Monthly Archives: June 2012

Golf in the Smokies

If golf is your game, have we got the course for you!

While in Gatlinburg and the Smokies, indulge in your favorite pastime at the area’s most uniquely beautiful 18-hole challenge at the Gatlinburg Golf Course.

This beautiful 18-hole course was designed by noted golf course architect William Langford. From the challenging layout and emerald fairways to beautifully wooded landscapes and well-manicured greens, you’ll remember this picturesque setting in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Play our legendary hole #12, affectionately known as “Sky Hi.” It’s a tidy 194 yards in length and drops 200 feet, tee to green, making it one of the most dramatic holes in the country. You’ll remember this shot for a long time!

Check out our new website at and book your tee time. Gatlinburg Golf Course is open year-round with modern facilities, fully equipped pro shop and food services area.

Better yet, if you’re thinking about a round in the near future, call out Pro Shop (865-436-3912) to find out about special rates which might be available.

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The latest news on the July 4th Midnight Parade: Tuskegee Airmen Will Serve As Grand Marshals

The 37the annual Gatlinburg Fourth of July Midnight Parade will honor American heroes, with grand marshals for the parade including members of the Tuskegee Airman Association from Atlanta, Ga. and from Louisville, Ky., plus military personnel and veterans from all five branches of service.

Among the U.S. Heroes being honored will be Robert Youngdeer and Rueben Taylor, two distinguished World War II veterans from Cherokee, N.C. Both Cherokee Warriors permanently reside on the Cherokee Reservation and are still active in Steve Youngdeer American Legion Post 143.

As many as 100,000 spectators are expected to witness the parade, which since 1976 is renowned as the first Independence Day Parade in the United States. Dozens of parade units will line up on the night of July 3 and step off at the stroke of midnight.

Leading the parade will be the 100th Army Band from Fort Knox, Ky., which will not only march in the parade, but will also showcase various sectional groups in concerts on the plaza at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies throughout the day of July 4, culminating in a full band concert leading into Gatlinburg’s spectacular fireworks display.

Soldiers first, musicians second, the 100th Army Band has traveled the world to present its high-quality professional musical entertainment. The band includes several combo components – a jazz band, brass quartet, rock band, and more. Each member of the band receives the same combative training and is expected to have the same military abilities demonstrated by other Army personnel.

Each of the band’s July 4th performances at the Ripley’s Aquarium Plaza will be free-admission. Also performing on the Plaza during July 4 festivities will be the Burlington Teen Tour Band from Burlington, Ontario, Canada.

Check out the parade route early to choose your best observation spot as some of the tens of thousands of spectators will start placing their folding chairs along the route as early as 7 a.m. on July 3.

“This will be one of the most patriotic and colorful midnight parades that the City of Gatlinburg has ever produced,” said Special Events Manager George Hawkins, who organized the first Gatlinburg 4th of July parade in 1976 in celebration of America’s Bicentennial. “We are very excited about the entire weekend of events, which will include a two-day festival highlighting our armed services.”

This year’s fun-filled Fourth of July celebration in Gatlinburg will again feature the always-competitive River Raft Regatta, the unmanned kind. Anything floatable can be entered, with registration starting at 10 a.m. at the Christ in the Smokies bridge on River

Road. There will be prizes for the top three places in these divisions: Hand-made Decorated, Floatable Object (no creativity), Small Entry (pill bottle sized), Oldest Entry, Youngest Entry, Judges Choice (or most unique), Ripley’s Believe It or Not Entry. This unique race begins at noon on July 4th.

A spectacular fireworks display will begin at 10 p.m. – following the 100th Army Band concert – and will be visible throughout the downtown area.

Visit for more information

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Free Parkway Trolley starts tomorrow!

Starting June 15, the City of Gatlinburg will offer free trolley service to patrons along the length of the Parkway for nine weeks this Summer.

The Free Parkway Trolley program was such a big success last year on a trial basis that it has been implemented for the 2012 season, allowing visitors and local residents to board one of three specially designated trolleys at numerous stops along the Parkway at no charge. The shuttle service route extends from Traffic Light #1 at the north end of town to Light #10 at the entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

“We are pleased to once again offer this very popular free trolley service during our peak season,” said City Manager Cindy Cameron Ogle. “It provides our visitors, residents and business community more accessibility to sections of our downtown business district.”
The free specially painted open-air shuttles will operate from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily from June 15 through August 18. Extra stops have been established along the special route to bring the number to 40 along Parkway.

Nearly 1,300 riders took advantage of the Free Parkway Trolley daily during the 49 days of the pilot program in 2011.

Approximately 800,000 patrons use Gatlinburg’s trolleys annually, making it the fifth-largest mass transit system in the state. It originated in 1980 with only six trolleys, but the fleet has grown to 20-plus trolleys servicing approximately 50 miles of trolley routes.

All Gatlinburg trolleys are handicap accessible.

You can now hop aboard the Gatlinburg Trolleys all day long for just $2 a day with unlimited access to the Red, Blue, Purple, Yellow and Green Trolley routes. The $2 Pass is sold at City Welcome Centers as well as at City Hall and the Mass Transit Center, plus numerous Gatlinburg lodging facilities.

To watch a video about Gatlinburg’s mass transit system or view the current location of trolleys, or for additional information, visit Click on the GPS trolley locator and a City map will appear pinpointing trolleys in service. The box color indicates the trolley route color.

For more information, visit any City Welcome Center or call (865) 436-0535.

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Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales Returns For Seventh Season

Back by popular demand, Gatlinburg’s seventh annual presentation of Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales begins in downtown Gatlinburg on June 15, 2012 and will run through August 11. Tunes & Tales is a summer-long street performance event featuring costumed musical performers, storytellers and artisans portraying characters from time periods as far back as 1800.

This popular eight-week event truly highlights one of Gatlinburg’s greatest assets – the walkability of the community – and provides guests with an interactive, educational and entertaining experience the whole family can enjoy.

The collection of personalities and performers arrive nightly at 6 p.m. in the center of town. Visitors witness a magical transformation of sidewalk to stage as the characters disperse along the downtown Parkway for an evening of entertainment and storytelling until 11 p.m. As many as 12 nightly acts perform throughout the evening.

Trios, duos, single acts and clogging groups will perform seven nights a week for the duration of the summer. The mountain style of music is featured all season from the beginnings of the pure Appalachian sounds of Rattlesnake Holler, Whiskey Bent Valley Boys and Hammer & Strings to the traditional bluegrass music from Hurricane Ridge, Flicker Tail Holler and the Holloway Sisters.

Visitors will also be able to learn how instruments like the mountain and lap dulcimers and gourd banjo are made by local craftsmen like Denton Bragg and Mark Edelman. They will also enjoy the talents of the Back Porch Cloggers demonstrating old time clogging and even teaching folks some fun moves and steps.

Characters including Miss Nan the School Marm and Quiltin’ Annie often teach the young and old alike their old time ways. Zeno, the Gatlinburg Bear, the official ambassador of Gatlinburg, loves to welcome everyone to Gatlinburg with his signature bear hugs, and visitors will be entertained with songs and stories by such personalities as Ol’ Rowdy, Whitlin’ Joe, and Earl and Pearl each relating stories of the Great Smoky Mountains, its people and history and even sing a little song about them. Check Engine joins the lineup for 2012.

“Our intent is to take what we feel is one of Gatlinburg’s greatest assets – the walkability of the community – and provide something that is fun and somewhat different than what most places are doing,” Special Events Manager George Hawkins noted.

Gatlinburg’s Smoky Mountain Tunes and Tales is an official activity of the City’s Department of Tourism. For more information on this and other special events, visit,

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Gatlinburg celebrates USA with 37th Annual Fourth of July Midnight Parade

For the 37th consecutive year, Gatlinburg kicks off America’s Independence Day celebration with the nation’s first parade, which leads off at 12 a.m. on Wednesday, July 4, 2012, to the cheers of close to 100,000 spectators and features a special tribute to our five branches of military service among the many highlights of this one-of-a-kind patriotic event.

Stretching more than a mile in length, over 100 units will make their way through Gatlinburg, showcasing many elaborately decorated floats, helium balloons, marching bands, equestrian entries and a large contingent of our armed services men & women.

As soon as the street is closed late on July 3, the parade route comes alive with pre-parade entertainers that begin the excitement of what is to follow. Marching bands, colorful floats and helium balloons will navigate the streets, with over 100 entries of all types scheduled to appear in the parade.

“This will be one of the most patriotic and colorful midnight parades that the City of Gatlinburg has ever produced,” according to Special Events Manager George Hawkins, who organized the first Gatlinburg 4th of July parade in 1976 in celebration of America’s Bicentennial. “We are very excited about the entire weekend of events, which will include a three-day festival highlighting our armed services!”

Gatlinburg’s popular River Raft Regatta takes place at noon on Wednesday, July 4, beginning at the Christ In The Smokies bridge on River Road and ending at the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies bridge in downtown Gatlinburg. This unmanned river raft race is open to anything floatable except balls and plastic eggs, with one category for works of art or handmade treasures, another for trash like plastic beverages bottles, and a third for small items such as pill bottles. In the past, families have entered boats made out of matches or popsicle sticks as well as little rubber ducks. Registration begins at 10 a.m., with the race beginning promptly at noon. Prizes will be awarded. Support for the River Raft Regatta is provided by the Gatlinburg Recreation Department.

Then, just an hour after sundown, the Fourth’s Grand Finale occurs on the streets of downtown Gatlinburg with a fireworks extravaganza visible all along the Parkway from Applebee’s to the Sky Lift starting about 10 p.m. Lasting about 15 minutes in duration, the sights and sounds of “the rocket’s red glare” will fill the sky as a fitting tribute to this day of celebrating freedom.

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