Escape to the Great Smoky Mountains for Autumn Festivities
For the Great Smoky Mountains, autumn is the most exciting season of the year. Not only do the leaves change colors to drape the valleys in a festive cloak of gold and ruby, but the local mountain towns also awaken to a burst of activity and celebrations! Make the most of the season’s offerings at these Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg events.
Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival
September 3 – November 30, 2022
The Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival is an umbrella festival encompassing all Pigeon Forge, Sevierville and Gatlinburg events. Each town offers a wealth of fall-related things to do:
- In Gatlinburg, the streets are festooned with seasonal decorations and life-sized scarecrow figures to match events like Oktoberfest at Ober, the Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair, the Gatlinburg Chili Cookoff, and autumn foliage viewing at the Gatlinburg SkyLift Park and Anakeesta.
- In Pigeon Forge, The Island explodes with seasonal decorations and photo opportunities amid family-friendly dining, holiday shopping, and seasonal moonshine offerings at Ole Smoky Distillery.
- In Sevierville, the Harvest Festival involves driving tours around fall-colored landmarks like Bluff Mountain or Douglas Lake, adventures through pumpkin patches and corn mazes at Kyker Farms, and more.
With so many events happening across all three Smoky Mountain towns, you could fill an entire week with beautiful scenery, Appalachian tunes, mouth-watering harvest treats, and locally-made crafts!
OktOBERfest at Ober Gatlinburg
September 23 – October 30, 2022
One of the most popular and memorable Gatlinburg events is, of course, only found at Ober Gatlinburg. The 13th Annual OktOBERfest kicks off the first days of sweater weather with daily live performances, German-inspired food and delicious beer. The Seasons of Ober Restaurant offers a special menu of traditional Bavarian recipes and treats such as bratwursts, schnitzel, turkey legs, strudel, and salted pretzels.
After dinner, walk off that food baby with a stroll through the outdoor vendor tent and indoor retail mall to pick out some unique souvenirs, apparel and gifts. Then, proceed to the Bier Garten to do what Oktoberfest implores you to do: sample a range of Bavarian beers! For $25, the OktOBERfest Beer Card will get you four 16 oz beers.
While you sip on a cozy, amber märzen or a crisp, golden pilsner, sit back and enjoy some live music. Each day of the festival, you can catch the Smoky Mountain Oompah Band sharing traditional Bavarian folk music, dance, and lederhosen dress. Between the scrumptious food, traditional beers, and on-stage talent, OktOBERfest at Ober Gatlinburg is a month-long cultural celebration you won’t want to miss!
Harvest Festival at Dollywood
September 23 – October 29, 2022
Dollywood is always bustling with activity at this time of year. The annual Harvest Festival is back once more through the end of October to transform the amusement park into an autumn paradise. Embrace the rush of crisp leafy air and take in splendid views of the fall-colored mountains on any of their 50 amusement and roller coaster rides. Let your autumn harvest-loving nose lead the way through the park to find autumn treats like pumpkin macaroni and smoked brat with potato hash and red cabbage jam. Explore unique handmade crafts from guest artisans from around the country, and then settle in for your choice of bluegrass, gospel, country, and Appalachian folk music from an impressive concert list. Indoor and outdoor performances include appearances from artists like The Heartland Quartet, Siler Family, and Tim Lovelace.
Coinciding with the Harvest Festival is Dollywood’s Great Pumpkin LumiNights. During this family-friendly Halloween event, the park comes alive with the glowing light of over a thousand carved pumpkins. The festive lighting displays feature swathes of gorgeous sunflowers, artistic sculptures, gigantic pumpkins weighing up to 1,500 pounds, and a 40-foot tall tree of carved pumpkins. While the Harvest Festival delights your senses with food, music, and entertainment, Dollywood’s Great Pumpkin LumiNights is a magical experience best shared with kids and loved ones.
Southern Gospel Fall Festival at Biblical Times Theater
October 13 – October 29, 2022
Praise 96.3 and David’s Abbey Carpet and Floors present the 2nd Annual Southern Gospel Fall Festival at Biblical Times Theater. This Pigeon Forge event takes place Thursday through Saturday each week, featuring four daily performances from gospel musicians like The Isbells, Isaac’s Well, Tabb Family Music, The Gibsons, and more.
Lodging in the Smokies
There are plenty of top-notch hotels in the Great Smoky Mountains area to make your stay during the autumn festivities comfortable. However, the Hampton Inn Gatlinburg is an excellent choice due to its proximity to the heart of the action. Not only is it conveniently situated in downtown Gatlinburg on the Parkway, but it’s also a short walk to the Ober Gatlinburg Tram stop. Every room comes with a private balcony with views of the city or the nearby creek, plus free Wi-Fi, free parking and complimentary breakfast. Enjoy a luxurious stay in a king- or queen-sized guest room outfitted with modern décor, a flat-screen television, and an optional fireplace and whirlpool tub. The Hampton Inn in Gatlinburg is ideal for those looking to attend OktOBERfest at Ober Gatlinburg, the Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair, and other Gatlinburg Harvest Festival events.
If you’re more interested in the Pigeon Forge Harvest Festival events, like Biblical Times’ Southern Gospel Fall Festival and Dollywood’s Harvest Festival and Great Pumpkin LumiNights, the Hilton Garden Inn Pigeon Forge should be your top pick. The Hilton Garden Inn is just off the Pigeon Forge Parkway, only four miles away from Dollywood and a variety of other local attractions and restaurants. Take advantage of their onsite restaurant’s freshly prepared breakfast to start your mornings off strong, and then relax at the end of a long day at the indoor or outdoor pool. Their double queen rooms and junior suites are perfect for families, while couples will love the deluxe king suite with a balcony and fireplace. Accessible rooms are also available for those with hearing or physical disabilities.
As if the panoramic mountain scenes of changing colors weren’t reason enough for a visit, the upcoming Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg events will ensure your time is well-spent. The local autumnal celebrations combine harvest treats of apple and pumpkin spice with traditional musical performance, magical lights to delight even the youngest eyes, and good cheer all around. What better way is there to greet the autumn season than with a getaway to the beautiful and festive Smokies?
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