For a small town Gatlinburg knows how to host a crowd and our award winning parades are known throughout the country. The Annual Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade rolls through the streets of Gatlinburg to the amusement of over 60,000 spectators. The acclaimed parade takes place the first Friday in December at 7:30 PM and beings on Hwy 321 ( East Parkway) at light # 1A and ends at light #10 on the Main Parkway (Hwy 441). The parade route is about 1 1/2 miles long and it takes about 2 hours to view it.
All parade entries must be fully lighted and this makes for a beautiful nighttime parade. There will be marching bands, huge helium balloons, horse units, floats, cars, military, community organizations and of course Santa Clause! This parade is the largest Christmas parade in our area and is an eagerly awaited event to families near and far.
Beautifully decorated floats will roll and many feature the diverse musical talent in our area, with local talent performing during the parade. It’s almost like getting a free preview of each of the many shows that you might want to plan on seeing in full.
You will want to bring your own folding chairs as you will see that parade savvy visitors will start lining the sidewalk staking out their own spot as early as the day before. Parking is abundant in the parade viewing area. Private and city owned lots are located all along the parade route. There is limited free parking along one side of River Road, but you must come extremely early or be very lucky to obtain a spot there. The city owned garage located at Traffic light #3, not only provides parking, but also serves as an excellent spot from which to view the parade from it’s upper levels. Other viewing spots with great viewing would be from restaurants along the parade route that have an outdoor balcony such as Loco Burro or Blaines.
Remember to dress warmly and bring a blanket to provide a buffer against the chill and make sure you book your chalet with us! We look forward to seeing you at the parade!