Welcome home, Dolly Parton!  The Dolly Parade features Pigeon Forge’s favorite daughter–Dolly Parton–and is a highlight of the spring season.  Scheduled for May 5, 2017, at 6pm, the parade attracts over 50,000 spectators and includes colorful floats, marching bands, entertainers and local celebrities.  All who come to the Dolly Parade will get a glimpse of the entertainment found in Pigeon Forge year round. 

Dolly Parade

Photo Credit: Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism

This is the 32nd Annual Dolly Parade.  Parton, who serves as Grand Marshal of the parade, waves to the visitors and locals who line the Pigeon Forge Parkway.  The parade route begins on River Road near Traffic Light #7. It then travels north along the Parkway before ending at the Belz Factory Outlet World at Traffic Light #3. 

We recommend arriving plenty early as the parade route fills up quickly. Make sure to bring lawn chairs, drinks, and snacks. And don’t forget to wave to Dolly as she passes by on the lead float!

If you’re looking for even more Dolly Parton entertainment, spend the weekend in Pigeon Forge. Parton’s signature flair is evident in attractions throughout the town. Her theme park, Dollywood, combines thrilling rides, family fun, entertaining shows and so much more all while showcasing the love she has for the Smoky Mountains. Typically, Dolly doesn’t make an appearance at the Park but during this weekend she does! Look for her on Friday and Saturday afternoon at 4pm. If she’s there, she’ll be touring the park in a horse-drawn carriage as only Dolly can. 
Or course, the Dolly Parton-themed fun doesn’t end there. Over at Dixie Stampede, the most fun place to eat in Pigeon Forge, you can dine on a four-course feast while watching tricks, capers, competitions, singing and dancing for a performance unlike any other in the Smokies. 

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Pigeon Forge to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Are you trying to plan a Pigeon Forge vacation, but don’t want to break the bank doing so? In the Smoky Mountains, you can have a budget-friendly getaway where you won’t have to worry about spending big bucks in order to have a grand time. Not only is the area affordable, it also boasts several ways to save while you play.

Money coin deposit of save money for prepare in the future.

Image via 401K Calculator, flickr

Follow our money saving Pigeon Forge tips to enjoy the best of the Smokies while keeping your budget in check.

1) Sign up for Reserve Direct Emails
Reserve Pigeon Forge sends a monthly email featuring ways to save in the Smokies. You’ll see the latest deals on shows, attractions, and hotels. Plus, you’ll be the first to know when special discounts and promotional codes are available. Sign up for Getaways Emails here.

2) Take Advantage of Direct Deals
Did you know there are hundreds of dollars worth of savings on Reserve Pigeon Forge? Use our Direct Deals page to keep track of the best prices for everything from zipline attractions to entertaining shows and hotels deals. There are even free offers available! Best of all, no coupons are needed–ever!

3) Visit Dollywood Twice for the Same Price
If you arrive at Dollywood after 3pm (after 6pm during Smoky Mountain Christmas), you can enter the park the next day free of charge. Make the most of your time at the Pigeon Forge theme park with this excellent offer!

4) Ride the Trolley
Save your gas, park the car and ride the Pigeon Forge Trolley. The trolleys are an easy and affordable way to get around the city. Plus, you can connect to Sevierville and Gatlinburg so you can explore all the Smoky Mountains have to offer. All day ride passes are only $2.50, while one-way fares range from 50-75 cents.

5) Book a Vacation Package
Bundle your hotel stay with your attraction passes and Pigeon Forge show tickets and you’re sure to save. Take a look at the Pigeon Forge vacation packages, choose one that fits your vacation needs and start your savings!

6) Follow Reserve Pigeon Forge
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up-to-date on the latest savings, customer contests, and special social media discounts. You never know when a flash savings special might happen!

Use these six money saving Pigeon Forge tips to ensure you have a great vacation at a value! Because who doesn’t love to save while they play?

Have any of your own money saving Pigeon Forge tips? Be sure to tell us about them in the comments.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Pigeon Forge to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Planning to vacation in Pigeon Forge in 2017? If so, perhaps you’re wondering what’s new for the Smoky Mountain vacation destination. Luckily, there are several new attractions in Pigeon Forge that will add to your Smoky Mountain experience.


Get ready to free fall on the Drop Line at Dollywood

New Attractions in Pigeon Forge in 2017

Drop Line at Dollywood

Dollywood continues its tradition of opening new attractions in Pigeon Forge every year with the addition of Drop Line. This 200-foot free fall experience, located in Timber Canyon, has a projected opening date of summer 2017. During the ride, you’ll rise 20-stories above the park. You’ll get an epic view of the scenery before plummeting straight down!

Whistle Punk Chaser at Dollywood

The fun at Dollywood continues with the opening of Whistle Punk Chaser, a new junior coaster also set to open summer 2017. This attraction, which has a logging theme, will prepare young park-goers for the day they’re finally old enough to experience the thrills of a big-kid coaster like Thunderhead.


Shoot down one of six slides on the TailSpin Racer

TailSpin Racer at Dollywood’s Splash Country

Over at Dollywood’s Splash Country, TailSpin Racer is the newest attraction aimed at family fun. Grab a mat and place your bets! Then, slide down the spiraling, high-speed AquaTubes as you race towards the finish. It’s sure to be a competition to finish first every single time.

The Mountain Mile Shopping Center

One of the most anticipated new attractions in Pigeon Forge for 2017 is the Mountain Mile & Tower Shops Center. This massive project will have over 1-mile of road frontage and cover over 174 acres. Plus, its location at Teaster Lane and Jake Thomas Blvd puts it in the heart of Pigeon Forge. Likewise, the recently opened Cal Ripken Experience baseball park, LeConte Convention Center and The Island surround the development, which will only add to the traffic the center will receive. To top it all off, Dollywood is just minutes away too!


Smith Creek Moonshine/Facebook

Smith Creek Moonshine

Gatlinburg has been in the moonshine business for some time, and their sister city, Pigeon Forge, is joining the fold with additions of their own distilleries. The newest is Smith Creek Moonshine, which, of course, offers a moonshine tasting bar. However, they also have a mixed moonshine cocktail bar and retail store where you can buy your favorite shine, sauces, dry rubs, apparel and more.

Courtyard Marriott

New attractions in Pigeon Forge also include new places to stay.  The area is getting a new upscale hotel, which will be centrally located and offer guests smart, modern décor. To sum up, there will be 137 rooms, all of which will feature plush bedding and river and mountain views.

New Attractions in Pigeon Forge that Opened in 2016

Alcatraz East Crime Museum

This newly opened museum explores American history from a different perspective. With a focus on the studies of criminal intent, criminal profiles, the penal system, victims, crime prevention, forensic science, and law enforcement, the Alcatraz East Museum features much more than just Alcatraz history and insight.

Galleries include: History of Crime, Crime Scene Investigation, The Consequence of Crime, Crime Fighting and Pop Culture.

Within those five galleries, there are also over 500 artifacts and over 100 interactives.


Foxfire Mountain Adventures/Facebook

Wyile Cider Barn at Foxfire Mountain

At Foxfire Mountain, guests can sip on some delicious, all-natural apple cider at the newly opened Wyile Cider Barn. The adventure park strives to create a place where families can spend the entire day. Through years of hard work, they’ve been able to do just that.

Activities include:

  • Aerial Adventure Course
  • Obstacle Course
  • Waterfall Canopy Tour
  • Goliath Zip Lines Tour
  • Longest Swinging Bridge in America
  • Bear Crawler Tour
  • Hiking Trails


After enjoying all of these activities, sip on a dry Irish cider or sweet cider. Both in non-alcoholic and alcoholic versions. If you work up an appetite, you can also have lunch at the Zippin’ Pig BBQ Shack.

Top Jump Trampoline Park

One of the new attractions in Pigeon lets you flip, fly and bounce through the air! At Top Jump Trampoline Park, kids and parents alike can have safe, extreme fun—all while getting sky high. The park also includes the nation’s first sky-high climbing adventure, Clip ‘n Climb. The action is made even better with the addition of an arcade, Sugar Rush Candy Store and TopView spectator seats.


Dinos are just a few of the obstacles at Sevier Air, Sevier Air/Facebook

Sevier Air Trampoline & Ninja Warrior Park

Sevierville, located just north of Pigeon Forge, has also opened its own family adventure park. Albeit, it has a unique design separating it from Top Jump. Not only can you experience trampoline fun at Sevier Air, visitors can tackle advance and junior Ninja Warrior Courses. That’s not all, though! The park has the first-ever 3-story net system for 2-10 year olds. During your visit, you can also refuel with pizza and ice cream. After all, you know you’re going to get hungry with all this activity!

Governor’s Crossing Stadium 14 Movie Theater

New attractions in Pigeon Forge can cater to locals and visitors. Governor’s Crossing Movie Theater is the perfect example, as it is now the premier place to watch the latest blockbusters. Amenities include Dolby 7.1 audio and luxury seating with leather recliners, as well as 40,000-watt SXS auditoriums.

Black Fox Lodge

For visitors looking for a unique place to stay, Black Fox Lodge is it. View of the Smoky Mountains as well as the Little Pigeon River compliment the Lodge. Further, guests will enjoy a bar and restaurant on-site, free continental breakfast, and outdoor pool with slide. 10 upscale suites, as well as standard rooms, are available for reservations now.


The Casual Pint/Facebook

The Casual Pint

Craft beer lovers, rejoice! One of the newest attractions in Pigeon Forge caters to you. Designed as a craft beer market, The Casual Pint has a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. During your visit, try a brew from the tap wall or order from their vast bottle selection. You can’t go wrong with either option!

These are the latest and greatest new attractions in Pigeon Forge. Which one are you most excited to try in 2017? Let us know in the comments!

Before you go, be sure to book your trip with Reserve Pigeon Forge for the best deals and discounts on shows, attractions, and hotel

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Pigeon Forge to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Families come from far and wide to visit Dollywood, Tennessee’s renowned theme park. Visitors of all ages love the park for the wide range of entertainment, from rides to shows to the delectable food. However, there’s far more to Dollywood than meets the eye. From secret apartments to bald eagles, you’ll be surprised by many of these intriguing facts about Dollywood.

facts about Dollywood1. Dollywood Wasn’t Always Dollywood

Before the iconic theme park gained popularity, it had quite the past. Originally a small tourist attraction named Rebel Railroad, the first iteration of the park had a coal-fired steam engine, a general store, a blacksmith shop, and a saloon. The train drew visitors from all over and is still an integral part of Dollywood today.

In 1970, Art Modell (previous NFL Cleveland Browns owner) purchased the attraction and relaunched it as Goldrush Junction. Not long after, Herschend Enterprises bought the amusement park in 1976, renaming it Silver Dollar City. Yes, just like the theme park in Branson, Missouri.

Once Dolly Parton expressed interest in the park, Herschend Enterprises rebranded the park as Dollywood for the 1986 season. More than 30 years later, Dollywood continues to entertain guests daily.

2. Dolly Opened Dollywood to Give Back

Dolly Parton is known for her incredible generosity and love for all. You’ll find that many facts about Dollywood and Dolly Parton’s career are linked to her giving spirit.

Her interest in the theme park stemmed from her desire to give back to the Sevier County community. As she stated in a 2010 interview celebrating the 25th anniversary of Dollywood, “I always thought that if I made it big or got successful at what I had started out to do, that I wanted to come back to my part of the country and do something great, something that would bring a lot of jobs into this area.

In fact, Dolly has mentioned that her financial advisors thought purchasing the park was too risky. However, Dolly stuck with her gut feeling, bought the park, and turned it into the magnificent success we know today.

3. You Can Visit a Dolly Parton Museum

If you’ve ever had a desire to learn everything about Dolly Parton and discover more facts about Dollywood, visit the Chasing Rainbows museum inside Dollywood. Guests can browse through artifacts, pictures, and more, all detailing Dolly’s life and accomplishments.


4. Dolly Parton Won’t Ride the Dollywood Rides!

Did you know that Dolly Parton cannot ride the attractions in her own theme park?? She admits to suffering from incredible motion sickness, which means the last thing she wants to do is go on a roller coaster. I don’t blame her!

5. Dollywood is the #1 Employer in Sevier County

With more than 3,000 employees (and counting) on the payroll, Dollywood is consistently ranked as the top employer throughout Sevier County. It looks like Dolly’s dream of helping her community has come true and far exceeded expectations.

6. Dollywood Stopped Traffic for 6 Miles on Opening Day

When Dollywood first opened in 1986, the theme park was already so popular that it halted Pigeon Forge traffic to a complete stop for six entire miles on US-441. And you thought driving on the Pigeon Forge Parkway was bad!

7. Dolly’s Secret Apartment

Everyone needs a place where they can destress and relax. My happy place is a coffee shop, while Dolly Parton’s place happens to be a secret apartment in Dollywood. Above Apple Jack’s sandwich restaurant, you’ll find her hidden apartment. That is, if you can find the entrance.


8. Several Eagles Call Dollywood Home

Inside Dollywood, you can check out the Eagle Mountain Sanctuary, which is the country’s largest presentation of bald eagles. These majestic birds live in a 30,000 square foot aviary house, as they are deemed non-releasable to the wild for their safety. Members of the American Eagle Foundation are onsite to teach visitors about the birds, their habitat, and show just how magnificent these creatures truly are. Talk about one of the more wild facts about Dollywood, right?

9. You Can Visit Dolly Parton’s Childhood Home… Almost

While the authentic Parton family cabin is still standing in Sevier County, you can visit a replica of the home during your Dollywood vacation. Both Dolly’s mother and brother helped to construct the exact copy of the family cabin. See what life was like for a young Dolly Parton as you tour the home.

10. Now You Can Stay at Dollywood

In 2015, Dollywood opened the DreamMore Resort with the intent of providing guests a fully immersive Dollywood experience from the moment they arrive. The resort is situated just a few minutes away from the theme park and water park and offers several different room types to accommodate all types of families.

Did You Know these 10 Facts about Dollywood?

I told you a few of the facts about Dollywood were surprising. Of course, there is always more to learn about Dollywood. And the best way to do so is by experiencing it first hand. Purchase your Dollywood tickets from Reserve Pigeon Forge and start planning your vacation in the Smoky Mountains today.


Dollywood excels at keeping things fresh and fun. The Pigeon Forge theme park is always adding some new attraction, ride or show, and this year that tradition continues. To get the scoop on what’s new at Dollywood 2017, read on.


Drop Line/Dollywood

For the upcoming season, Dollywood plans to open two new rides, debut a new show and add a special event to its harvest festival. In addition, Dollywood’s Splash Country has an all-new waterslide opening 2017.

Drop Line

Summer 2017

Drop Line is a thrilling new ride featuring a 200-foot tall free fall. This drop tower ride, located in Timber Canyon, soars 20 stories over Dollywood. You’ll get an epic view of the parpen two new rides, debut a new show and add a special event to its harvest festival. In addition, Dollywood’s Splash Country has an all-new waterslide opening 2017.k before plummeting to the ground. It’s sure to be a new favorite for adrenaline seekers!

Whistle Punk Chaser

Summer 2017

If your kid always wants to go on roller coasters but isn’t quite old enough yet, this ride is for them! Whistle Punk is a junior coaster with twists and turns just wild enough to prepare younger riders for the big thrills that await on Thunderhead, Dollywood’s award-winning wooden coaster.

TailSpin Racer

May 2017

At Dollywood’s Splash Country guests can experience wet and wild twists, turns and thrills on the all-new TailSpin Racer. This 5-story waterslide features high-speed aqua tubes and a splash down finish. It’s also supposed to have a fantastic view of the park. Total bonus!


Spring 2017

What’s new at Dollywood in 2017 as far as shows go? The high-energy, multi-media dance, light and fusion show knows as enra is set to perform at the park. They gained fame on America’s Got Talent in 2015.

The Great Pumpkin LumiNights Event

October 2017

For the first time ever Dollywood will be opening during the evening in October to welcome the spectacular Great Pumpkin LumiNights event. This event will occur alongside the Southern Gospel Jubilee.

This is the latest on what’s new at Dollywood 2017. Which addition are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments.

Be sure to get a head start on your Pigeon Forge vacation plans by purchasing Dollywood tickets now.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Pigeon Forge to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Picture this:  Snow falling softly, holiday lights aglow and festive Christmas cheer filling the air.  Add to the scene the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and you’ve got Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, a true winter wonderland worth exploring this holiday season.  Want to know more about things to do in Pigeon Forge during December?  Read on.   

Gatlinburg WinterPigeon Forge Winterfest highlights the best of winter in the Smokies.  Over five million lights glow in celebration of the season, with the merriment stretching from Sevierville to Gatlinburg. 

One of the best ways to see the brilliant holiday lights displays is aboard a Gatlinburg Trolley Ride of Lights.  Almost as much fun as a ride in Santa’s sleigh, a trolley tour showcases the best spots to see all of the magic of Winterfest.  Even better, the trolleys are heated so you’re sure to be nice and warm while you take in the sights.  The Winterfest Trolley Tour of Lights departs nightly from Patriot Park in December at 6:30pm, 7:30pm and 8:00pm and is inexpensive too.  Tickets to ride are only $5 per person. 

Dollywood_CMASAnother one of my favorite things to do in Pigeon Forge during December is visit DollywoodSmoky Mountain Christmas brings old fashioned fun to the forefront of Christmas.  Park goers are treated to a breathtaking display of holiday lights, with over four million lights decorating Dollywood. You simply have to watch Carol of the Trees.  Thousands of lights synchronize with holiday music to transform Rivertown Lake into a seasonal symphony.  Kids will love the jolly good time of The Parade of Lights.  Featuring floats adorned with bright lights, it marches through the park nightly.  Spectacular holiday shows and shopping are also part of the delight of Dollywood at Christmas.  A Christmas Carol, Christmas in the Smokies and O Holy Night are three of my favorite productions, while holiday shopping at unique arts and crafts vendors lets me find the perfect gifts for family and friends. 

Over at the Titanic Museum you can experience a holiday of dreams.  Titanic’s holiday spirit shines through Edwardian decor and Christmas charm/ The ship will be aglow. Come exchange greetings with the Titanic crew or enjoy the glittering lights and the festive decorations.

If that’s not enough to keep you busy, there are also Pigeon Forge Christmas shows performances in December.  Two of the best are Dixie Stampede Christmas and Smoky Mountain Opry.  Both shows focus on the reason for the season and perform holiday classics sure to warm your heart. 

Be sure to stop by The Incredible Christmas Place during your visit.  The South’s largest Christmas shopping village is a premier place for Christmas gifts and collectibles. It celebrates Christmas every day of the year, but is even better (if possible) during the actual holiday season. Located across the street from the picturesque Inn at Christmas Place, both have distinguished Bavarian architecture and delightful displays.

To make your vacation experiencing things to do in Pigeon Forge even more cozy this winter stay at a Smoky Mountain Cabin.  You’ll be surrounded by the Smoky Mountains and truly be able to bask in the glow of a Smoky Mountain Christmas.  Many cabins have fireplaces, and hot tubs, adding even more ways for you to relax on your winter getaway.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Pigeon Forge to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Festivals are a highlight of any Dollywood vacation. No matter what time of year you visit, the Pigeon Forge Theme Park has special shows, activities and entertainment planned to make your day at the park even more exciting. The featured festivals, along with the more than 40 rides and attractions, are part of the award-winning theme park located in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains.


Dollywood Festivals in 2017

DOLLYWOOD_(011)Festival of Nations
March 18 – April 9
Celebrate music, dance, food and art from around the world during this captivating festival. New shows scheduled for this year include Rhythm of the Dance and Alash Ensemble.

BBQ & Bluegrass
May 26 – June 4
This free concert series has some of the biggest names in bluegrass music and some of the best BBQ in the country. Enjoy two of the best southern traditions at this Dollywood festival.

DOLLYWOOD_(010)Summer Lives Here
June 17 – August 6
Nightly fireworks show and the Great American Country Show will celebrate summer during The Great American Summer Festival.

National Southern Gospel & Harvest Celebration
September 29 – October 28
Southern gospel music takes center stage while master craftsmen demonstrate their skills at the National Southern Gospel & Harvest Celebration.

Dollywood_(025)Smoky Mountain Christmas
November 4 – January 1
This spectacular event features dazzling light displays, exciting live Christmas shows, Santa’s Workshop, the Polar Express Experience and more.

Which of the Dollywood festivals are you looking forward to the most?

Reserve a Dollywood vacation package today to experience all the 150-acre theme park has to offer.  You can easily combine your day at the park with Splash Country, Dolly Parton’s waterpark located next door.  Both are two of the best ways to have family fun in the Smokies.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Pigeon Forge to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

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: Winter Carnival of Magic – March 9-11, 2017
Dates: Gatlinburg Improv Fest – (2017 dates TBD)

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 21-25

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: 2017 festival dates to be determined

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 1-2, 2017

This 2-day fishing tournament on April 1st and 2nd, 2017 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 on October 7th and 8th, 2017.

Spring Rod Run
Dates: 2017 festival dates to be decided

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.

Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage Festival
Dates: April 11-15, 2017

As winter fades away, and spring blooms, the Smokies celebrate with the 67th 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
May 9-13, 2017

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: May 11, 2017

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 5-8pm. Entry is free, but a $10 tasting pass needs to be purchased for sampling.

Bloomin’ Barbeque and Bluegrass Festival
Dates: May 19-20, 2017

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: 2017 festival dates to be determined

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: June 10-July 29, 2017

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: 2017 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! 2017 dates to be determined by the National Park Service.

Great American Summer Festival at Dollywood
Dates: 2017 festival dates to be determined

When it comes to Pigeon Forge festivals, Dollywood leads the pack – especially with the Great American Summer Festival. 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, 2017

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 16-20, 2017

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 8-9 2017

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, 2017

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: 2017 festival dates to be determined

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. 

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: November 1, 2016- February 28, 2017

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: 2017 dates to be determined

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 7-10, 2016 with 2017 dates to be determined.

Smoky Mountain Christmas at Dollywood
Dates: 2017 dates to be determined

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 5th to January 1st, with 2017 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!

With the holidays right around the corner, it’s beginning to look at lot like Christmas in the Smokies. Pigeon Forge embraces the season with a mountain of festive things to do in Pigeon Forge during Christmas. To discover all that’s happening in this Smoky Mountain town this season, read on.

Christmas ThinkstockPhotos-489989954

Oh what fun it is!

Trolley Ride of Lights

Through January 31, 2017, you can hop aboard a Gatlinburg Trolley to see the Winter Magic Light displays. The guided, enclosed excursions leave from traffic light #5 and go through downtown and Highway 321. Multiple tours leave nightly at 6:30pm, 7:30pm and 8:30pm. Cost is $5 per person.

Dollywood CMAS FB1 RSZ


Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival

One of the best things to do in Pigeon Forge during Christmas is attend Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival. Park goers are treated to a breathtaking display of holiday lights, with over four million lights decorating Dollywood. Carol of the Trees dazzles with synchronized lights and holiday music, transforming Rivertown Lake into a seasonal symphony. Similarly, kids will love the jolly good time of The Parade of Many Colors. Featuring floats adorned with bright lights, it marches through the park nightly. You can also meet Rudolph and Friends at Holly Jolly Junction, and watch spectacular shows like A Christmas Carol and Christmas in the Smokies.

Shadrack FB1

Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland/Facebook

Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland

Known as the “world’s largest drive-through, fully synchronized, LED Christmas light and music show,” this show is a highlight of the Christmas season. Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland is located at the Tennessee Smokies Baseball Stadium at 3540 Line Drive. The light display is open from November 4, 2016 – January 8, 2017 from dusk to 10pm every night (later on weekends).

Gatlinburg Christmas Parade Polar_Express-500x369

Polar Express Float from Gatlinburg Christmas Parade.

Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade

Downtown Gatlinburg hosts the 41st annual Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade on December 2 at 7:30pm. The larger-than-life parade features dozens of marching bands from Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, George and Alabama, whimsical balloon characters, more than 100 floats, and, of course, Santa Claus.

Biltmore CMAS FB1


Biltmore Candlelight Christmas Evenings

The Christmas at Biltmore Celebration, a grand tradition, is scheduled for November 4, 2016 through January 8, 2017. America’s largest home is decorated with dozens of Christmas trees, hundreds of wreaths, bows and poinsettias, as well as miles of evergreen garland and thousands of ornaments. In addition, there is a massive 35-foot Fraser Fir tree adorned with beautiful ornaments and presents.


Christmas at Smoky Mountain Opry

Christmas Shows

Another one of the great things to do in Pigeon Forge during Christmas is enjoy holiday entertainment. You can get into the spirit of the season with spectacular productions celebrating with merriment, and a bit of mayhem for good measure.

Christmas at Lumberjack Adventure
Follow two families in the Christmas tree trade – the McGregors and the Wheelers – through a Christmas story of epic proportions complete with jaw-dropping acrobatic and aerial performances, Lumberjack skills, and Christmas surprises.

Christmas at Smoky Mountain Opry
A festive holiday experience, complete with flying sugar plum fairies and angels, dancing elves, magical reindeer and an appearance from Santa Claus. The show also features the largest living nativity in the area, as well as a huge band, beautiful costumes, and special effects.

Dixie Stampede Christmas
Guests can enjoy a magical show, complete with twinkling lights, evergreens, old-fashioned holiday costumes, Christmas music favorites, elves and more. Plus, a festive four-course meal is served during the show.

These are only a few of the shows that will delight your family this holiday season in Pigeon Forge.

Make these things to do in Pigeon Forge during Christmas part of your holiday plans. Your family will thank you!

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Gatlinburg to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

I’d like you to take a moment and imagine spending Christmas in the Smoky Mountains. You wake up on Christmas morning to the following scene:

After greeting the day, you walk into the kitchen of the stunning cabin your family rented for the holidays. You grab a cup of coffee, walk past the Christmas tree surrounded by presents and grab your coat. You walk out to the porch and spend the morning relaxing in a rocking chair, sipping your coffee while the sun rises over the picturesque Smoky Mountains, waiting for the rest of the family to wake up.

While you were reading that, I’ve already rented my cabin and packed my bags for Pigeon Forge. Aside from the marvelous views and warm holiday feeling, you simply cannot top Christmas in the Smoky Mountains.

Still need some convincing? Here are 7 reasons why you need to spend Christmas in the Smoky Mountains.

Clingman's Dome in Winter, photo by Doug Kerr / flickr

Clingman’s Dome in Winter, photo by Doug Kerr / flickr

1. The Pristine Weather

I was born and raised in New England. Therefore, I prefer my winter holidays on the colder side. I don’t need to be buried under a blizzard, but a few snowflakes or flurries will do the trick.

When you’re up that far in the mountains, you’re pretty much guaranteed a chilly morning while you open presents or gather around for breakfast. When you choose to celebrate Christmas in the Smoky Mountains, you’re bound for perfect holiday weather – not too hot, but definitely crisp. And, if you’re lucky, you’ll experience a bit of snow!

To enjoy this perfect winter weather, head to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park for a hike. In the case of snowfall, watch your footing and follow all signs and/or regulations put in place by park rangers. Our trail guides will help you plan for a memorable holiday hike:


Santa's Workshop at Dollywood / Facebook

Santa’s Workshop at Dollywood / Facebook

2. Outstanding Christmas Attractions in Pigeon Forge

Everyone knows that Pigeon Forge is packed with exciting attractions. From Dollywood to the Titanic Museum, there’s nonstop fun and entertainment for the whole family. But have you experienced these attractions and theme parks during the Christmas season? Visit these Pigeon Forge sites for a memorable Christmas vacation.

When celebrating Christmas in the Smoky Mountains, you have to go to Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival. From November to early January each year, the park lights up with spectacular holiday shows, meet and greet opportunities with Santa and friends, moving Sunday worship services, and an over-the-top holiday parade. Dollywood really knows how to celebrate the Christmas season!

Another magical Christmas attraction in the greater Smoky Mountain area is the Trolley Tour of Lights. Available in both Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, the trolley ride takes you through the most notable areas of town – all glowing with holiday LED displays. If this trolley ride doesn’t put you in the Christmas spirit, I don’t know what will. When spending Christmas in the Smoky Mountains, riding the trolley and seeing the light displays should be at the top of your list.

For even more bright holiday fun, head to the Tennessee Smokies Baseball Stadium for Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland. While at the attraction, guests can marvel at the synchronized LED display and visit Santa’s Workshop for even more holiday excitement. Enjoying Christmas in the Smoky Mountains is not complete without a trip to this wonderland!

Ober Gatlinburg / Facebook

Ober Gatlinburg / Facebook

3. Play in the Snow

What Christmas in the Smoky Mountains would be complete without playing in the snow? Head to Ober Gatlinburg for extraordinary winter activities including:

  • Skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • Snow Tubing
  • A Kids Snow Zone
  • Freestyle Terrain Park
  • Ski/Snowboard Lessons
  • And More

Ober Gatlinburg is great for those who want to experience the thrill of skiing/snowboarding and those who would rather go snow tubing. There’s something for everyone at the winter park. Don’t forget to ride the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway for jaw-dropping views of the Smoky Mountains in winter!

Remember to reserve your seats for a Christmas show!

Remember to reserve your seats for a Christmas show!

4. Reserve Your Tickets for a Christmas Show

All of your favorite Smoky Mountain shows transform for the holiday season. From hilarious comedy shows to mesmerizing productions with outstanding musical performances, there’s no better way to spend Christmas in the Smoky Mountains that at one of the top Christmas shows.

These holiday productions are extremely popular, so book your tickets for the following Smoky Mountain Christmas shows today:

You don’t want to miss these renowned Christmas shows this holiday season.

Finish your Christmas shopping at the Tanger Outlets - Christmas in the Smoky Mountains

Finish your Christmas shopping at the Tanger Outlets.

5. Finish Your Last Minute Shopping in the Smoky Mountains

If you’re like me, you’ve waited until the last possible minute to do your Christmas shopping. It’s not an ideal scenario, but it happens. Between the main strip in Gatlinburg and the Tanger Outlets in Pigeon Forge, you’ll have plenty of places to quickly finish up your holiday shopping.

Of course, there’s no better gift than the gift of travel. Reserve Pigeon Forge makes it easy for customers to purchase a gift certificate, valid for attraction, show, experience tickets and even hotel rooms. It’s all you need to give a great vacation!

6. Christmas Pancakes. Enough Said.

Gatlinburg is the pancake capital of the South. Don’t believe me? Watch this and you will! But be warned: your stomach will growl the entire time.

Celebrate Christmas in the Smoky Mountains with the festive holiday pancake specials from Gatlinburg’s top pancake houses. I promise your stomach will thank you.

Spend your Christmas vacation in a Smoky Mountain cabin.

Spend your Christmas vacation in a Smoky Mountain cabin.

7. The Perfect Lodging Options

We’ve all seen the quaint cabins with a snowfall background illustrated in our favorite holiday books. I firmly believe these scenes were inspired by the cabins all across the Smoky Mountains.

Renting a cabin is the key to a memorable Christmas in the Smoky Mountains. Rental companies offer everything from magnificent cabins designed to fit large and extended families, to cozy cabins for the couple looking to get away for the holidays. There’s a cabin style and location for everyone.

Although, if you’re not a fan of cabins, I know just the place for your Christmas in the Smoky Mountains vacation. Why not stay where it’s Christmas all year long? The Inn at Christmas Place offers guests a holiday experience unlike any other. From the decor to the amenities, you’ll feel as though you’ve been plopped in the middle of the North Pole.

Reserve Your Christmas in the Smoky Mountains Vacation Today

The holidays will be here before you know it. Do you have your cabin reserved? Have you purchased Dollywood admission and show tickets? Let us help! After all, our savings are year-round, not just during the holidays.