The warmer days of summer are a fantastic time to visit the Pigeon Forge area. This season brings the area warm, but not excessively hot weather and a long list of exacting festivities perfect for all ages. The following is a look at just ten of our favorite summer events that should not be missed if you are visiting this lovely mountain town:
10 Things You Can’t-Miss in Pigeon Forge this Summer (2022)
Mermaids at Ripley’s Aquarium
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is a wonderful place to visit all year round with its ten-themed galleries and thousands of exotic sea creatures. However, summer is an especially good time to go as this is when they have their mermaid show.
Mermaids at Ripley’s Aquarium happen every day during the summer, starting on Memorial Day weekend and ending on Labor Day weekend. During this event, talented swimmers and dancers slip into the water with fins and mermaid attire to complete choreographed underwater dances with the fishes. They do this without any gear like snorkeling or diving tubes, which younger children tend to find especially fascinating.
Dollywood’s Summer Celebration
Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Summer Celebration is a nightly event that takes place from June 18 through August 7. During this period, the Pigeon Forge theme park stays open later and fantastic live entertainers are booked on stages throughout the park. But perhaps best of all, each evening ends with a multi-sensory drone light show that lights up the skies with hundreds of drones. These drones are able to uniquely create a musically-choreographed show that gets paired with fireworks for an unforgettable evening experience.
Smoky Mountain Tunes and Tales
Tennessee is a state well-known for its Appalachian country, folk, and bluegrass music. After all, this is the home of Dolly Parton! The city of Gatlinburg is proud to accentuate this heritage by hosting what is called the Smoky Mountain Tunes and Tales event that takes place all summer long in various plazas in downtown Gatlinburg. From June 22 to August 11, every night between 6 pm and 11 pm, those promenading about the downtown district will hear and happen upon various performers singing, dancing, and otherwise telling traditional Appalachian tales. Just follow the music!
4th of July Fireworks Display
There are a lot of fantastic fireworks shows that take place on Independence Day as well as the nights leading up to it. But on that 4th of July, one of the best places to be is in downtown Gatlinburg with the Southeast Tourism Society calling Gatlinburg’s 4th of July Fireworks Finale one of the Top 20 events of the year.
This year, for the first time ever, the city is launching its fireworks from the top of the city’s Space Needle. That exciting attraction is centrally located, meaning you can be just about anywhere in downtown Gatlinburg and be sure to enjoy a spectacular evening explosion of lights.
Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair
The Gatlinburg Craftsman Fair is a bi-annual event, always happening around mid-July and mid-October. This s summer, the big artisan event is happening July 8 through the 17 within the 150,000-square-foot Gatlinburg Convention Center.
The Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair attracts artisans and craftsmen from around the country, with over 200 both anticipated for this summer’s event. Here, visitors will get to watch the best of the best ply their talents as well as view and purchase gorgeous pieces of art and expert craftsmen products.
Titanic Celebrates Freedom
Being a landlocked state, you wouldn’t expect Tennessee to have a lot of boat-themed attractions and yet its Titanic Museum is the largest permanent Titanic museum in the world. But what makes this location exceptionally unique is that it was built as an authentic half-size recreation of the ship. Building this behemoth of a museum cost $25 million, and it certainly delivers on that authenticity. As you enter, you will receive a boarding ticket and at the very last exhibit, you will find out whether you would have survived the journey.
During the entire month of August, the Titanic Museum hosts what it calls its Celebrate Freedom event in which all military personnel and first responders can enjoy a complimentary ticket into this unique museum.
Great Smoky Mountain Hot Air Balloon Festival
Massive hot air balloons, kid-friendly activities, and dozens of food and craft vendors await guests at the annual Great Smoky Mountain Hot Air Balloon Festival. The big event is happening on August 20 at the Townsend Visitor’s Center.
Great Smoky Mountain Jeep Invasion
The end of August is when all Jeepers unite to celebrate their appreciation of the multi-faceted vehicle with Jeep contests, showcases, and both branded and after-market vendors. This year, the Great Smoky Mountain Jeep Invasion is taking place from August 25 through August 27 at the LeConte Center.
Sevier County Fair
This local Pigeon Forge event should especially be on the list for anyone visiting from a larger city as it is the quintessential country fair. This weeklong event will take place from August 30 through September 5, boasting unique events each day. As a county agricultural fair, livestock shows, Blue Ribbon-awarded art, and craft exhibits, exciting contests, and live music are a big part of the festivities. There are also, of course, your traditional fair rides and festival games cued up and ready for participants.
Shades of Past Car Show
People love their car shows in Pigeon Forge! On September 9 and 10 this year, Shades of the Past will take place at Dollywood’s Splash Country amusement park. Shades of the Past is a beloved annual car show featuring stunning classic cars, vintage hot rods, and eye-catching custom vehicles.
Learn More About What Pigeon Forge Has to Offer All Year Round
We hope this list of the top ten things you and your family won’t want to miss in Pigeon Forge has helped inspire your vacation planning. But while these are our favorite upcoming summer activities, they are just the beginning of what this fantastic mountain town has to offer! Visit our other pages to learn more about the beautiful and bustling Pigeon Forge and how to make the most out of your visit here.