Cookoff and Kickoff: Winterfest Is Here [VIDEO]

Hopefully you’ll be at White Oak Lodge and Resort November 11 so you can join the rest of Gatlinburg in celebrating the annual Chili Cookoff and the 26th Annual Winterfest Kickoff. This year, the event falls on Veteran’s Day and will be combined with Gatlinburg’s Veteran’s Day Celebration.

Gatlinburg will kick off the Smoky Mountain Winterfest with the Chili Cookoff and Winter Magic Kickoff November 11 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The big event will be on the Parkway in downtown Gatlinburg, where a ceremonial lighting of more than 3 million lights throughout the city will mark the official start.

Since the event falls on Veteran’s Day, service men and women will be honored at the Veterans Day Celebration on Ripley’s Aquarium Plaza at 11 a.m. The event will feature the Ladies for Liberty, who perform in WWII Andrews Sisters style with their own rendition of vocals, costumes and the spirit of patriotism reminiscent of the 1940s.

Hundreds of hopefuls will hand out cups of chili, competing to win big prizes in the Chili Cookoff, including the People’s Choice Award, Best Booth Presentation and Best Apron.

People come from all over the country for this event signifying the start of Gatlinburg’s most beautiful and magical season.

The street event is free, and tickets for chili sampling are $10 (totally worth it).

Have you been to the Cookoff and Kickoff? Tell us about the best parts in the comments below.

Photo courtesy of Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Victoria Hoffman

A native of New Jersey, Victoria isn't entirely sure how she ended up in Kansas City, but has enjoyed writing, editing, creating, communicating and marketing for high-profile accounts throughout the city ever since. In her spare time, Victoria is an actor (and active) with local community and city theatre.