Gatlinburg Winterfest Kickoff 2018

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May 16, 2019
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June 9, 2019

Today is the kickoff for the next big season in the Smoky Mountains – our longest tourism season in the year – Winterfest 2018!

As is tradition in Gatlinburg, we celebrate Winterfest with a Chili Cookoff in downtown Gatlinburg between Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies and Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum. This event is so big that the city of Gatlinburg shuts down a whole section of the downtown parkway just to hold it. The first part of the event is the chili cookoff where dozens of tables featuring dozens of local restaurants (as well as those from abroad) set up to serve all-you-can-eat chili. The purchase of an admission “spoon” is you all need to enjoy the best chili in the Smoky Mountains. Then later the switch will go on and BOOM, Gatlinburg will finish putting on the last of the Winterfest lights with their own trolley tours to follow.

From Gatlinburg’s website:

Offering mouth-watering recipes of homemade chili ranging from mild and delightful to wild and adventurous, the City of Gatlinburg hosts its annual Chili Cookoff presented by Bush’s Chili Beans on Wednesday, November 7 from 5 to 8 p.m. in downtown. Festival-goers will enjoy free, live entertainment offered throughout the event.

Bush’s Best Stage:
Jimbo Whaley & Greenbrier at 5:15 pm
The Petty Hearts at 6:15 pm

All Sauced-Up Stage:
Hot Chili Eating Contest at 5:30 pm and 6:30 pm

Food Vendors:
* Bush’s Visitor Center
* Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery
* SCUD/Northview Academy
* Cliff Top Bar & Grill at Anakeesta
* Sensible Concrete Works
* Hilton Garden Inn
* Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
* Cicis Pizza
* Alvin’s Kitchen
* Savannah Bee Company
* Ober Gatlinburg
* Doc’s 321 Café
* Gatlinburg Police Department
* Fox & Parrot Tavern
* Wine-A-Little
* Exit Realty Pros
* Courtyard by Marriott Downtown
* Ole Red Gatlinburg
* Paula Deen Retail Store
* Boogie Nights
* Crawdaddy’s Restaurant & Bar
* Delauder’s BBQ
* Landshark
* Mellow Mushroom
* Pucker’s Sports Grill
* Gatlinburg Fire Department
* Loco Burro Fresh Mex Cantina

* Presenting Sponsor – Bush’s® Chili Beans
* Hot Chili Eating Contest Sponsor – All Sauced Up
* Police & Fire Departments Sponsor – Food City
* Beer Sales – Gatlinburg Rotary Club
* Soda Sales – Pi Beta Phi PTA

The entertainment this year is The Petty Hearts—The National Tom Petty Tribute Show.

Get more information on this event at

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