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27th Annual Winterfest 2016 in Pigeon Forge Celebrates the Best of Southern Living. This year's festivities begin in early November and do not conclude until the end of February. The annual four-month wintry celebration is loaded with things to do with kids including family-style entertainment, special events, miles of twinkling lights, shopping bargains and Southern mountain-style hospitality. Winterfest Pigeon Forge Holiday Lights

Here is the scoop. Pigeon Forge twinkles with thousands of lights and offers hundreds of ways to have fun with kids. It has always been a place that attracts families but during the holiday season it truly becomes a spot for three generations to share good times. The crisp, invigorating mountain air makes hiking an energizing activity and there are no mosquitoes to fight. 

Each year Winterfest delivers an atmosphere conducive to celebrating. Every route around town is adorned with lights, some with iconic displays including the signature snowflakes along the Parkway all fitted with energy-saving LED bulbs. Bonus Points: The Pigeon Forge Fun Time Trolleys conduct a Winterfest Tour of Lights with hosts and hostesses onboard.   Pigeon forge Winterfest Trolley Tours

For those who make shopping part of every vacation, Pigeon forge is a rewarding spot. In town shops carry an array of tempting gift items including tasty preserves and baking mixes. Many shops at The Island also offer unique Appalachian crafts including handcrafted toys, leather works and ceramics.  The Historic Old Mill a landmark on the trolley route, is the best place to browse for gifts and memorabilia of the Tennessee mountains and one-of-a-kind souvenirs. At the Old Mill Village artisans display their talents, spinning, weaving and throwing pots for shopper to watch. Bonus Points: Connecting to the Old Mill Square is Patriot Park, a 16-acre park with a walkway along the river.

The Forge is also a paradise for bargain hunters, with more than 200 stores found at Belz Factory Outlet World, Pigeon Forge Factory Outlet Mall, Tangier Factory Outlet Center, Z-Buda Outlet Mall, River Vista Factory Stores, and River View Factory Outlets, all with bargain prices well below retail. Bonus Points: Bell Tower Square, the South's largest year-round Christmas village, offers thousands of unique items including exceptional toys, and distinctive Christmas decor.Pigeon Forge Winterfest Holiday Lights at Dolywood

Smoky Mountain Christmas at Dollywood (Early November to early January) adds to Winterfest's light displays with more than four millions lights and the nightly lighted Christmas parade. In addition to memory-making musical entertainment visitors may enjoy the Polar Express 4-D Experience, a most magical cinematic experience full of multi-sensory thrills and surprises.

From music and dancing to laughter and magic, the city's theaters present wholesome family programs guaranteed to delight multiple generations. Audiences are treated to amazing costumes, heart pounding music, thrilling horsemanship, racing ostriches, mind-reading pigs, fire-eaters, jugglers and perhaps the best Elvis impersonator outside of Graceland. Tickle your funny bone at Elwood Smooch’s Ole Smoky Hoedown where the art of laughing has been has mastered. Audiences enjoy one liners, banjos playing, and gospel singing. Black Bear Jamboree Dinner & Show creates comical chaos. Pointed one-liners, jokes music and songs are ideal for young families. The Comedy Barn Theater, the family version of a nightclub, provides reasons for everyone to laugh with ventriloquists providing comedic banter on stage as dogs jump over children selected from the audience.
In February the annual Saddle Up! celebration concludes Winterfest  featuring concerts by some of America’s finest western musicians and cowboy poets. Bonus Points: Events include the Cowboy Symphony, concerts, a chuck wagon cook off, and Cowboy Church.

Make it happen. The four-month-long celebration runs from early November through the end of February 2016. Call toll-free 1-800-WINTERFEST FREE, (865) 429-7350 or visit

Content and images provided by Pigeon Forge CVB. Comments by Nancy Nelson-Duac, Curator of the Good Stuff for the Family Travel Files. Copyright updated 2016.

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