Gatlinburg will soon be making the transition from Fall to Winter in November with a busy slate of events. The holiday season will kick off soon whether you or Mother Nature is ready for it or not. The calendar will not wait for it, so here is a few of the events you won’t want to miss next month.

Winter Magic Kickoff and Chili Cookoff

This 27th annual event signals the start of the winter season in Gatlinburg, and it kicks off on November 9 from 5 to 8 p.m. There will be plenty of chili cooks on the street eager to claim the prize for best chili in three different categories: People’s Choice, Best Apron, and Best Booth Presentation. Tickets for the chili sampling are just $10 per person so I recommend purchasing if you will be attending, even though it is free to just wander through.

During this time the ceremonial lighting of the three million display lights will occur. Also, country music recording artist Tara Thompson will perform as part of the winter kickoff celebration downtown. Winter Magic is a major part of tourism in Gatlinburg with unemployment dropping drastically over the 25 year period of the event, and tourists flocking into town to see the wonderful displays of lights that illuminate this mountain tourist town. Tourists can also take rides on the trolley from 6:30 to 8:30 in the evening to see the entire display all the way until the end of January. Tickets for the trolley tour are just $5. This is a can’t miss for the visitor staying during this time.

Veterans Day Celebration

Gatlinburg will be honoring our nation’s service members on November 11 at 11 a.m. This is an outdoor event held outside the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies Plaza. The event — held every year since 2000 — takes the time to honor what these brave men and women have done to keep us safe and protected in times of conflict.

Thanksgiving Arts and Crafts Show

The Gatlinburg Convention Center will host the many artisans with their art to display from November 22-27. Many of these craftsmen and women are from the Arts and Crafts Community in Gatlinburg, and they will be back here in downtown — as they do most every season — to display their original creations; this time the theme will center around Thanksgiving. The hours the Convention Center will be open is displayed on the Gatlinburg home page here.

Festival of Trees

Located at the WL Mills Conference Center on Historic Nature Trail is the Festival of Trees. There will be plenty of crafts — and, of course, trees that are beautifully decorated. This event takes place on November 22 and runs through the 27th, so bring the kids to see not only the display of Christmas trees, but the jolly old fellow himself, Santa Claus.

There is always an abundance of fun activities ongoing in Gatlinburg; many of which I haven’t mentioned in this post, but these are the biggest draws in what figures to be a very busy holiday season. I hope you get the chance to see to some of these events in November, so keep Gatlinburg in mind for a visit. Happy travels and enjoy!