Among its many themes Christmas is a celebration of light and the many things it represents and each Christmas Gatlinburg welcomes in the season with its own festival of light and song. The Winter Magic Tunes and Tales follows the tradition of the Summer Tunes and Tales where local actors dressed in traditional clothing from past eras stroll the Parkway and entertain visitors with music, song, story and dance that represents the Smoky Mountain Heritage. The mini performances draw the audience in to participate and become part of the scene. The Winter Magic Tunes and Tales brings that magic to the holiday season.
Music and story is part of the Smoky Mountain History. Each Christmas local actors dressed in traditional Victorian Costume wander Gatlinbug’s main Parkway singing Christmas Carols and interacting with visitors to bring the season to life. Among the performers be sure to watch out for Zeno, Gatlinburg’s mascot bear. He loves to wander the streets looking for people he can welcome and envelop in one of his notable bear hugs.
To add to magic of the season Gatlinburg dresses itself up in its finest lights and displays. The entire Parkway, the River Road and the intersection where these two roads meet is decorated from top to bottom in LED lights. Trees, local animals like foxes and squirrels and bears, oh my, a group of children, toy soldiers and more line the streets and squares. It is amongst these shining lights that the performers wander, singing songs and interacting with the people exploring downtown.
You can explore the streets on foot, checking out the shops or dining along the way or, for a $5.00 ticket, you can hop on the trolley and take a tour of the lights in seated comfort. Trolleys depart at 6:30, 7:30, and 8:30 every night except the night of the Gatlinburg Christmas Parade which, in 2012, is on Dec. 7th.
2012 is the 37th year for the Gatlinburg Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade. The parade brings100 parade entries, marching bands from Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, and beautiful helium balloons among the features ready to delight children of all ages. The parade starts at 7:30 in the evening but it is a popular event so it is wise to arrive early to find the best place to view the festivities.
The Winter Magic Tunes and Tales is one of the performing groups at the Festival of Trees Luncheon on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. The performers also help usher in the Christmas Season by opening the first two performances of the Nutcracker Ballet. Both the Festivals of the Trees and the Nutcracker are held at the Mills Convention Center.
Christmas is the season of light and song, among other things. The Smoky Mountain people bring a rich heritage of music and story. Winter Magic Tunes and Tales combines these two traditions in a beautiful and wonderful way. If you have a chance to visit Gatlinburg between Thanksgiving and Christmas you are sure to be delighted by the fun tradition of the Winter Magic Tunes and Tales celebration.
Author Mike Olsen