Gatlinburg NOW

Gatlinburg News, Opinion, and Wonder


December 2015

New Year’s Eve Events in Gatlinburg

Yesterday I touched on a New Year’s celebration happening at Loco Burro restaurant in downtown Gatlinburg. They are having three musicians performing in their upstairs area starting tonight and finishing up on New Year’s Day. Today I would like to wrap up with a detailed lineup of events happening at various locations tomorrow night.

The Gatlinburg Space Needle

All eyes in town (approximately 60,000 pairs) will be focused on the Space Needle, which is the 407 ft. observation tower that overlooks the town. The festivities will begin at 10 p.m., featuring live entertainment. There will be rhythmic LED lights that will decorate the tower in sync with the music. Admission to this main event is free, and various party items will be distributed for free as well. Fireworks will blast off at midnight creating a scene you won’t soon forget.


Right on the corner of the Needle is Gatlinburg hottest night spots. They are featuring four holiday celebration packages from which to choose if you decide to have dinner there for New Year’s Eve. They include: Premier Dinner, Dance Floor, Sports Bar, and General Admission. For more information on these packages, check out their webpage here.

The Melting Pot

This restaurant located on the Parkway offers something more intimate for your New Year’s celebration. They are also offering a special dining package for their two hour tables with reservations being required. Included in this are: A Special Menu with views of the Space Needle, along with a champagne toast and party favors. For more info visit here.

Gatlinburg Winter Magic Trolley Ride of Lights

Here you can take a scenic ride through Gatlinburg on their specially decorated trolley cars that have been running from 6:30-8:30 p.m. daily. Tonight and tomorrow night are not the last of these for the season, so it’s not too late if you’re planning on a visit through January.

Three Jimmy’s Masquerade Party

Customers arriving at this restaurant located on the East Parkway outside of Gatlinburg can vie for $1,500 in cash prizes by arriving in their best costume for New Year’s. This begins at 8 p.m., so come in and have a great time celebrating.

The Amazing Mirror Maze

This attraction is listed, because it has an ever changing array of displays that keeps the customer coming back. It features a range of rotating mirrors, lights, and sounds that dazzle your senses. It is a show that will entertain the young and the young at heart and is located downtown on the Parkway.

As you can see there are many different events happening in Gatlinburg for New Year’s. I can’t even be convinced that this is a complete listing, so if you’re not in town already, feel free to come to town and see what other specials are being offered. Happy New Year everyone and BE SAFE!


New Year’s Eve Happenings in Gatlinburg: Loco Burro

I’m back with some information on some live events happening throughout Gatlinburg. I have some more news on the many amazing things that will be occurring but I didn’t want to ramble on with a long post that may bore you, so I am going to break it up into a few posts over the next couple of days to keep it more focused.

The first such destination will spotlight a restaurant in downtown Gatlinburg located mainly upstairs above Johnny Rocket’s. I am talking about Loco Burro, who offers up Tex-Mex cuisine with some amazing views of the Smoky Mountains and downtown.

Their rooftop patio is the only such one in Gatlinburg, and it features its own bar, dining tables, and a fire pit. They are popular for this reason, and also because they make a killer margarita along with their tasty fajitas. If that doesn’t do it for you, they also feature their Bucking Burro, which you can ride for $5. Their items are freshly made from scratch daily, just like many of the restaurants in town, so you know what kind of quality you receive for the food.

Now that I have your attention, I would like to inform everyone that they are having a three day live concert on their patio featuring three different Nashville up-and-coming musicians on December 30, 31, and January 1.

Dark Waters will be performing at Loco Burro during this three day event. They are led on vocals by Cherish Hamby, who had her start playing and touring solo until she met Adam, a rap-core bandmember, and they quickly started developing their own unique sound. By 2014 they were playing as a four-piece band, and they are now preparing to release their first album in early 2016.

Chris Ashlee is another scheduled performer on these nights. He hails from San Antonio, Texas, and took the plunge by moving to Nashville in the summer of 2011 with the goal of becoming a hit songwriter. Ashlee has just released his new single, ‘Tipsy’, and has a five song EP being released with the hope that it will make his country music dreams become a reality.

Unfortunately, I was unable to provide any information for Nashville artist Jay Sweet, so if anyone has seen him perform live around Nashville, or if you can lead me to his Facebook or Twitter page, I would greatly appreciate the chance to get in contact with him somehow. Anyway, this should be a great three days of live music at Loco Burro. Don’t stray too far from my blog, as I will be providing some more new exciting events on tap for the New Year celebration in Gatlinburg.


Open for Business on Christmas in Gatlinburg

Christmas is certainly a wonderful time of year, and Gatlinburg is the perfect place to just take the family and enjoy a non-traditional Christmas. I, myself, am not quite ready to do this sort of thing, and my son certainly isn’t either, as I floated the idea to him one day, he quickly shot it down. I guess as a 12 year old, he isn’t ready to spend Christmas in a place we normally spend vacation, and I don’t blame him.

Many people, however, love to spend the holidays in Gatlinburg, and with the weather being a bit chillier, the options are a bit more limited in terms of meals (picnics, grilling, etc.). In doing a search for restaurants that are open for business in Gatlinburg, I was careful since some of the listings are from a few years back. I will provide a link for those spending Christmas in Gatlinburg, who want to know what businesses will be open, as well as a list below. The link, however, will have a list of businesses that you can click on to visit the site. The link is here and it takes you to the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce site.

My list from the site:

Best Italian and Best Italian on the Parkway 11am-11pm

Blaine’s Grill and Bar 2pm-close

Calhoun’s 10:30am-10pm

Cherokee Grill 11am-10pm

Crockett’s Breakfast Camp 7am-11pm

Crawdaddy’s 2pm-1am

Flapjacks Pancakes 7am-12am

Little House of Pancakes 7am-2pm

Loco Burro 10am-1am

Luigi’s 11am-2am

No Way Jose 11am-10pm

Puckers 2pm-1am

Seasons of Ober 11am-6pm

Smoky Mountain Brewery 11:30-close

The Lodge at Buckberry Creek 5:30pm-9pm, reservations

Three Jimmy’s 11am-close

Tom and Earl’s Back Alley Grill 4pm-close

The Vista Grill 11am-2pm and 5pm-8pm, reservations

NOTE: I intentionally left off chain restaurants on this list, because there are too many good local places here to eat instead.


Gatlinburg: Number One Destination on the Rise

If you are a visitor or a local in the Smoky Mountain region, you are probably well aware of how popular Gatlinburg has become, but now Trip Advisor is cementing this with its newest list.

Just last week I posted a link on my Twitter page to a story that a Knoxville news station provided saying that Trip Advisor just named Gatlinburg as its #1 Destination on the Rise in the United States. Every year Trip Advisor compiles a list for their Travelers’ Choice Awards, and Gatlinburg not only hit the top in the U.S., it ranked #4 in the world on this same list.

The following details comes from the Gatlinburg Daily Post, and they quoted Robert Montgomery, the President of the Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors’ Bureau Board, as saying it is a great recognition, and it further affirms the positive experience guests receive when they visit Gatlinburg.

This is the fourth year Trip Advisor has ranked the world’s top destinations. The list is compiled based on the greatest increase in positive feedback and interest the site receives on travel destinations on a yearly basis.

I am a little surprised that Gatlinburg made the top of this list, but recent tourism numbers suggested that maybe I should not. October and November were both record-setting in the number of visitors to the park, and with the news of a large retail development in the works, it should not shock anyone to keep seeing those numbers increase.

Trip Advisor is a large site devoted to reviews and booking, with 350 million unique monthly visitors, and covers 5.3 million accommodations operating in 47 countries worldwide.

Here is a list of all the cities in the Top 10 courtesy of Trip Advisor:

  1. Gatlinburg, Tennessee
  2. Orange Beach, Alabama
  3. Destin, Florida
  4. South Lake Tahoe, California
  5. Jackson, Wyoming
  6. Estes Park, Colorado
  7. Anchorage, Alaska
  8. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  9. Portland, Maine
  10. Kailua-Kong, Hawaii

Gatlinburg 12 Days of Christmas

I guess an apology is in order for missing the start of the Gatlinburg 12 Days of Christmas. The reason is because this event began on Saturday, December 5, and it is now December 10. For that, I am sorry, however if you are still planning on a visit to Gatlinburg before December 16, I have compiled a list of businesses in town that are celebrating by offering markdowns and sales of their items. I must thank for this list.

American Sideshow

  • 30% off select items

Candle Light Memories

  • 20% off entire store

Cooter’s Place

  • 25-50% off selected rebel items
  • selected hats $5 or less
  • select Cooter’s T-shirts from $9.99-$15.99
  • buy one get one half off indoor go-carts
  • mini golf $5

Doc Collier Moonshine, Ole Smoky Distillery, Pepper Palace, Sugarlands Distilling Co.

  • free samples daily

Doug Wyatt Music

  • Music Concert and Clinic

For Bare Feet

  • Buy 4 or more pairs of Bare Feet socks and get $1 each

Fort Fun

  • 3 free extra activities with purchase of “Pick 6” or “Do-it-All Pass”

Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster

  • 10% discount per party for anyone who mentions the promotion when purchasing their ticket

Gifts for Memories

  • 10% off all purchases above $25 and a free gift with all purchases above $40

Haint: Old South Oddities & Antiques

  • Art demonstration and $20 special on art classes every day

MCG Clothing

  • Buy 2 Get the Third Free

Once Upon A Time

  • 15% off store wide

Smoky Mountain Art Gallery

  • 10% off select art

Tennessee Homemade Wines

  • free samples and buy 5 bottles get the sixth free

The Bear & Butterfly

  • 11:00 a.m. Saturday book signing by Debra Ann Davis “The Meadows.”
  • 1:00 p.m. Sunday book signing by Barbara Garvin “Waddles Quacks” (children’s book).

The Hemp Store

  • 10% off store wide

Unbearably Sweet

  • Jelly Bean Boozle Challenge Demonstration

Also of note: The City of Gatlinburg is providing free parking at the McMahan Garage at traffic light #3. Also, the Parkway Trolley is providing free service that runs from the parking garage and along the Parkway throughout the 12 days from Demember 5-16. I hope that you can make it here during this time. There are some special deals here that aren’t found at peak times of the year. Happy shopping!



4 Tips for Enjoying Gatlinburg Events

You’re planning to attend an event in Gatlinburg, but you either have no idea what to expect, or you are often discouraged by the sheer size of the crowds in town for the event. These tips hopefully will help you manage your trip without pulling your hair out and preventing you from enjoying the event the way you planned on doing.

Book a hotel within walking distance

I listed this first, because it might be the first and most important thing you should do when planning. Most events in town pack the downtown area with tens of thousands of people, and you’ll not want to arrive in town a few hours before the event, because it may already be too late, since traffic is blocked off at a certain time prior to the event. It would be wise to book far enough ahead of time for the night prior to the event so you can reserve your spot on the Parkway early in the day. What’s best is that you won’t even need to pay for parking.

 Mind your manners

Easy for you to say, you might think, but this goes a long way toward ensuring an enjoyable time at the event. Remember, the reason you are here is no different than the throng of people you are enjoying this with. Please be polite and let the small things fly off your shoulder. You are in the beautiful Smoky Mountains. Don’t let this fact be lost on you.

Be wary of the weather conditions

This again seems like another no-brainer, but the weather in Gatlinburg can be much different than Sevierville or Pigeon Forge, which is a difference of just ten miles. Make sure you watch the forecast for Gatlinburg on the day of the event. More than likely the local meteorologist will spotlight the actual event and recommend what type of gear you should wear for optimum comfort. If you disregard this, you might be stuck trying to squeeze through the crowd looking for a poncho or other protection. Once again, this is not recommended, because it will cause unnecessary stress on your event.

Take pictures and share them to social media

I don’t need to tell most people this either, but your phone or camera will help you make memories of the event, especially if you don’t attend many like the ones put on in Gatlinburg. Once you’ve taken the pictures, upload the pics to Gatlinburg’s Facebook and Twitter page. The employees at the Chamber of Commerce won’t hesitate to retweet and like the photos you share with them, and thousands of other fans of their page will get to view them as well.

I hope you enjoyed following these tips for your trip to a Gatlinburg event. If you would like to add a comment, or provide more tips, I would love to hear from you.


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