Everyone loves a Christmas parade.
Watching the brightly colored floats pass in vibrant, sparkly shades of red, green, white, gold, and silver is a treat for children and children at heart. Sipping a hot cup of cocoa, cider, or something a little stronger is a lovely way to get into the holiday spirit, whether you’re on vacation or merely enjoying a weekend off. And enjoying the kinship of fellow humans during the most wonderful time of the year? Well, that’s where the Sevierville Christmas Parade comes in.
Here’s everything you need to know about this historic Tennessean holiday to-do:
What Is the Sevierville Christmas Parade?
The Sevierville Christmas Parade is a traditional Christmas shindig that has taken place in this cozy Smoky Mountains town for more than 60 years now.
It’s a true blue hometown parade, with rows of classic cars, smiling pageant winners, brightly bugling marching bands playing holiday music, baton twirlers to bewitch the eye – and of course, Old Saint Nick himself. Look forward to honking, singing, and everything merry and bright!
When to Go
The parade will take place on December 2, 2023, and will begin promptly at 11 AM. It typically takes about 30 minutes to pass any particular point fully. That means, if you are situated toward the end of the parade route, it may be almost noon before you’re done.
However, it’s a good idea to block out several hours for the parade. Spots along the route do fill up, so if you want good viewing, you should come and reserve yours at least an hour ahead of time – maybe more. Feel free to bring chairs and blankets to make the experience cozy!
Where to Watch
Sevierville is nothing if not traditional when it comes to its parade route, which follows the historic path it has used most frequently throughout its history.
The parade will begin at the First Baptist Church Sevierville parking lot. From there, it will travel north along Forks of the River Parkway, then turn right on Main Street, turn right again on Court Avenue, and proceed back to the parking lot.
Although any point along the route is a memorable experience, many folks find the Sevier County Courthouse, located at 125 Court Avenue, to be the most charming place from which to watch. Not only does it offer great views of the parade itself, but the courthouse and its grounds are adorable as well.
How to Participate
What if you’d like to be part of the parade, you’re wondering? You can! It doesn’t cost money and you do not have to belong to the chamber of commerce, so anyone can apply – though that does not guarantee your application will be accepted.
If your float or group is accepted, plan to be at the starting point and ready to go at 10:30 AM. You will need to walk or drive about a mile.
You can register for the parade here. You can also use that link to learn more about the rules governing parade participants (e.g. horses must wear diapers, floats cannot feature Santa because he comes at the end, no throwing things into the crowd, etc.)
Many people are wondering what else there is to do in Sevierville around the same time as the Christmas Parade, and the good news is: lots!
For instance, on Friday, December 1, you can enjoy Christmas at the Courthouse, the traditional tree-lighting event that begins at 5:30 PM. It goes until 8:30, offering love and cheer such as choir music, games, community booths, food, and reading of the beloved children’s classic, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.
If you want to get in as many parades as possible, you can check out the Gatlinburg Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade on December 1, starting at 7:30 PM. It features floats and organizations from around the nation, lit up to create a truly magical experience for viewers.
Sevierville and Gatlinburg are about 35 minutes apart, so if you hurry, you might make both!
In general, there’s lots of holiday fun to be found at the Smoky Mountain Winterfest, an annual event in which the cities along the Great Smoky Mountains Parkway – Sevierville, Gatlinburg, and Pigeon Forge – don more than 15 million lights between November and February.
Additional Items to Consider
What else should you know? Here are a few items to consider:
It’s likely to be cooooooooold during the parade! The average monthly high in Sevierville is 51 degrees Fahrenheit and the low is 29 degrees. You will want hats, scarves, gloves, boots, wool socks, and warm layers for the whole family.
Even if you think it might not be that cold, it’s better to layer up and bring a backpack or tote to keep the unwanted gear in. Don’t forget that you’ll be standing in place for much of the parade, so your blood won’t be pumping. As stated above, though, feel free to bring a chair, blanket, and warm drink to keep your spirits up!
Do not expect to be able to park along any of the streets on the parade route. Parts of adjacent roads may also be closed due to parade activities, including South Honey Lane. The best idea is to find parking well away from the parade area and walk in, or get dropped off.
While theoretically the parade should be over by noon or sooner, you can expect considerable delay. It’s best not to plan to drive through the area before 1 PM.
The parade is not an eating event. If you have little ones with you, plan to bring snacks and hot drinks to keep everyone going for the duration. Before and afterward, though, you’ll find plenty of delicious food in downtown Sevierville.
Et voilà: everything you need to know about this historic celebration of the most wonderful time of the year!