Pigeon Forge in the Fall: 2020 Guide

Fine weather, spectacular foliage colors, and a jam-packed calendar of awesome events: That’s fall in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee! From vintage cars and colossal pumpkins to gospel performances and other concerts, this glorious season comes very well celebrated here in “The Center of Fun in the Smokies.” Here’s a look at some of the fall occasions and attractions to enjoy in and around Pigeon Forge in 2020!

Dollywood Harvest Festival

Dollywood celebrates fall with its family-friendly Harvest Festival, which runs through October 31st. Last year, this much-loved happening was rated as the very best fall theme-park event in the country by USA Today, so consider that! The centerpiece of the festival is the Great Pumpkin LumiNights display in Wildwood Grove, with lit-up pumpkins and other decorations livening up Wildwood Grove—not to mention narration from the one and only Dolly Parton herself. Growers from all across the East Coast are supplying the Harvest Festival’s Colossal Pumpkins, some of which tip the scales at better than 1,500 pounds. (Yes, you read that right: more than 1,500 pounds. Those are some hefty gourds, needless to say.)

The Harvest Festival at Dollywood also features 800-plus concerts across numerous outdoor stages and tunes from musicians wandering the grounds as well, plus a feast of seasonal eats. Many craftspeople and artisans are part of the proceedings as well, with everything from glass painting and chainsaw carving to fiddle making and basket weaving going down.

National Quartet Convention

Over at the LeConte Center, meanwhile, the National Quartet Convention Fall Festival serves up a tasty lineup of Southern Gospel music from September 27th through October 3rd. This NQC Fall Festival is in place of the usual National Quartet Convention proper, which is said to be the biggest gathering of a cappella artists on the planet; while the convention had to be scuttled due to the pandemic, this substitute event will still bring much of its spirit to the table. Performers at the 2020 NQC Fall Festival will include Kingsmen, the Chuck Wagon Gang, Kingdom Heirs, Wilburn & Wilburn, Soul’d Out, and The Sound.

Chalkfest at The Island

Marvel at some mighty talented sidewalk artists at the 4th annual Chalkfest at The Island, which takes place on September 26th. This free, all-day affair—it’ll be underway from 8 AM to 6 PM—has the theme of “Food” this year, so we’ll see what eye-grabbing gastronomically related imagery these chalk-wielding masters come up with to compete for such honors as the “Best in Show” and “People’s Choice” awards.

Halloween Spooktacular Event

The Thursday before All Hallow’s Eve, Pigeon Forge will be putting on its free and thoroughly family-friendly Halloween Spooktacular Event. Despite the name, this trick-or-treating event at the Pigeon Forge Community Center is not a scary affair and provides a safe, all-ages celebration of the holiday.

Pigeon Forge Fall Rod Run

Car enthusiasts have the vicinity’s biggest automotive shindig to enjoy at this year’s Pigeon Forge Fall Rod Run, which takes place at the LeConte Center September 17th through September 19th. Here you’ll find a stunning lineup of hotrods, classic rides, and other show cars: a chrome smorgasbord no motorhead will be able to resist.

Wallace Hartley’s Violin at the Titanic Museum Attraction

Exterior View of the Titanic Pigeon Forge Museum

Photo: @southernpostage

One of Pigeon Forge’s top draws, the Titanic Museum Attraction is always a fascinating place for history buffs to visit, but through December there’s extra incentive to come by. That’s because the museum has the exclusive rights to display the violin of the doomed ocean liner’s bandleader, Wallace Hartley, which sold for $1.7 million. Hartley played this violin as the iceberg-battered Titanic sank into the North Atlantic, making this one of the most poignant (and highly valued) artifacts of that famous disaster.

Leaf Peeping in the Pigeon Forge Area

We’d be remiss not pointing out that one of the greatest fall “events” in Pigeon Forge’s vicinity comes courtesy of Mother Nature: some of the Southeast’s most celebrated autumn foliage! Leaf peepers from all over funnel through Pigeon Forge to tour the dazzling reds, oranges, yellows, and other leaf hues amid the luxuriant forests of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Popular fall-foliage day trips in the park include drives along the Newfound Gap and Cades Cove Loop roads as well as the trek up to the top of Clingmans Dome with its panoramic sightlines.

Nearby Fall Events

There’s plenty more on tap in the fall festivities department in the Smoky Mountain region: Based in Pigeon Forge, you’ll be able to take in, for example, all the goings-on in nearby Gatlinburg, including the Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival, Oktoberfest at Ober, the Smoky Mountain Wine Festival, and Fright Nights at Ripley’s Believe It or Not.

Here’s to a wonderful fall escape to Pigeon Forge and the Great Smoky Mountains!