Grand Ole Opry Member Mark WillsCelebrate the kickoff to Gatlinburg Winter Magic at the 32nd Chili Cookoff Presented by Bush's® Chili Beans on Thursday, November 11 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Festivalgoers will enjoy chili samplings from local restaurants and businesses and live musical entertainment at this family-friendly event. 

Grand Ole Opry member Mark Wills will headline the entertainment. Wills has captivated fans and listeners since his first top-charting success at the young age of 23. Billboard named his Number 1 Hit “19 Somethin” the second most played song of the decade in 2009. It was one of a string of hits including "Wish You Were Here," "She's in Love," "Don't Laugh at Me," "I Do (Cherish You)," and "Jacob's Ladder," among others.  Wills was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in January 2019. Entertainment begins at 5:30 with the father daughter trio, The Warman’s. Wills will perform at 6:15 p.m.

The Chili Cookoff and Winter Magic Kickoff is a ticketed event. Tickets for general admission at 5:30 p.m. are $15. For an additional fee, festival goers can get a jump start sampling with the option to purchase a ticket for early entry beginning at 5 p.m. Children 5 years of age and under are free. Advance ticket purchase is strongly recommended due to the popularity of the event. Tickets can be purchased on line at 

Participating vendors include:

Cliff Top at Anakeesta

Margaritaville Resort Gatlinburg

Cookie Dough Bliss

Ole Smoky Distillery

Crawdaddy’s Restaurant 

Puckers Grill & Bar

Flapjacks Pancake Cabin

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

Gatlinburg First Responders

Savannah Bee Company

Hilton Garden Inn Gatlinburg

Sensible Concrete/D&S Builders

Landshark Bar & Grill

Smokehouse at Anakeesta

Loco Burro Fresh Mex Cantina

Tennessee Homemade Wines

Sponsors for this event are Bush’s® Chili Beans, Gatlinburg Rotary Club and Pi Beta Phi PTA. 

For more information about Gatlinburg’s Chili Cookoff and advance ticket sales, visit