Fall and winter offer completely different travel experiences in Sevierville, Tennessee – and both are definitely worth seeing.
By the end of September, cornstalks and pumpkins begin creeping onto the porches and front lawns of folks in East Tennessee. The fall season is intoxicating with its crisp, cool air and vibrant color that blankets the nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park. So it’s easy to see why the celebrations begin in Sevierville well before the trees turn.
The official Harvest Fest celebration runs throughout the month of October and is sealed tighter than a jelly jar with down home events, craft celebrations and harvest decorations.
Dumplin Valley Bluegrass Festival (September 17-19) highlights native music with big name Bluegrass entertainers such as Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, Balsam Range and more at Dumplin Valley Farm. While local artist Tino’s Smoky Mountain Homecoming Robert (Oct. 2-4) focuses on mountain arts and crafts plus live demonstrations like bee keeping, shoe making and wood working right outside his farmhouse gallery. For those who want to “get lost” in the season, Kyker Farms Corn Maze (Sept. 25- Oct. 31) is a great fall attraction. Here guests have the chance to wind their way through an easy or difficult maze, by daylight or flashlight, and even pick a pumpkin from the patch.
Even with all the events and fun, the stars of the season are still the leaves. The color begins changing on the mountain tops around the end of September and marches downward for the rest of the month – providing weeks and weeks of color. Peak color times vary from year to year, due to environmental factors like temperature and rainfall. On average, mid-October through mid-November offers the most vibrant display and provides a perfect segue to Sevierville’s Winterfest Celebration.
Beginning November 9, Sevierville and her sister cities, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, sparkle. The area’s Smoky Mountain Winterfest (Nov. 9 – Feb. 29) celebration is now in its 26th year and features millions of twinkling lights along the main Parkway, which connects the three cities in a 25 mile stretch.
One hundred percent of Sevierville’s Winterfest lights, displays and attractions are LED, which equates to a 90% energy savings for the city and is gentler on the environment. This is also true for must-see Winterfest attractions, like Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland at Smokies Stadium. This spectacular show is billed as the World’s Largest drive-through, fully synchronized LED light show. Fans of the holidays can also get in the Christmas spirit with a visit to Thomas Kinkade’s Christmas of Light show, opening November 1 in Sevierville.
Guests who visit Sevierville must also visit the theme park of hometown girl, Dolly Parton. Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas (Nov. 5 – Dec. 30) fills the park millions of lights, Christmas shows and holiday foods.
Whether you’re on the main Parkway, or visiting a Winterfest attraction, viewing Smoky Mountain Winterfest lights with friends and family is a great way to get in the holiday spirit. For added fun while viewing the lights, visitors are encouraged to make a quick stop on their way into town at the Sevierville Visitor Center on Hwy 66 (1.5 miles from I-40 Exit 407). There they can purchase a pair of Winterfest in 3D glasses while supplies last for only $1. The glasses shift each point of light into a snowflake, adding even more interest to the intricate light displays.
Winterfest lights are a huge draw, but once guests arrive in Sevierville they also find incredible shopping, shows and attractions. Sevierville is best known for its 150 high end name brand outlet stores, like Michael Kors, Coach, Polo Ralph Lauren and more. Boutiques and galleries in town feature items like fine art, antiques and collectibles. Visitors can even take a piece of the Winterfest celebration home by visiting stores like Country Christmas & Collectibles where Winterfest style lighting displays are for sale and custom displays are built to order.
The Winterfest fun continues through February with holiday shows and year-round attractions.
For more information about visiting Sevierville and the Great Smoky Mountains during our fall Harvest Fest and Winterfest, contact the Sevierville Chamber of Commerce. 1-888-SEVIERVILLE (738-4378) or online at www.VisitSevierville.com.
When You Go:
Dumplin Valley Bluegrass Festival
Robert A. Tino Smoky Mountain Homecoming
Kyker Farms Korn Maze
Dollywood Theme Park
Shadrack's Christmas Wonderland