Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade

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(865) 436-4178
  • Dates: December 1, 2023
  • Time: 7:30 PM to 9:00 PM

The 48th Annual Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade will be held on Friday, December 1, 2023. Featuring a star-studded line-up, the parade holds in store a magical display of decorative floats, festive marching bands, holiday balloons, and of course Santa Clau. The parade will illuminate downtown Gatlinburg with holiday cheer among the 1 million twinkling lights lighting up the downtown Parkway during Gatlinburg’s Winter Magic Celebration. The parade route runs through the middle of downtown Gatlinburg.

Bringing a list of renowned talent to the area, the Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade will be joined by several celebrity guests. Rounding out the roster of well-known stars coming to Gatlinburg to ring in the beloved holiday tradition are Rachel Grant, Mark Wills, Canaan Smith and Myron Mixon.

The Gatlinburg Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade will step off at 7:30 p.m. at the Baskins Creek Bypass and process throughout the downtown Parkway, ending at Traffic Light #10. The event is free and open to the public. However, due to the popularity of the event, eventgoers are encouraged to arrive early to secure seating and parking. Grandstand VIP seating is available for the parade, offering bleacher seating and a commemorative Santa Hat for $50.

Tree Lighting Ceremony:
City officials will host a grand illumination ceremony of the Gatlinburg Christmas Tree at 7:25 pm on the Parkway Plaza at Traffic Light #3.

Parade Route:
The Parade route begins at Baskins Creek By-Pass, travels to Traffic Light #3, turns south onto the Parkway, and ends at Traffic Light #10.

Lane Closure Information:
Outbound lane closures will begin approximately at 4:30 p.m. when all U.S. Route 321 traffic will be switched to one lane on the outbound side to make room for float staging. The inbound lane will shut down approximately at 6:50 p.m. All traffic along the parade route will shut down approximately at 7 p.m.

As always we would ask that people be aware of their surroundings and vigilant about personal safety. Officers and EMS will be posted throughout the parade route and available for assistance if needed.

Grandstand Tickets:

The grandstand seats will be in the TV zone (traffic light #3), which is near the beginning of the parade route. Each seat will have a great view of the parade. Seating for the grandstand will begin at 5:30 PM on December 1. The parade steps off at 7:30 PM.

  • You may have one child on your lap without purchasing a ticket for that child, as long as the child is under the age of 5.
  • No strollers are allowed in grandstand seats, and parking for strollers will not be provided.

We will have two locations of Grandstand Seating available this year. The first location will be in the TV zone (traffic light #3), which is near the beginning of the parade route. The next location is at the Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, which will is near the middle of the parade route. Each seat will have a great view of the parade. 

Purchase grandstand seats


We need volunteers for multiple different aspects of this event. Balloon handlers, banner carriers, judges, integration, and so much more.

People of all ages can volunteer for this event! 

Sign up to volunteer

Celebrity Guests:

Rachel Grant

Celebrated actress and television personality, Rachel Grant, will join the festivities during Gatlinburg’s annual parade. As Co-host of Bravo-TV’s limited series “Tour Group”, Grant has visited over 80 countries globally. As a world-wide traveler, Grant has made appearances on the Rachel Ray Show and Family on Hallmark sharing travel and packing tips acer receiving millions of views on her viral video “How to Pack Over 100 items in a Carry-On.” Grant is renowned for portraying the role of “Peaceful Fountains of Desire” in the popular James Bond series in “Die Another Day”. Grant has worked alongside names such as Pierce Brosnan, Jean Claude Van Damme and Dominic Monaghan throughout her career. In addition to being a disguised actress, Grant also focuses on Humanitarian work, focusing on children’s education in the Philippines.

Mark Wills

Returning to Gatlinburg, Academy of Country Music Award Winner, Mark Wills will co-headline the popular parade. Wills, a Grand Ole Opry Member with chart-topping hits such as “I Do (Cherish You), “19 Somethin’”, and “Don’t Laugh at Me” will ring in the holiday season on a festive float. Wills has released both Gold and Platinum albums throughout his career, producing over 19 Billboard hits. In addition to releasing cherished country music, throughout the decades, Wills has also taken more than a dozen trips to Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Korea, and Italy to entertain U.S. troops. The parade marks Wills’ third consecutive trip to the Smokies during the holidays, honoring a family tradition. “I have been coming to Gatlinburg my entire life. That translates into Gatlinburg being the very first vacation that my then girlfriend (which became my wife) on Nov 30, 1996, Kelly and I ever took together. We have brought our girls up here multiple times per year since they were born,” says Wills. “tio, it’s very easy to say that Gatlinburg holds a very special place in our hearts. This year, I will include not only my family but my first grandchild Huck into this special Christmas tradition. We truly are honored to be back and think of the Smokies as our second home.”

Canaan Smith

Platinum selling artist-songwriter Canaan Smith adds to the Smoky Mountain reunion, returning to Gatlinburg acer premiering his sophomore album High Country Sound in Gatlinburg in 2021. Smith has had over 500 million all-time streams, including with his Platinum selling Billboard #1 single, “Love You Like That.” Smith’s songwriting credits including hits by Cody Johnson, HARDY, Morgan Wallen, Cole Swindell, Tyler Hubbard and more.

Myron Mixon

Adding a bit of spice to the sweetness of the holiday tradition, Myron Mixon will be making an appearance in the parade. Highly decorated BBQ Champion, Mixon is a 5-time World Champion holding the record for most barbecue competition wins world-wide. Executive Producer and Host of popular television shows on Discovery’s Destination America and Cooking Channel, Mixon shares his love for the popular comfort food through hit shows such as “Smoked”, “BBQ Rules”, “BBQ Pitmasters” and “BBQ Pitwars.” Mixon is also a New York Times Best-selling cookbook author, entrepreneur, and mentor.