Volunteers carry a gigantic green Christmas ornament through downtown as part of Gatlinburg's Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade
[ Special Events & Festivals ]

Gatlinburg’s Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade

Gather your loved ones, bundle up, and enjoy the festive merriment of Gatlinburg’s Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade this winter.

This year marks the 43rd annual Christmas parade and its sure to light up the night! The parade is a tradition in the Smokies, adding an extra dose of Christmas cheer to Gatlinburg’s Winter Magic. Want to attend the parade? Here’s what you need to know.

The Gatlinburg Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade marches through downtown Gatlinburg
Photo Credit: Visit Gatlinburg / Facebook

Gatlinburg’s Fantasy of Lights: Know Before You Go

The Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade travels through downtown Gatlinburg on Friday, December 7, 2018 starting at 7:30 pm to the cheers of an anticipated crowd of tens of thousands of spectators. The parade begins at Baskins Creek Bypass on East Parkway at 7:30 pm. The entire parade is about 1.5 hours long and ends at Traffic Light #10. More than 100 parade entries will be featured in the parade.

You’ll also be able to hear over a dozen marching bands from all over the South and see giant helium balloons taking to the streets. Along with the holiday joy of the parade, you can also marvel at the twinkling lights of Gatlinburg’s many light displays celebrating Christmas. The popular holiday lights programs dazzles with over $1.5 million dollars in displays.

Tips for Attending Gatlinburg’s Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade

Thinking about celebrating the Christmas season in Gatlinburg? Keep these tips in mind before you attend the parade!

Arrive Early
Over the years, the parade has delighted 20,000,000+ spectators, with crowds growing in size each year. This means you should arrive as early as possible to claim your spot. Don’t think you can show up at 7:15 pm and have a perfect view! Tourists and locals start staking out their spots as early as the day before.

Bundle Up!
Christmas in the Smokies is chilly! Be sure to bundle up with scarves, gloves, hats, and winter jackets. Before you go, check the weather and dress accordingly. Santa hats and Christmas attire are encouraged, too.

Book a Nearby Hotel Room
As you can imagine, parking and traffic to and from the parade is pure madness. Skip the nuisance and book a downtown Gatlinburg hotel room. That way, you’ll park at your hotel and walk to your spot, with no traffic along the way.

Celebrate the Christmas Spirit in Gatlinburg
Along with Gatlinburg’s Fantasy of Lights parade, there are a ton of other ways to celebrate the season in the Smokies. Check out our guide filled with things to do in Gatlinburg during Christmas to plan your winter vacation itinerary.

Are you planning to attend this year’s Christmas parade? Start planning your Gatlinburg getaway today.


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Gatlinburg to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.
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