Veterans Tribute, Additional Walking Trail Light Displays Highlight Pigeon Forge Winterfest Kickoff Event on Nov. 9

PIGEON FORGE, Tennessee (Oct. 17, 2023)—On the eve of Veterans Day, a music-filled veterans tribute, featuring a performance by the 101st Airborne (Air Assault) U.S. Army Band, will kickoff Pigeon Forge’s annual Smoky Mountain Winterfest celebration on Nov. 9.

Veterans of all branches of the U.S. armed services are invited and encouraged to attend.

Winterfest kickoff events take place in the city’s Patriot Park (186 Old Mill Ave.) and begin at 3 p.m. with a veterans tribute and concerts by the local high school choruses. The Veterans Military Honor Guard of Pigeon Forge will present the colors in honor of each U.S. military branch.

The 101st Airborne (Air Assault) U.S. Army Band, an active-duty U.S. Army band stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, takes the stage at 6:15 p.m. for a free 45-minute tribute concert. Specializing in horn-driven funk and dance music, the band performs at formal events, festivals, and concert venues for service members and the public. 

The Pigeon Forge Winterfest kickoff event concludes with the activation of six million lights throughout the city followed by a show-stopping fireworks display. All Winterfest kickoff event entertainment is free. Free parking is available in the city’s Municipal and Mountain parking lots located just off Teaster Lane. A variety of food trucks will offer guests dining options for purchase throughout the event.

Pigeon Forge’s Smoky Mountain Winterfest is a three-month city-wide celebration (Nov. 9-Feb. 18) that drapes the popular family vacation destination in more than six million lights.

The Wonders of Light walking trail, which opened in 2022, reveals five new light displays this year. Joining the trail are a fun fly fisherman with leaping trout, a span of woodland creatures, additional fireflies, and a 90-foot-wide section of colorful wildflowers, butterflies, flowers and mushrooms. Six deciduous trees will be illuminated, too, increasing the walkway’s glow power. The returning 52-foot-long caterpillar is joined by large-scale inchworms, ladybugs, and mushrooms amid blades of grass, expanding this single display’s width to 90 feet.

The trail opens Nov. 9 and travels along the span of the Pigeon Forge’s Riverwalk that follows the Little Pigeon River between The Island in Pigeon Forge and the Old Mill.

The Wonders of Light walking trail is a free outdoor walk-thru experience and remains open through Feb. 18. The flat, paved and pet-friendly trail treats walkers to more than 25 nature-inspired musical light displays featuring colorful butterflies, larger-than-life wildflowers, and even Old Man Winter. Vibrant snowflakes, bright stars, snow people, and a 20-foot-tall ice fountain light the way as deer, bears and squirrels—ranging in size from 13 to 19 feet tall—frolic alongside the path. Lights that mimic fireflies and butterflies dance in the trees overhead, creating one of winter’s most incredible experience.

The Wonders of Light Christmas Village (located in Patriot Park), a spectacular arts and crafts marketplace, returns. More than 35 artisans showcase a variety of seasonal and gift items including handmade treasures and festive holiday décor. The Wonders of Light Christmas Village is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 9-12 and Nov. 17-25 (opens at 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day). Admission is free.

More information about Pigeon Forge and special events is available at or by calling 1-800-251-9100.