Celebrating Fall During Ober Gatlinburg’s 8th Annual Oktoberfest September 22, – October 29, 2017

Ober Gatlinburg Oktoberfest is a delicious day of fun for the whole family!

Celebrating Fall During Ober Gatlinburg’s 8th Annual Oktoberfest September 22, – October 29, 2017 will be a “beery” good time! Take an amazing scenic ride to the summit of Ski Mountain via Ober’s Ariel Tramway to find all the daily outdoor games and fun at Oktoberfest. A short drive will bring you to the top but riding the famous, green gondolas for an amazing view of Mount LeConte, the Smoky Mountains and the hamlet of Gatlinburg can’t be beat.

The whole family will love the authentic German food offered at Ober. Take your

Tasty treats will twang your buds! Photo credit – windmu

pick from schnitzels, sausages, and even mouth watering strudel. If German food does not twang your buds there are plenty of other tasty treats available at the food court.

Those 21 and over can wash down the schnitzel with a frothy beer from the Outdoor Bier Garden. Each weekend will have a featured brewery and Saturdays will have a featured brewery representative on hand to share a brewmeister secret or two. The Bier Garden will be open daily Noon till 6:00 p.m. and Noon till 7:00  on Saturdays.

The Bavarian Fun Makers Oompah Band will raise your spirits while you raise your glasses! The band dresses in authentic lederhosen while performing traditional Bavarian folk dances, oompah music, sing-a-longs, yodels, and more!

Bavarian Fun Makers Oompah Band performs:

Monday, Wednesday & Thursday at 1:00pm and 5:00pm

Tuesday at 1:00, 3:00 and 5:00pm

Friday through Sunday at 1:00, 3:00, 5:00 and 7:00pm

Recommended seating 30 minutes before performance

The event is held outdoors at high altitude so be sure and dress appropriately. Photo credit – Fotolia

This family-friendly event also features outdoor games, and two inflatables will be open Noon till 6:00 p.m. Sunday thru Friday and Noon till 7:00 p.m. on Saturdays. The kids will love the free face painting on Saturdays.

Ober Gatlinburg also has all their regular great attractions to enjoy as well. Race down the mountain on the new Ski Mountain Coaster or the alpine slide; strap on your skates in the indoor Ice Skating Rink; take a ride on the chairlift; hit the links on the Amaze’n Mini-Golf course; save the world again in the full arcade or get back to nature in the Wildlife Encounter.

Make your plans today for this annual event and don’t forget to grab your ski pass while you’re here. Ski season is just around the corner!

For more information on Oktoberfest, visit Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort & Amusement Park or call 800-251-9202.



Great Smoky Mountains National Park Hosts Star Gazing Event at Cades Cove

Cades Cove Stargazing must be seen to be believed! Bring the family and explore the universe! (Photo credit – ESB Professional/Shutterstock.)

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Hosts Star Gazing Event at Cades Cove. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, in cooperation with the Smoky Mountains Astronomical Society, will offer a stargazing program in Cades Cove on Saturday, September 23, 2017 beginning at 7:30 p.m. Experienced astronomers and numerous telescopes will be on hand to provide a discovery of the spring sky’s position of stars, galaxies, and constellations, including the Milky Way. In case of rain or cloud cover where night skies are not visible, the program will be cancelled.

It’s a great opportunity to gaze at the star-studded sky without the obstruction of artificial light as seen in developed areas outside the park,” said Park Ranger Mike Maslona. “People will be amazed at the vast depths of this planetary world and all that they can see in the complete darkness. This program mixes astronomy, legends, and the beauty of the stars to create a worthwhile exploration into the wonders of the heavens.

Participants for the program will be directed to park near the orientation shelter at the entrance to the Cades Cove Loop Road. A park ranger will walk with the group one-third of a mile to a nearby field to the viewing location. No vehicles are allowed to drive to the site.

Those planning to attend should dress warm and bring a flashlight. Participants might also like to bring a lawn chair or blanket for sitting, along with binoculars which can be used for stargazing. Carpooling is strongly encouraged.

The program is subject to postponement due to rain or cloud cover. Call the day of the event to confirm that the program will take place at 865-448-4104.

4th Annual Wears Valley Fall Festival October 20th-22nd, 2017

4th Annual Wears Valley Fall Festival is fun for the entire family! Sixteen acres of family fun including crafters, storytelling, interactive activities, entertainment, children’s events and great food awaits all in attendance October 20 – 22, 2017 at the 4th Annual Wears Valley Fall Festival coordinated by Keep Sevier Beautiful.  The wide array of activities at this year’s event will give families a great way to make memories, experience a variety of fun activities and enjoy the incredible beauty of fall in the Smokies.

This year’s event begins on Friday, October 20 and continues through Sunday, October 22.  Hours are from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday.  The festival site is next to Tennessee State Bank off Route 321 in Wears Valley in Sevier County.

This Fall Festival truly offers something for everyone,” said Lisa Bryant, Executive Director of

Carve up some memories at the Wears Valley Fall Fest 2017!

Keep Sevier Beautiful.  “Anyone wanting to enjoy the true Smoky Mountain Heritage can find it here.  The most unique element is something only Keep Sevier Beautiful can do – teaching how to be more sustainable at every turn.

The Wears Valley Fall Festival is the biggest annual fundraiser for Keep Sevier Beautiful (KSB).  KSB is

currently taking applications for vendor space.  If you would like to showcase your business at this year’s event, please email lbryant@keepsevierbeautiful.org, call (865) 774-6677 or visit www.WearsValleyFallFest.com.

Keep Sevier Beautiful, a Keep America Beautiful affiliate, is a volunteer-based organization here in Sevier County focusing on waste reduction/recycling, litter prevention and beautifying public spaces through education and community based programs.  KSB’s goal is to protect the natural beauty of the area that millions of visitors come to see each year.

All aboard the fun train to Wears Valley Fall Fest!

Smoky Mountain Monarch Migration

Don’t miss your chance to track a monarch on it’s 2,500 mile journey to Mexico. Photo credit – Steven Puetzer

Smoky Mountain Monarch Migration is an annual event. Monarch butterflies migrate south each summer and spend their winter hibernating in parts of Southern California and Mexico where the climate is warm year-round. Monarchs living east of the Rocky Mountains migrate to Mexico overwintering in Oyamel Fir trees. Monarchs living west of the Rocky Mountains overwinter in Pacific Grove, California in eucalyptus trees. The butterflies return to the same trees each year which is unusual because the same butterfly never makes the trip twice and yet, somehow, the fourth generation of Monarchs find the right tree!  Amazingly this fourth generation migrates over 2,500 miles each year for the perfect hibernation climate and tree.

Monarchs depend on the migration to avoid freezing in winter and to provide food for their larvae and these plants only grow in the northern regions where the butterflies spend their summer. To sustain their population they travel back and forth each year to continue to propagate the species.

The Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont monarch butterfly tagging program is an effort to Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremontmonitor the health of the Monarch population and to track the butterflies progress along their migration route. Each year in late summer and early fall volunteers flock to Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains Tagging program. Part of the fun is discovering, months after the event, that the butterfly you tagged was located thousands of miles away.

What could be more fun than running around a sunny field with a butterfly net chasing Monarchs? The tagging outings are open to school groups and individuals. The Institute provides all the equipment needed for tagging Monarchs. There are often more people who want to attend than equipment available, so these days are limited to 18 people (no more than 8 people per party please, to save room for others).  Each party/family may attend one day of tagging in order to give everybody a chance.  Alternatively, if the dates don’t fill up and you’d like another chance to go out, you are most welcome! Remember children under 18 are required to have an adult guardian to accompany them. To sign up visit Cades Cove Monarch Tagging.

Tremont Institute Monarch tagging dates:

September – 12th, 14th, 17th, 20, 22nd, 23rd, 25th, and 28th.

October – 1st, 4th, 6th, 9th, 12th, 16th, 19th, 21st, 22nd, 24th, 27th, and 30th.

Tagging is fun, easy, and does not harm the Monarch. Photo credit – Betty Hall photography.

The HeySmokies.com team has participated in the Monarch tagging program in years past and can say this event is a lot of fun for the entire family! The event is fun, educational, and interesting in one of the most beautiful valleys in the United States! Plan now to experience this for yourself and come back to the mountains soon.

Bonus tip: Our sister national park the Blue Ridge Parkway has an abundance of places to see Monarch butterflies migrate in person. Most hight elevation spots on the parkway have a good chance to find Monarchs, but specifically Double Top Mountain Overlook at Balsam Gap near the junction of Route 215 is an excellent view spot as well as Doughton Park at Bluff Mountain!

Smoky Mountain Solar Eclipse Tips

Smoky Mountain Eclipse

This awesome retro style poster of the Smoky Mountain eclipse is available at the park visitor centers.

Smoky Mountain Solar eclipse tips. The HeySmokies team is excited about the upcoming solar eclipse viewing in Great Smoky Mountains National Park Monday, August 21, 2017. This rare event is sure to create memories your entire family will be talking about for years!

Everyone is reminded to use only approved solar eclipse glasses when directly viewing the eclipse. Glasses can only be removed during the brief few seconds when in the area of totality. The duration of totality varies greatly across the park and region. A common cause of eye injury during a total eclipse is immediately following totality when viewers forget to put their glasses back on.

“A large number of people will be making Great Smoky Mountains National Park their destination for eclipse viewing on Monday,” said the park’s Chief Ranger, Steve Kloster. “We want to make sure everyone who comes here is as prepared as possible and understands that we expect traffic to be heavy and many park areas to be crowded. The better prepared our visitors are, the more enjoyable and safe the experience will be for everyone.”

Visitors should bring plenty of food and water and make sure their vehicle has a full tank of gas before entering the park. The high amount of traffic expected will cause difficulties for towing companies to reach vehicles in need. The traffic could also cause temporary road closures throughout the day as the park manages the influx of vehicles entering the park. Anyone planning to travel to or through the park should have an alternate route in mind in case the first path or viewing location is no longer available.

Visitors are asked to remember to respect the park and it’s wildlife by staying at least 50 yards from bears and elk and not feeding any park animals. Trash should be packed out or put in an appropriate trash receptacle to keep our overlooks and viewing areas clean. Backcountry hikers are reminded to follow Leave No Trace principles and to make sure they are prepared for the distance and mountainous terrain of their planned hike.

Visitors should also remember that Clingmans Dome Road will be closed to public access beginning

Clingmans Dome Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Remember to get an early start with a full tank of gas to beat the traffic. Don’t forget protective glasses and bring plenty of food and water.

at 11:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 19 through the evening of Monday, August 21 following the eclipse event. No overnight parking will be allowed at Clingmans Dome Parking Area or pull-offs, parking areas, and trailheads along the road during this time period. The road will be closed to all motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists. The Clingmans Dome Trail will be open to the public, but the tower will be accessible to media only. The event at Clingmans Dome will be livestreamed at Smoky Mountain Eclipse.