Gatlinburg Officials Prepare for New Year's Eve Party

By: Stephen McLamb
By: Stephen McLamb

Gatlinburg, Sevier County (WVLT) - Snow earlier this week is getting people in the Smoky Mountains in the mood to ring in the New Year.

Tourism officials say the week between Christmas and New Year's is Gatlinburg's busiest time of the year.

Volunteer TV's Stephen McLamb takes you to the Smokies for a look at what's drawing people there this time of year.

There's snow in the mountains and this weekend could see even more just in time for New Year's.

"If there's going to be snow, I think it's probably a lot more likely that it will happen Sunday, or Sunday night, and into Monday when the temperatures are substantially colder in the forecast," says Bob Miller from the National Park Service.

And for Gatlinburg officials, this week is a tourism boom as tourist are arriving from all over for the weekend's events.

"Gatlinburg has its busiest days of the entire year the week between Christmas and New Year's," says Gatlinburg Special Events Director George Hawkins.

But that's good news for retail establishments, and hotels, but for people who do not yet have reservations.

"It's bad. You better bring them a blanket because we're full and most everybody is full [this] weekend," says Ron McCarter, genral manager at Midtown Lodge

The week also brings more than 18 thousand to the convention center for the Extreme Winter Conference, a non-denominational teen gathering which will still have 6,000 in attendance New Year's Eve.

"People speaking and performing and then when the ball is getting ready to drop outdoors they'll be finishing up their program," says Gatlinburg Assistant Building Manger Scott Murphy.

And an estimated 60,000 people will be outside at 10:00 p.m. waiting for the midnight ball drop.

"We're going to be pulling a big stage into historic nature trail and we'll do a stage review and we're going to start the evening off with a tribute to James Brown," says Hawkins.

Which all culminates to a midnight fireworks show which officials say simulates New York's Time Square...on a smaller scale.

Tourism officials say they have good advice if you're going to the show Sunday evening, get there early!


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