Pigeon Forge festivals
[ Special Events & Festivals ]

A Visitor’s Guide to the Best Pigeon Forge Festivals & Events

Over the course of a year, numerous festivals and events call Pigeon Forge home. Regardless of what time of year you visit, you’ll enjoy a vast selection of Pigeon Forge festivals to check out.

The steering wheel of an old, antique red convertible.
Pigeon Forge car shows are so popular they happen year-round.

Spring Festivals

Springtime in Pigeon Forge is wonderful. Families are returning to the area for spring break and the Smoky Mountain trees and plants are in bloom once again.

As a result, many Pigeon Forge festivals are held during the spring season. If you plan on visiting the Smoky Mountain area during the spring, get your tickets for the following popular festivals:

Improv Comedy Fest

Dates: Gatlinburg Improv Fest – March 6-7, 2020

Fans of off-the-cusp comedy love attending the Gatlinburg Improv Fest. The festival is held annually at Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre near Traffic Light #3 in Gatlinburg. But be prepared! You’ll laugh so hard it hurts.

Winter Carnival of Magic

Dates: March 12-14, 2020

Hosted each spring at the Country Tonite Theatre, this three-day festival features everything magic-related, from seminars to shows. And, if you’d like to test out your magic talents, participate in the Winter Carnival of Magic stage competition.

A Mountain Quiltfest

Dates: March 4-7, 2020

The Smoky Mountain community is known for its arts and crafts, which makes it a perfect home for A Mountain Quiltfest. This five-day long event gives quilters the opportunity to attend classes that are based on skill level and technique. There will also be a quilt show that displays a variety of quilts for your viewing pleasure.

Festival of Nations at Dollywood

Dates: March 14 – April 20, 2020

Celebrate entertainment and traditions from around the world at the Smoky Mountain’s premier theme park: Dollywood. The theme park produces high-energy cultural shows, authentic demonstrations from multiple different countries, and mouth-watering food from around the world during the spring festival.

Spring Smoky Mountain Trout Tournament

Dates: April 4-5, 2020

This 2-day fishing tournament is an all-ages event featuring more than 10,000 trout waiting to be caught. All fishing fanatics flock to the Smoky Mountains for this competition. Also, there are cash prizes to win!

Spring Rod Run

Dates: April 16-18, 2020

Calling all classic car fans: The Spring Rod Run is one of the top Pigeon Forge festivals held each year. Classic, historic, and new cars can be viewed during this one-of-a-kind car event. If you plan to attend this spring festival, be aware that Pigeon Forge traffic can be extremely congested due to the influx of visitors.

This event is also held in the fall for those that cannot make it to the Smoky Mountains during the spring season. The Rod Run is one of the many Pigeon Forge car shows held year round.

Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage Festival

Dates: April 22-25, 2020

As winter fades away, and spring blooms, the Smokies celebrate with the 70th annual Wildflower Pilgrimage. The festival offers over 150 programs including an array of instructional walks and guided hiking tours tailored to meet individual walking skill and ability, along with demonstrations and guest lecturers. As a result, attendees get a wide perspective on everything from flowers to amphibians to trees and birds.

A man wearing a blue apron and a red checkered shirt cooks BBQ on a large grill
Dollywood’s Barbeque and Bluegrass Festival should not be missed. Dollywood/Facebook

Dollywood’s Barbeque and Bluegrass Festival

Dates: April 24 – May 3 2020

The greater Smoky Mountain community really loves BBQ and bluegrass. Not to be confused with the also popular Bloomin’ BBQ and Bluegrass Festival, Dollywood pulls out all the stops for this early summer festival. Stroll through the theme park and you’ll find professional chefs cooking exceptional BBQ and musicians playing toe-tapping bluegrass. Plus, there’s new surprises in store for guests each year!

Wilderness Wildlife Week

Dates: May 5-9, 2020

Attention nature lovers! Wilderness Wildlife Week presents a variety of programs, hikes, classes, and seminars designed to engage those of all ages. This spring celebration of the great outdoors is free and open to the public

Bloomin’ Barbeque and Bluegrass Festival

Dates: May 15-16, 2020

Each spring, the world’s best barbeque and bluegrass come to the Smoky Mountains for one of the most intriguing Pigeon Forge festivals. Tap your foot along to world-class music while sampling the top barbeque cuisine – what could be better?

Summer Festivals

As you might have guessed, the summer season is the peak time for Pigeon Forge festivals. From celebrating our great country to an annual firefly gathering, there’s really no time like the summer in the Smoky Mountains.

Make sure to catch these great Pigeon Forge festivals during your summer vacation.

Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales

Dates: June 19 – August 2, 2020

Tunes & Tales is a summer-long street performance festival featuring costumed musical performers, storytellers, and artisans portraying characters from time periods as far back as the 1800s. Performers arrive nightly at 6:00 pm. Then, visitors are treated to an evening of strolling entertainment where the sidewalk becomes the stage.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park / Flickr

Synchronous Fireflies at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Dates: 2020 Dates TBA

Did you know that fireflies can synchronize their flashing light patterns? Every year at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, guests apply by lottery application to witness a jaw-dropping natural event. Over the course of a two week period, primarily with the goal of mating, fireflies synchronize their flashing light patterns and create awe-inspiring visuals. You have to see it in person to understand how outstanding this event truly is! 2020 dates to be determined by the National Park Service.

Summer Celebration at Dollywood

Dates: June 20 – August 2, 2020

When it comes to Pigeon Forge festivals, Dollywood leads the pack, especially with the Summer Celebration Festival. The annual summer festival at the theme park offers longer hours, spectacular performances, a phenomenal fireworks display, and so much more.

Pigeon Forge Patriot Festival

Dates: July 4, 2020

The weeks surrounding Independence Day are by far some of the busiest in Pigeon Forge. To celebrate our great nation, first head over to Gatlinburg for the First Independence Day Parade. At 12:01 am on July 4th, you and your family can enjoy one of the most renowned parades in the country.

After the nationally recognized parade, get some rest because the remainder of your day is packed with fun at the Pigeon Forge Patriot Festival. This day-long tribute to our nation and military includes musical groups, food, kid-friendly fun, and more.

Thrills in the Hills

Dates: July 10-11, 2020

Coaster enthusiasts and adrenaline junkies flock to Dollywood each summer for a behind-the-scenes look at their favorite rides and theme park.

The Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival

Dates: August 20-24, 2020

Every summer, the most talented musicians and songwriters from across the country and world head to the Smoky Mountains for a weekend of musical inspiration. At the Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival, guests can put their talents to the test in song competitions, meet their favorite artists, and also learn about the songwriting process through various workshops.

Rock the Smokies

Dates: August 22, 2020

Experience a day of rockin’ worship music at Dollywood with a huge line-up of stars and artists.

Celebrate Freedom

Dates: Entire month of August

Another one of the best summer Pigeon Forge festivals is Celebrate Freedom which occurs every August. Throughout town, participating businesses offer discounts and promotions for active and veteran military personnel, police officers, firefighters, and emergency responders. Also, proper identification is required to receive the discounts and promotions throughout the duration of the festival.

Pumpkins, scarecrows, hay bales, and seasonal flowers are staged in a festive display at a Pigeon Forge fall festival
Fall in Pigeon Forge is the most colorful time of year!

Fall Festivals

As the fall foliage appears, the many fall Pigeon Forge festivals get into full swing.

Shades of the Past Hot Rod Roundup

Dates: September 11-12, 2020

The Pigeon Forge area is a popular destination for car shows, such as the Shades of the Past Hot Rod Roundup. From classics to customs, you’ll get to browse an incredible assortment of cars at this festival.

Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival

Dates: September 16 – November 21, 2020

The autumn season is in full swing every year throughout the Smoky Mountain region. In September and October, some of the top Pigeon Forge festivals are held as part of the overall Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival. These festivals and events include:

  • OktOberFest at Ober Gatlinburg
  • The Gatlinburg Fall Craftsmen’s Fair
  • Shocktober at the Iris Theatre at the Gatlinburg Space Needle
  • And So Much More

There’s no shortage of fun during the Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival.

Dollywood National Southern Gospel and Harvest Celebration

Dates: September 25 – October 31, 2020

Dollywood offers yet another magical festival for families to enjoy. This autumn festival includes gospel music’s top talent, incredible performances, and more fall fun throughout the theme park. Plus, the fan favorite, Great Pumpkin LumiNights, returns for 2020.

An aerial view of the Smoky Mountains with snow
A snowy winter scene in Gatlinburg.

Winter Festivals

If you’ve ever had the chance to experience the Pigeon Forge area during the winter time, you know how beautifully breathtaking it is. These Pigeon Forge festivals make the most of the picturesque landscape of the Smoky Mountain area.


Dates: November 13, 2020 – February 15, 2021

This 4-month long celebration of the winter season is packed with entertainment, dazzling lights, fun activities, and more. From incredible parades to the Trolley Tour of Lights, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at Winterfest in Pigeon Forge.

Christmas in the Smokies Bluegrass Festival

Dates: December 9-12, 2020

If you can’t tell, the Smoky Mountain area loves bluegrass music. As the center of the bluegrass region, musicians, fans, and songwriters from all over come to Pigeon Forge each winter to celebrate and perform their music. With the area all lit up for the holidays and the sounds of bluegrass music filling the air, you can’t help but have a great time at the Christmas in the Smokies Bluegrass Festival.

Smoky Mountain Christmas at Dollywood

Dates: November 7, 2020 – January 2, 2021

For a classic Christmas experience in the Smoky Mountains, head to Dollywood. Once again, the theme park knows how to deck the halls with performances, visits with Santa, and phenomenal synchronized light displays. As one of the top Pigeon Forge festivals in the winter, you do not want to miss a Smoky Mountain Christmas at Dollywood.

Three friends sit down at an outdoor festival
Which Pigeon Forge festival will you attend this year?

Pigeon Forge Festival Tips

Since Pigeon Forge is such a hot spot for family fun and festivals all year long, a few tips can mean the difference between a good time and a great time. Keep our tips in mind before you head to the Smoky Mountains!

Book Your Hotel ASAP
Major Pigeon Forge festivals such as the Hot Rod car shows draw quite the crowds. This means hotel rooms will be in high demand. For the best rates and availability, book your room as soon as possible. And, if you’re interested in saving money (and who isn’t?), bundle your hotel room reservation with show or attraction tickets for extra discounts.

Know Where to Go
While most festivals are held at attractions such as Dollywood, others are hosted in remote areas of the Smokies. This means cell service may be spotty! It’s in your best interest to know where you’re going prior to heading out on the road. Keep a map handy, just in case.

Dress Appropriately
If your chosen festival or event is outside, dress according to the weather forecast. Remember, you’re up in the mountains! It can still get chilly at night, even in the summer.

Add Extra Fun to Your Trip
Although you may be visiting Pigeon Forge for a specific festival, why not make a vacation out of it? On top of going to your festival of choice, get tickets to one of Pigeon Forge’s top shows or go hike the Smoky Mountains. With so many things to do in Pigeon Forge, you’ll have plenty of activities to choose from.

Enjoy Fantastic Pigeon Forge Festivals Year Round

No matter which season you choose to visit Pigeon Forge and the greater Smoky Mountain area, you’ll have so many festivals to choose from. Therefore, the best time to visit the Smoky Mountains is all year long!

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