, this event features a Beans and Cornbread Cook-Off, antique engines and lots of beans and cornbread for the tasting. It’s a true celebration of Appalachia’s culinary history. Hours are from 5:00 pm-8:00 pm. Entry is free, but a $10 tasting pass needs to be purchased for sampling.

Bloomin’ Barbeque and Bluegrass Festival

Dates: May 18-19, 2018

Each spring, the world’s best barbeque and bluegrass come to the Smoky Mountains for one of the most intriguing Pigeon Forge festivals. Tap your foot along to world-class music while sampling the top barbeque cuisine – what could be better?

Dollywood's Barbeque and Bluegrass Festival should not be missed. / Facebook
Dollywood’s Barbeque and Bluegrass Festival should not be missed. Dollywood/Facebook

Summer Festivals

As you might have guessed, the summer season is the peak time for Pigeon Forge festivals. From celebrating our great country to an annual firefly gathering, there’s really no time like the summer in the Smoky Mountains.

Make sure to catch these great Pigeon Forge festivals during your summer vacation.

Dollywood’s Barbeque and Bluegrass Festival

Dates: May 25-June 10, 2018

The greater Smoky Mountain community really loves BBQ and bluegrass. Not to be confused with the also popular Bloomin’ BBQ and Bluegrass Festival, Dollywood pulls out all the stops for this early summer festival. Stroll through the theme park and you’ll find professional chefs cooking exceptional BBQ and musicians playing toe-tapping bluegrass. Plus, there’s new surprises in store for guests each year!

Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales

Dates: 2018 dates to be determined.

Tunes & Tales is a summer-long street performance festival featuring costumed musical performers, storytellers and artisans portraying characters from time periods as far back as the 1800s. Performers arrive nightly at 6pm. Then, visitors are treated to an evening of strolling entertainment where the sidewalk becomes the stage.

Synchronous Fireflies at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Dates: 2018 dates to be determined.

Did you know that fireflies can synchronize their flashing light patterns? Every year at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, guests apply by lottery application to witness a jaw-dropping natural event. Over the course of a two week period, primarily with the goal of mating, fireflies synchronize their flashing light patterns and create awe-inspiring visuals. You have to see it in person to understand how outstanding this event truly is! 2018 dates to be determined by the National Park Service.

Great American Summer Festival at Dollywood

Dates: June 16-August 5, 2018

When it comes to Pigeon Forge festivals, Dollywood leads the pack – especially with the Great American Summer Festival and summer celebration. The annual summer festival at the theme park offers longer hours, spectacular performances, a phenomenal fireworks display, and so much more.

Pigeon Forge Patriot Festival

Dates: July 4, 2018

The weeks surrounding Independence Day are by far some of the busiest in Pigeon Forge. To celebrate our great nation, first head over to Gatlinburg for the First Independence Day Parade. At 12:01am on July 4th, you and your family can enjoy one of the most renowned parades in the country.

After the nationally recognized parade, get some rest because the remainder of your day is packed with fun at the Pigeon Forge Patriot Festival. This day long tribute to our nation and military includes musical groups, food, kid-friendly fun, and more.

The Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival

Dates: August 13-22, 2018

Every summer, the most talented musicians and songwriters from across the country and world head to the Smoky Mountains for a weekend of musical inspiration. At the Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival, guests can put their talents to the test in song competitions, meet their favorite artists, and also learn about the songwriting process through various workshops.

Celebrate Freedom

Dates: Entire month of August

Another one of the best summer Pigeon Forge festivals is Celebrate Freedom which occurs every August. Throughout town, participating businesses offer discounts and promotions for active and veteran military personnel, police officers, firefighters and emergency responders. Also, proper identification is required to receive the discounts and promotions throughout the duration of the festival.

Fall in Pigeon Forge is the most colorful time of year!

Fall Festivals

As the fall foliage appears, the many fall Pigeon Forge festivals get into full swing.

Shades of the Past Hot Rod Roundup

Dates: September 7-8, 2018

The Pigeon Forge area is a popular destination for car shows, such as the Shades of the Past Hot Rod Roundup. From classics to customs, you’ll get to browse an incredible assortment of cars at this festival.

Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival

Dates: September 1-October 31, 2018

The autumn season is in full swing every year throughout the Smoky Mountain region. In September and October, some of the top Pigeon Forge festivals are held as part of the overall Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival. These festivals and events include:

  • OktOberFest at Ober Gatlinburg
  • The Gatlinburg Fall Craftsmen’s Fair
  • Shocktober at the Iris Theatre at the Gatlinburg Space Needle
  • And So Much More

There’s no shortage of fun during the Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival.

Dollywood National Southern Gospel and Harvest Celebration

Dates: September 29-October 28, 2018.

Dollywood offers yet another magical festival for families to enjoy. This autumn festival includes gospel music’s top talent, incredible performances, and more fall fun throughout the theme park. Plus, the fan favorite, Great Pumpkin LumiNights, returns for 2018.

Snowy Smokies
A snowy winter scene in Gatlinburg.

Winter Festivals

If you’ve ever had the chance to experience the Pigeon Forge area during the winter time, you know how beautifully breathtaking it is. These Pigeon Forge festivals make the most of the picturesque landscape of the Smoky Mountain area.


Dates: 2018 dates to be determined.

This 4-month long celebration of the winter season is packed with entertainment, dazzling lights, fun activities, and more. From incredible parades to the Trolley Tour of Lights, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at Winterfest in Pigeon Forge.

Christmas in the Smokies Bluegrass Festival

Dates: December 5-8, 2018

If you can’t tell, the Smoky Mountain area loves bluegrass music. As the center of the bluegrass region, musicians, fans, and songwriters from all over come to Pigeon Forge each winter to celebrate and perform their music. With the area all lit up for the holidays and the sounds of bluegrass music filling the air, you can’t help but have a great time at the Christmas in the Smokies Bluegrass Festival. The festival is held this winter on December 6-9, 2017 with 2018 dates to be determined.

Smoky Mountain Christmas at Dollywood

Dates: November 10, 2018 – January 5, 2019

For a classic Christmas experience in the Smoky Mountains, head to Dollywood. Once again, the theme park knows how to deck the halls with performances, visits with Santa, and phenomenal synchronized light displays. As one of the top Pigeon Forge festivals in the winter, you do not want to miss a Smoky Mountain Christmas at Dollywood. The festival is currently ongoing from November 4th to January 1st, with 2018 dates to be determined.

Enjoy Fantastic Pigeon Forge Festivals Year Round

No matter which season you choose to visit Pigeon Forge and the greater Smoky Mountain area, you’ll have so many festivals to choose from. Therefore, the best time to visit the Smoky Mountains is all year long!

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