Every year for almost the last two decades, the cities of Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and Sevierville Tennessee have come together to put on what has become one of the regions most highly anticipated Mega Events, the Smoky Mountain Winterfest Celebration. Featuring Appalachian Music and groups of all ages and styles of Mountain Music, any American Folk Musician would want to be in the house to enjoy the festival in its entirety. For approximately 120 days beginning in November and ending in February for the last 19 years the region literally “lights up” with a collection of displays that include roadways, businesses and area attractions that are elaborately decorated with lighted displays. This years 19th Annual Smoky Mountain Winterfest Celebration got started on November 6th, 2008 and will keep partying to it’s conclusion on February 28th, 2009.
Due to the fact that this Festival will last over a four month period and takes place in such a large region, the large amount of venues, happenings and things to do are literally endless. Since we’re currently at the peak of the season, which in and of itself holds some incredible events you do not want to miss, the focus of this piece is to highlight the single most can’t miss events taking place after the holiday season.
Wilderness Wildlife Weeks. First on our list is Wilderness Wildlife Weeks, which starts in February and goes on for one week at a time. The event, as most of the events will do, have many events that make up the all encompassing Smoky Mountain Winterfest Celebration. This event started without much fanfare and on a small scale. Today, it’s larger than life and really is a lot of fun, even for those that aren’t the outdoor type. The main goal of the Wilderness Wildlife Week is very simple. To sponsor an interactive event that attracts tourists to the region in contact with the beauty and majesty of the Smoky Mountains. This year’s Wilderness Wildlife Week is a real treat as it is considered the first official event for the calendar year that marks the seventy fifth Anniversary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
At face value, the event seems a little boring, because much of what is offered, if you were to look at a calendar of events, during Wilderness Wildlife Week are seminars, lectures and other tutorial type of engagements. The thing is that each seminar and lecture is interactive. Visitors are invited to take walks and hikes by nature experts and see some of the most amazing sites you could imagine. This area of of the United States is truly one place that has not been touched by urban sprawl. Further, the Wilderness Wildlife Week is very family friendly. Many of the solo speaking engagements and seminars are geared toward the excitement and amusement of children. For example on Saturday of the third week, at the Music Road Hotel Convention Center, between 10:30am and 11:30am “Kids Track: Critters to You” features all types of living animals and exhibit and also, again on Saturday, between 1pm and 2pm, also at the Music Road Hotel Convention Center, “Through The Double Lenses: A 3-D Travel Adventure” will amaze and excite you.
Oh yeah, don’t forget to check out all the country and folk music while you are there. Be sure to call ahead to the event planning and reservations hotline as some of the best events of Wilderness Wildlife Weeks are available to only a limited number of participants.