Must See Events in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg

There are a bunch of amazing events in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg around the year. The natural beauty of the Smoky Mountains provides a stunning and captivating backdrop for any event. The picturesque landscapes and scenic vistas create a memorable and enchanting atmosphere for festival-goers. Additionally, these towns offer a plethora of tourist attractions, including theme parks, museums, and outdoor activities, which can enhance the overall festival experience and attract a diverse audience. At it’s core, the local communities in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg have a deep-rooted sense of pride and hospitality, eagerly supporting and participating in festivals. This community support adds to the festive spirit and contributes to the overall success and enjoyment of events in the area. Here are some of the must see events throughout the year!

Spring Events

Spring in the Smoky Mountains is an incredible time with the festivals and flowers blooming. Here’s some of the best events in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg in the Spring.

Dollywood’s “I Will Always Love You” Festival

Pigeon Forge during March 9th through April 14th. Held at Dollywood theme park, kick off the season with a festive event featuring new entertainment elements every Dolly fan will love like an updated version of Paradise Road, new show called Trio and an interactive singalong featuring Dolly’s biggest hits.

Dollywood opening day for 2024 is March 8th for season pass holders, and March 9th for the general public.

Chevys in the Smokys + Corvette Expo

In it’s 47th year, this annual car car show and swap meet celebrates Camaros, Chevelles, C10s, and all types of Chevrolet vehicles. They have also combined it with a Corvette Expo so you’ll see 1,000s of classic American cars. It’s all happening at the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge.

  • 2024 Dates are March 15-16

Ponies in the Smokies

Join us for Ponies in the Smokies car show featuring 108,000 square feet of indoor vendors and special displays. Come and enjoy the beautiful Smoky Mountains and kick off the 2024 car show season right! It’s all happening at the Sevierville Convention Center.

  • 2024 Dates are March 18-23

Great Smoky Easter Arts and Crafts Show

Unique handcrafted gifts and products produced by members of Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community are placed on display and offered for sale as they host their annual Easter show at the Gatlinburg Convention Center. Demonstrations are part of the show. The event is free and always a good time.

  • 2024 Dates are March 27-30

Dollywood’s “Flower & Food” Festival

Pigeon Forge during April 19th through June 9th. Held at Dollywood theme park, explore the larger-than-life blooming sculptures, dance under a picturesque Umbrella Sky, indulge in garden-fresh flavors and enjoy all-new indoor and outdoor entertainment. They have over a million blooming flowers on display.

Dollywood eagle
Dollywood eagle

Smoky Mountain Music Festival

Gatlinburg in April. More than 6500 groups from 29 states and Canada have participated in choral, band and orchestra events. The Smoky Mountain Music Festival has developed into one of the nation’s most exciting and educational festivals.

  • 2024 dates are April 12th, 19th, and 26th

Anakeesta’s Blooms & Tunes

Gatlinburg in April. Beginning April 14. and running through May 29, the mountain will feature larger-than-life spring-themed art installations, daily live music and entertainment, chef-inspired seasonal menu items and over 10,000 new blooms in Vista Gardens.

Spring Rod Run

Join the many automotive enthusiasts and come on out to the Pigeon Forge Rod Run, the area’s largest automotive event. The spring event features top 25 awards, ultimate 5 awards, a huge swap meet with hundreds of showcars and car corral, and a big cash giveaway. This event has been running ever since 1970 and all the action is over at Le Conte Center in Pigeon Forge

  • 2024 dates are April 18-20 and September 12-14

Bloomin’ BBQ and Bluegrass

Sevierville in May. Enjoy free admission and free concerts. Whether you’re enjoying toe-tapping tunes, devouring the nation’s best BBQ or simply enjoying the sights and sounds of one of the southeast’s top festivals, Bloomin’ BBQ is a weekend of fun for the whole family.

2024 dates are:

  • Friday, May 17, 2024 | 5pm – 10pm
  • Saturday, May 18, 2024 | 10am – 10pm

Smoky Mountain Scottish Festival

Townsend in May. Celebrating its 42nd year, the Smoky Mountain Scottish Festival and Games is Tennessee’s oldest festival of Scottish, Irish and Celtic culture. Presenting folk, roots, rock & pop music, highland athletics, pipes & drums, highland and Irish dance. Whisky tastings, vendors and a great selection of beer and food from the Scottish, Irish and British homelands. Enjoy a weekend of family fun in the beautiful foothills of Townsend, Tennessee, just outside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

  • 2024 dates are May 18 – 19th

Bruce Street Brew Fest

Sevierville in May. This is a fun microbrew festival and competition. Tickets are about $40 to try some of the best microbrews in the area.

  • 2024 dates are May 4 from 2 pm- 6pm

Gatlinburg’s Beans and Cornbread Festival

Gatlinburg in May. Celebrating traditional Appalachian food, this festival brings together local chefs and restaurants to showcase their best beans and cornbread recipes.

Summer Events

Here are the best events in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg during the Summer months, while it’s warm and the sun is shining.

Tastes of the Smokies

Townsend in June

Smoky Mountain Tunes and Tales

Gatlinburg in June to August. This summer-long festival in Gatlinburg features street performers, storytellers, musicians, and artisans, all showcasing the cultural heritage of the region.

Patriot Festival

Pigeon Forge on Fourth of July

Greenbrier Mountain Festival

Pittman Center in July

Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair

Gatlinburg in July and October. This renowned fair highlights the work of local artisans and craftsmen, displaying their handmade creations ranging from pottery and jewelry to woodwork and textiles.

Great Smoky Mountain Hot Air Balloon Festival

Townsend in August

Rotary Club Crafts Festival

Pigeon Forge in August

Smoky Mountain Fan Fest

Sevierville in August

Heros & Legends Wrestling Fanfest

Pigeon Forge in August


Still looking for the perfect family cabin in the Smoky Mountains?

Look no further, and book your stay with us!

Mountain views from the deck
Mountain views from the deck
Cabin view of the back deck
Cabin view of the back deck
Fire pit at dusk
Fire pit at dusk
7-seater hot tub
7-seater hot tub
Game room equipped with ping pong, foosball, and pool
Spacious Game room and movie space
Open living room
Open living room
Dedicated movie space + Popcorn machine!
Battle on the arcade games
Battle on the arcade games
Dining room + Kitchen island
Upstairs king master bedroom with mountain views
Upstairs king master bedroom with mountain views
Second upstairs king bedroom with views of the mountains
2nd upstairs king bedroom with views of the mountains
Downstairs queen bedroom and Roku TV
Downstairs queen bedroom and Roku TV
2 twin bunk beds in the open game room
Jacuzzi off the 2nd king bedroom
Newly remodeled kitchen + island
Newly remodeled kitchen + island
Driveway at dawn
Driveway at dawn
Access to the community pool
Access to the community pool

Fall Events

Here are the best events in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg in the Fall. This is one of the best times of the year because of the changing colors and harvest season.

Fall Rod Run

Join the many automotive enthusiasts and come on out to the Pigeon Forge Rod Run, the area’s largest automotive event. The spring event features top 25 awards, ultimate 5 awards, a huge swap meet with hundreds of showcars and car corral, and a big cash giveaway. This event has been running ever since 1970 and all the action is over at Le Conte Center in Pigeon Forge

  • 2024 dates are April 18-20 and September 12-14

Great Smoky Mountains Jeep Invasion

The Pigeon Forge area draws in over 12 million visitors per year, making it the perfect location to spend time with family and friends at the 12th annual Great Smoky Mountain Jeep® Invasion. Surrounded by the Great Smoky Mountains, the area has over 800 miles of breathtaking trails, many historic sites, a multitude of wildlife, and just a stone’s throw away from hundreds of stores. The area also offers over 100 restaurants including southern favorites, international cuisine, and several dinner theaters. The gathering is at the LeConte Center but you’ll also see Jeeps decked out everywhere along the Parkway and beyond.

  • 2024 dates are Aug 22-24

Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival

Gatlinburg in Mid-Sept through November. This festival celebrates the beauty of autumn and the harvest season with various events showcasing local crafts, music, and food.

Townsend Fall Heritage Festival

Townsend in September

Dumplin Valley Bluegrass Festival

Kodak in September

Wears Valley Fall Fest

Wears Valley in October

Grains & Grits

Townsend in November

Gatlinburg’s Chili cook-off

Gatlinburg in November

Winter Events in Pigeon Forge

Winter is an amazing time to go to the Smoky Mountains, with all the lights and Holiday charm. Here are the best events in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg in the winter.

Smoky Mountain Winterfest

Pigeon Forge in Nov to Feb. This festival transforms the region into a winter wonderland, with millions of twinkling lights, parades, and holiday-themed events, including the Christmas and New Year’s period. The lights usually stay up until mid-February.

Book Now: This goes to our secure portal to review your info and confirm booking.

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Which events in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg areas have you been to? Which were your favorites? We want to know…comment below!

Eat Like a Local in the Smoky Mountains

Everywhere you look on the Parkway, you’ll find restaurants trying to lure you in with their buffets, dinner shows, diners, etc. But these places aren’t where the locals go. Here’s your go-to guide to eat like a local in the Smoky Mountains. We’ve separated it out by town and included a brief description for each restaurant so that you can find the best place to eat.

Eat Like a Local in Pigeon Forge:

1. The Old Mill Restaurant ($$): Known for its traditional Southern cuisine and historic setting, featuring dishes like fried chicken and homemade desserts.

2. The Pottery House Café and Grille ($$): Located at Old Mill Square, this restaurant offers a cozy atmosphere and serves American cuisine, including sandwiches, soups, and salads.

3. Frizzle Chicken Cafe ($$): Start your morning off right with a fun-filled meal at Frizzle Chicken Café! Perfect spot to take the kids for breakfast or lunch. Their family-friendly restaurant in Pigeon Forge serves up delicious, Southern-style breakfast and lunch with a side of fun. There won’t be a minute of boredom during your meal as you watch their animatronic singing chickens!

4. The Local Goat ($$): This is probably the most popular restaurant in the area. It’s a gastropub offering a farm-to-table experience with a wide range of dishes, including burgers, salads, and locally sourced ingredients. They make everything from scratch, from the buns to the ketchup. Reservations are highly recommended as this place gets packed.

5. Bennett’s Pit Bar-B-Que ($$): This barbecue joint is popular among locals and visitors alike. They serve up delicious smoked meats like pulled pork, ribs, and brisket, along with classic sides like mac and cheese and baked beans.

6. The Apple Barn Cider Mill & General Store ($$): A Pigeon Forge institution, the Apple Barn is a favorite among locals. They serve hearty Southern fare, including apple fritters, fried chicken, and country-fried steak. Don’t forget to try their famous apple cider and apple butter!

7. Mama’s Farmhouse ($$): If you’re looking for a family-style dining experience, locals often recommend Mama’s Farmhouse. They offer an all-you-can-eat feast of Southern comfort food, including fried chicken, meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and cornbread.

8. The Local Goat Distillery ($$): For those interested in craft spirits, the Local Goat Distillery is a popular spot. They offer tastings of their locally distilled whiskey, moonshine, and other spirits, along with a small food menu featuring snacks and appetizers.

9. Blue Moose Burgers & Wings ($$): This family-friendly restaurant is known for its juicy burgers, flavorful wings, and a wide variety of sauces. They also have vegetarian options and a selection of craft beers.

10. Little Tokyo ($$): If you’re craving Japanese cuisine, Little Tokyo is a popular choice. They offer a range of sushi rolls, sashimi, teriyaki dishes, and other Japanese specialties in a cozy setting.

Eat Like a Local in Gatlinburg:

1. The Peddler Steakhouse ($$$): A long-standing local favorite specializing in hand-cut steaks, grilled to perfection, and served with delicious sides.

2. Cherokee Grill ($$): Known for its upscale mountain lodge ambiance, this restaurant offers a diverse menu featuring steaks, seafood, and regional favorites.

3. Best Italian Café & Pizzeria ($$): A family-owned Italian restaurant serving pizza, pasta, and classic Italian dishes in a relaxed atmosphere.

4. No Way Jose’s Mexican Cantina ($$): Are you looking for authentic Mexican food in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge? They combine the delicious and fresh flavors of Mexican dishes and mix it with a fun and family-friendly atmosphere. They have both Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg restaurant locations.

5. Crazy Mason Milkshake Bar ($): Indulge yourself in a crazy, and we mean crazy milkshake stacked high with all sorts of delectible treats. Your kids will go wild at the sight of these and their sugar high will last for hours.

5. The Park Grill ($$): Another popular steakhouse in Gatlinburg, The Park Grill is known for its wood-fired steaks, fresh seafood, and extensive salad bar. It has a cozy mountain lodge atmosphere and is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

6. The Donut Friar ($): For a delightful breakfast or snack, locals often visit The Donut Friar. Located in The Village Shops, this charming bakery offers freshly baked pastries, including their famous cinnamon bread and donuts. Pair it with a cup of coffee for a perfect start to the day.

7. Delauder’s Smoky Mountain BBQ ($): If you’re craving barbecue, locals recommend Delauder’s Smoky Mountain BBQ. They serve mouthwatering smoked meats like pulled pork, ribs, and chicken, along with delicious sides like baked beans and coleslaw. It’s a casual and authentic barbecue joint loved by locals.

8. The Greenbrier Restaurant ($$$): Tucked away in the Smoky Mountains, The Greenbrier Restaurant is known for its scenic views and excellent food. They offer a menu featuring Southern cuisine, including dishes like trout almondine, shrimp and grits, and prime rib.

9. The Alamo Steakhouse ($$): It’s been ranked the best steak of Pigeon Forge, so you won’t regret a visit to Alamo Steakhouse. With it’s aged steaks, burgers, soups, sides, and sauces, you can’t go wrong!

10. The Wild Plum Tea Room ($$): Located in Gatlinburg, this tea room is known for its charming atmosphere and delicious teas, sandwiches, and desserts.


Still looking for the perfect family cabin in the Smoky Mountains?

Look no further, and book your stay with us!

Mountain views from the deck
Mountain views from the deck
Cabin view of the back deck
Cabin view of the back deck
Fire pit at dusk
Fire pit at dusk
7-seater hot tub
7-seater hot tub
Game room equipped with ping pong, foosball, and pool
Spacious Game room and movie space
Open living room
Open living room
Dedicated movie space + Popcorn machine!
Battle on the arcade games
Battle on the arcade games
Dining room + Kitchen island
Upstairs king master bedroom with mountain views
Upstairs king master bedroom with mountain views
Second upstairs king bedroom with views of the mountains
2nd upstairs king bedroom with views of the mountains
Downstairs queen bedroom and Roku TV
Downstairs queen bedroom and Roku TV
2 twin bunk beds in the open game room
Jacuzzi off the 2nd king bedroom
Newly remodeled kitchen + island
Newly remodeled kitchen + island
Driveway at dawn
Driveway at dawn
Access to the community pool
Access to the community pool

Eat Like a Local in Sevierville:

1. Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant ($$): The oldest restaurant in Sevierville, this is a local favorite featuring hearty southern food and orchard fruits. It’s owned by the same local company as LeConte Lodge.

2. The Chop House ($$): Known for its delicious steaks and seafood, The Chop House offers a warm and inviting atmosphere. They also have a great selection of wines to complement your meal.

3. Trotter’s Whole Hog BBQ ($$): New for 2023, this is a artisan BBQ restaurant located in the Historic District of downtown Sevierville. It’s owned by the same folks of The Appalachian and the BBQ served sets a high bar of excellence. They also have a pour-it-yourself beer wall.

4. Thai Basil ($$): If you’re in the mood for Thai cuisine, Thai Basil is a popular choice. They serve authentic Thai dishes made with fresh ingredients, including curries, stir-fries, and noodle dishes.

5. Tony Gore’s Smoky Mountain BBQ & Grill ($$): This barbecue joint is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. They serve mouthwatering ribs, pulled pork, and other barbecue classics, along with delicious sides.

6. Five Oaks Farm Kitchen ($$): This is a wonderful southern cooking at its finest. Enjoy their ring baked griddle cakes, hearty soups, or fried chicken. Set in a beautiful vaulted ceiling cabin-like interior, this is a favorite among locals and located on the North end of Sevierville.

7. Graze Burgers ($$): For burger enthusiasts, Graze Burgers is a must-visit. They offer gourmet burgers made with high-quality ingredients and unique flavor combinations. They also have vegetarian and gluten-free options.

8. The Appalachian ($$$$): Located in The Lodge at Five Oaks, The Appalachian is known for its farm-to-table concept. They serve dishes inspired by Appalachian cuisine, using locally sourced ingredients to create delicious and seasonal meals.

9. El Paso Mexican Restaurant ($$): If you’re in the mood for Mexican cuisine, El Paso is a popular choice. They offer a range of traditional Mexican dishes, including tacos, enchiladas, fajitas, and margaritas.

10. Holston’s Kitchen ($$): This restaurant serves Southern comfort food with a modern twist. From fried green tomatoes to shrimp and grits, Holston’s Kitchen offers a diverse menu in a casual setting.

Eat Like a Local in Wears Valley

Wears Valley has a smaller selection of food options, and you’ll find it’s a lot less crowded than Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg, and it’s only a 5-10min drive from Smoky Mountains Lodge.

1. Elvira’s Cafe ($$): This place offers a mix of American and Mexican cuisine. They are known for their breakfast and brunch options, including delicious omelets and Mexican-inspired dishes. Named as one of the “Top 100 Places to Eat Across America” in 2022, this is one place not to miss.

2. Wears Valley Social Food Truck Park ($): Open most of year, they offer a rotating list of local food trucks and a nice open eating area. They’ve had trucks such as the Chicken Coop, Coles Southern BBQ, Fat Bear, Gringos Tacos, and others come by. They also have a playground for the kids and feature live events throughout the year.

3. Hillbilly’s Restaurant ($): This is a casual restaurant serving southern comfort food and burgers.

4. PawPaw’s Kajun Kitchen ($$): This restaurant specializes in Southern and Cajun cuisine. You can expect dishes like gumbo, jambalaya, and po’boys.

Eat Like a Local in Townsend

1. The Abbey ($): Originally a church, this is now converted into a dining and beverage hall. It’s a great way to spend a sunny afternoon, eating lunch by the river and drinking your favorite brew, whether it be Craft Beer, Cider, Sweet Iced Tea or a Soft Drink. In the summer you can watch the rafters float by on the river. They also offer flatbreads and bites, as well as corn hole and Connect-4 for some fun family yard games.

2. Dancing Bear lodge ($$): Located at the Dancing Bear Lodge, this upscale restaurant offers a refined dining experience with a focus on locally sourced ingredients and Appalachian-inspired cuisine. The menu features dishes like trout, duck breast, and venison. Grab yourself a date and reserve a table for 2 for a romantic night out. This is one of “The South’s 38 Essential Restaurants” according to Eater.

3. The Peaceful Side Social Brewery & Craft Kitchen ($$): Experience culinary bliss at Peaceful Side Social and Craft Kitchen in Townsend, TN, where locally sourced ingredients are masterfully crafted into delectable dishes, offering a harmonious blend of flavors that reflects the essence of the Smoky Mountains in every bite, all within a warm and inviting atmosphere. Indulge in a gastronomic journey that celebrates community, quality, and the artistry of Southern cuisine.

4. The Trailhead Steak & Trout ($$): This rustic steakhouse specializes in high-quality steaks and other grilled meats. They also offer seafood options and vegetarian dishes. The Trailhead Steakhouse provides a relaxed atmosphere and friendly service.

5. Little River Bar-B-Q: If you’re craving barbecue, Little River Bar-B-Q is the place to go. This casual joint serves up delicious smoked meats, including ribs, pulled pork, and chicken. The sides, such as mac and cheese, coleslaw, and baked beans, are also worth trying.

6. The Apple Valley Mountain Village & Café ($$): Situated in a charming log cabin, The Apple Valley Café offers homestyle Southern cooking. They are particularly famous for their breakfast menu, which includes pancakes, omelets, and biscuits with gravy. They also serve lunch and dinner, featuring comfort food classics.

7. Riverstone Restaurant ($$): Overlooking the Little River, Riverstone Restaurant offers a picturesque setting to enjoy a meal. They serve a variety of dishes, including seafood, steaks, sandwiches, and pasta. The patio seating is especially delightful during warm weather.

Book Now: This goes to our secure portal to review your info and confirm booking.

Send Inquiry: If you’re not quite ready to book, you can send an inquiry with any questions.

Where have you been that’s not your usual tourist traps? We want to know about it! Comment below.