Celebrate the holiday season in the Smokies with the Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade! This annual Gatlinburg event is now celebrating its 39th year, and the parade is free for everyone to attend. Read on for everything you need to know about this Smoky Mountain tradition.
(See Also: Plan a Smoky Mountain Christmas Vacation in 5 Easy Steps)
When and Where
The Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade takes place in downtown Gatlinburg on Friday, December 5th. The parade begins at Traffic Light #1A on Hwy 321 at 7:30 p.m. and ends at Traffic Light #10 at approximately 9:00 p.m. Most people sit or stand along the Parkway to enjoy the best views of the action. Since there are over 80,000 spectators expected to show up for the Gatlinburg Christmas parade, be sure to get a viewing spot early!
What to Expect
The Gatlinburg Christmas parade features over 100 entries, including more than a dozen marching bands from Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama and Virginia. In addition, there will be giant helium balloons, floats, performers and more. The parade route is illuminated by the Gatlinburg Winter Magic holiday lights displays, which add to the festive spirit in the air. Your entire family will feel the excitement as Christmas comes to Gatlinburg on this wonderful evening!
Traffic and Parking
The Parkway through downtown Gatlinburg will be closed during the parade and for a brief time before and after the event. The city maintains two large parking garages at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies and at the McMahan Parking Garage at Traffic Light #3. In addition, there are several privately owned lots along River Road that usually charge a flat fee. If you arrive early, you might even find some free street parking on River Road!
Where to Stay
Be close to all of the holiday action with a stay at Alpine Chalet Rentals! We offer a variety of affordable chalet and cabin rentals that are sure to make your visit to Gatlinburg extra special. Our rentals feature the very best amenities including hot tubs, Jacuzzis, fireplaces, pool tables, home theaters, and air hockey. Whether planning a romantic escape or a family reunion, we have the perfect cabin to meet your needs. Visit our Cabins in Gatlinburg page to start planning your winter vacation in the Smokies!