Day 1 You'll See:
- Check In/ Look Around
- Indoor Performance
- Dinner at Big Daddy’s Pizzeria
- Award Ceremony
Day 2 You'll See:
- Breakfast at Crockett’s
- Street Parade Performance
- Award Ceremony
- Mountain Mall
- Gatlinburg Space Needle
Day 3 You'll See:
Gatlinburg really puts together one heck of a music festival, which is why we think your marching band will love this opportunity to play at the Smoky Mountain Music Festival. Every late April and early May, this is one of the most respected and unique festivals of its kind, accepting thousands of students from elementary to high school. Perform among over 6,000 bands from across the country under the direction of the University of Tennessee Knoxville’s Director of Bands W.J. Julian and enjoy the local buzz of downtown’s parade scene. Jazz, concert, marching, and pep bands welcomed!
Check In/Look Around - The first thing you’ll need to do when you get into town is check into the Gatlinburg Convention Center and register your band group and/or individual players. This is a great time to scope out the competition, see just a little bit of what the gorgeous city of Gatlinburg has to offer, and warm up your instruments. If your group, or at least a chaperone, has enough time during this time you should also go check into your hotel or lodging.
Indoor Performance - After checking into the festival you will have one of two options: either be ushered quickly into a practice or performance room (if you have an indoor performance group), or you watch others perform and wait for your turn. Concert bands, jazz bands, orchestras, choral groups, winter guards, indoor drum lines, and other auxiliary groups will be the ones to perform tonight, the judging of these groups happening during their performance, with comments and critiques afterward. It is predicted that either before or after your group performance tonight you will have a few hours of free time before the award ceremony, so get ready to head out on the town and grab a bite to eat!
Dinner at Smoky Mountain Shakes N Dawgs - Located on Mills Park Road, this quaint but Tennessee-style eatery serves an eclectic selection of hot dogs, providing even the pickiest of eaters with a multitude of delicious options (that’s right, everybody in your group will find something they love). Not only will you find the craziest concoctions of hot dog bliss, but you will also be able to choose from several fried favorites and scrumptious handmade milkshakes. Explore the huge list of toppings to dress your dawg with, such amazing and mind-blowingly intense options as the Philly Cheese Steak, Red Hot Super, Mean Joe Bean, Chili Cheese Fry, and Mac n' Cheese dog (that’s right, mac n' cheese on a hot dog).
Award Ceremony - Immediately after all the indoor performances for the night are over with you will sit among the rest of the performers in the convention center and watch the award ceremony. And let’s face it, we know how hard your group worked for this opportunity, you’ve got a trophy in the bag!
Breakfast at Crockett’s or Pancake Lodge - Wake up and smell the pancakes at Crockett's 1875 Breakfast Camp before you and your group hit the streets for the marching competition. The food here isn’t just some local breakfast, the food here is what many guests call the "best home-cooked breakfast in the Smoky Mountains." Every day you can find made-from-scratch biscuits, farm fresh eggs, and pecan smoked bacon. Try their corned beef or country ham classics, hogs in a blanket, or fried cinnamon rolls. Oh, and have we mentioned the griddle cakes? Top your hearty pancakes with a long list of options, such as southern pecans, wild berry compote, fresh blueberries, or chocolate chips! What more could your group dream of for breakfast?
Street Parade Performance - This is the moment your entire group has been waiting for, the big Street Parade Performance happening right in the hustle and bustle of downtown Gatlinburg, known by locals as the Strip. After breakfast, just head downtown, rehearse the route in the given time slot, and wait to line up and perform! During the wait, you can watch others, warm up your instruments, or look around a bit downtown! Remember to keep those heels together, those knees high, and those instruments warm, good luck!
Award Ceremony - After you’ve wrapped up your performance take off all that hot gear, put away your instruments, and watch the rest of the parade performers finish up as you wait for the award ceremony, happening directly after the last marchers finish the route. This is another chance to show the hundreds of other bands there during this particular weekend that you came to win, we just hope you have enough room for all those awards you will be getting on your way home!
Mountain Mall - Now it’s time to relax and enjoy your vacation in this amazing mountain city, which we think should be started with a walk around downtown, leading to the premier indoor shopping center of the city, a great opportunity for some serious retail therapy, the Gatlinburg Mountain Mall! Find almost anything you want within these shops, such as homemade candy, crafts, music, movies, books, sports collectibles, toys, and more! Enjoy the decor of the whiskey barrel trash cans from Jack Daniels and sounds of Appalachian mountain music performed by locals, the perfect introduction to a Smoky Mountain shopping haven.
Gatlinburg Space Needle - The Gatlinburg Space Needle is a must-see attraction while in the city, especially at night. Trust us, this Seattle mock-up is definitely not a let down as you take in the absolute best views of the city and the Great Smoky Mountains. This 407-foot tall observation tower comes with an amazing outdoor observation level, the deck in which you will get all the great 360 degree views. At nighttime, you will see the city sparkle within the awe-inspiring silhouettes of the surrounding mountains, a truly "unequaled panorama of beauty year-round.” The best part is, if you didn’t see enough of the gorgeous city during your visit here tonight, you can use your pass and come back again in the morning!
Dollywood - Your third day is all about fun, your next stop being the iconic and award-winning park well-known for great live shows, good food, friendly staff, and an abundance of amazing rides. Dollywood continues to wow visitors on a yearly basis, the establishment founded and owned by country music performer Dolly Parton. This Pigeon Forge theme park offers 150 acres of Great Smoky Mountain fun for the whole family with over 40 rides, 15 shows, and five amazing festivals: Dollywood is sure to delight your student group. One of the park's most popular roller coasters, Lightning Rod, rockets along the 3,800-foot track at a thrilling 73 miles per hour!
Aquarium of the Smokies - There is no way you can visit Gatlinburg and not stop at the Aquarium of the Smokies, one of three Ripley's aquariums in the world. Located along River Road, this family-oriented educational attraction spotlights aquatic habitats from around the world, presents live animals shows, and allows guests to partake in hands-on activities and exhibits. Find over 10,000 exotic sea creatures here from 350 different individual species, more fish than people in the entire city of Gatlinburg! Enjoy such exhibits as the tropical rainforest, shark lagoon, touch a ray bay, or penguin painting! The glide path to the ocean realm is almost worth the trip alone, a watery tube filled with barracudas, octopi, moray eels, and giant sharks! Head to the Cargo Hold Gift Shop or Feeding Frenzy Eatery before you go for the perfect ending to this marine adventure!