This November, Gatlinburg celebrates the changing of the seasons with the 25th annual Winter Magic Kickoff and Chili Cookoff. Featuring holiday lights and endless bowls of homemade chili, this popular fall event is within walking distance of our downtown Gatlinburg hotel. Read on for everything you need to know about this Smoky Mountain tradition.
When and Where
The festivities will take place on Wednesday, November 12 from 5 to 8 p.m. All of the fun will be along the Parkway in downtown Gatlinburg. Be sure to come early, because this event always attracts lots of people!
There is usually no admission price for the event itself. However, wristbands are sold to those wishing to savor some tasty chili samples. This year’s price has not yet been posted, but last year, wristbands were sold for $10 apiece, with some of the proceeds benefitting a local Gatlinburg Parent-Teacher Association.
Let There Be Lights
Just as the last of the multi-colored fall leaves flutter from the trees, Gatlinburg dazzles visitors with the lighting of more than a million LED lights that have been draped throughout the downtown area as another magical season in the Smoky Mountains begins. Stretching all the way down the main thoroughfare, the lights have become a much anticipated tradition in Gatlinburg.
Sample the Best Chili in the Smokies
Gatlinburg area businesses and restaurants tweak their recipes, fire up the pots, and cook up delectable chili dishes ranging from meek and mild to fire engine hot. Visitors then stroll down the well-known Parkway and try each offering. Once the sampling is completed, it is time to cast the all important vote for the prestigious “People’s Choice Award” where one chili dish is chosen as the crowd’s favorite. Participants also compete for other awards in categories such as Best Presentation, Best Chili and Best Apron which are awarded by a select panel of judges. Live music fills the air throughout the event, adding to the fun.
For the truly adventurous, there is a chili eating contest. Participants work their way through bowls of chili as the spice factor of each level increases. Tongues will be fired up for sure!
A leisurely walk back to the River Edge Motor Lodge and a super comfortable room is the perfect way to end the day. The very attentive staff at this downtown Gatlinburg hotel will accommodate your every need. Visit our Smoky Mountain Hotel Specials page to see our latest discounts and promotions!