By Jim Watson

You might think the end of summer signals an end to fun family vacations for another year, but in the Great Smoky Mountains, there’s plenty of excitement left. From November through February, Pigeon Forge, TN is home to the popular Winterfest. You’ll find enough indoor and outdoor activities, food, and fun to keep the whole family entertained.

Celebrate the Season in the Great Smoky Mountains

Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and surrounding towns deck their halls for the holidays, and they’re inviting you and your family to join in the celebration. Starting in early November, Pigeon Forge is transformed into a magical fairyland with more than 5 million twinkling lights. Wander among the quaint shops downtown and enjoy the old-fashioned atmosphere of Christmas in the mountains. The unique arts and crafts on display make wonderful presents for family and friends back home, but remember to spoil yourself with a gift or two of your own as well.

Winterfest officially begins with the lighting of the first bulbs on November 7th. Be on hand to share in the fun and enjoy free food, kids’ games, live entertainment, and even a fireworks display. And don’t forget to pick up a pair of complimentary Winterfest 3D glasses at the Sevierville Visitor Center on Route 66. Wearers will see each point of light as a twinkling snowflake, adding a magical feel to the evening.

Gatlinburg gets in on the act with their 24th Annual Festival of Trees. Dozens of ornately decorated Christmas trees make this an attraction guaranteed to put a grin on even old Scrooge’s face. Feel the joy of the Christmas season as you marvel at the beauty of these one-of-a-kind works of art. Best of all, proceeds from the Festival of Trees benefit the Smoky Mountain Area Rescue Ministries. The event runs from November 21st through the 25th.

Everyone Loves a Parade

December 2nd and 3rd are the dates to remember for the hottest parade ticket around. The fun begins at 7:30 p.m. in downtown Gatlinburg with what the Southeast Tourism Society calls a Top 20 Event. The 36th Annual Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade features lighted floats, marching bands, helium balloons, and equestrian teams. Bring a blanket and settle in to enjoy this popular event.

On December 3rd, Sevierville puts a down-home spin on their Christmas parade, with baton twirlers, pageant winners, and of course, an appearance by Santa himself. For the best view of this parade, claim your spot along Court Avenue in beautiful downtown Sevierville. The parade kicks off at 11 a.m., but arrive early to ensure a great seat.

Got a case of the winter blues? This year head to Pigeon Forge, TN to enjoy some old-fashioned family fun. The stunning light displays, beautifully decorated trees, and crowd-pleasing parades are sure to bring a smile to everyone’s face this season. Spend some time relaxing in the crisp air of the Great Smoky Mountains, and head home refreshed and ready to take on a new year.

Author's Bio: 

Jim Watson is Owner of Timbercreek Cabins offering lodging near Pigeon Forge. Cabin rentals are now available. Visit today for a complete listing of cabin rentals. © 2011, All Rights Reserved