Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival; Fall Foliage and Fun For All

It’s the most stunning time of the year in Gatlinburg – the arrival of autumn. With the best of the Great Smoky Mountains’ vivid foliage and lodging at its doorstep, it’s no wonder that Gatlinburg is consistently recognized as a haven for leaf peepers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. While the foliage might inspire travelers to journey to Gatlinburg, the city’s nostalgic Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival brings all the best of the season to life, with decorating contests, great food, craft fairs, and family-friendly events to satisfy every member of even the largest clan.

The celebrations begin at Ober Gatlinburg in true Bavarian style, and with the 8th Annual OktOBERfest providing Bavarian-style food, live music, and both indoor and outdoor “bier gartens” to the public from September 22 to October 29. During the event, guests will also be able to ride above the treetops in the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tram for a classic way to see stunning views of colorful foliage spanning for miles across the Great Smoky Mountains. As the leaves begin their vivid change, be sure to check Gatlinburg’s official website for updates on the foliage forecast and tips on the best places to view the autumn leaves at their peak.

The celebration of the fall season also signals the timing of one of its most popular events – the 42nd Annual Fall Craftsmen’s Fair. The occasion will play host to some of the top crafts people from all across the United States, while also offering visitors the chance to shop handmade items and art pieces. Of the 180 booths of crafters and artisans in attendance, many will be giving live demonstrations to audiences during regular booth hours. The 42nd Annual Fall Craftsmen’s Fair will be held at the Gatlinburg Convention Center, starting October 5 and ending October 22. Event hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Music shows are scheduled at 12, 2 and 4 p.m. daily, 12 and 2 p.m. on Sundays.

This year Sugarlands Distilling Company will be celebrating the season with the first ever MountainFest, September 28 to October 1 in downtown Gatlinburg. The four-day music and outdoor event will include headliners such as Travelin’ McCoury’s, Hardworking Americans, the Jeff Austin Band and many more. Visitors can also look forward to outdoor competitions, craft cocktails, and access to downtown Gatlinburg’s world-class attractions and shops.

Gatlinburg offers one of the best Halloween attractions in Sevier County in the 19th Annual Fright Nights Show hosted by Ripley’s Haunted Adventure. This year visitors can come face-to-face with Dr. Streaper and a world of infected zombie-like monsters in “Contamination.” The show can be experienced on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings in October and additionally on September 30th and October 31st. Shows will begin at 6 p.m. with a character parade to kick off the night. Children must be at least 6 years of age to view the show, however, parents are advised to know that the show is more suitable for children 12 and up.

May the best Halloween costume win at the Trick or Treat Kickoff Karnival on October 31 at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies Plaza. The family-friendly event will be held between 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and is scheduled to include contests, costumes, candy, and trick or treat safety tips from the Gatlinburg Police Department and a fire safety informational session from the Gatlinburg Fire Department.

For more information about Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival in Gatlinburg, visit our website at, call (800) 588-1817 or download the official Gatlinburg app for information while in town.