Yes, the time is fast approaching. It seems like just yesterday that folks were sweltering in the summer heat but enjoying everything that Gatlinburg offers to its millions of guests every year. But now that the leaves are changing their color–albeit a little slow this year–and the chill has returned to the mountain air, the annual Chili Cook-Off and the kickoff to Winterfest are upon us again. This year proves to be another spectacular–and scrumptious–event jam-packed with people just waiting to get their favorite fixes.

The Chili Cook-Off is scheduled for Wednesday, November 8 from 5 to 8 p.m. in downtown Gatlinburg. This year at least 22 vendors will be creating their own special recipe of chili in the hopes that they will take home the prizes offered in the competition: People’s Choice Award and Best Booth Presentation (yes, looks are also considered in this event). A detailed list of all the known participants can be found here.

The event has no admission fee; however, if you want to vote for your favorite–and sample all the chili you can possibly stomach–there is a $10 fee to fully participate and have a say in who wins. If you want a souvenir for getting involved in this once a year event, there are T-shirts for sale that identify this as the 2017 version.

Those of you that have been to Gatlinburg recently know that the setting up of the Christmas lights has been well underway for weeks now; especially, considering there are over 3 million (yes, MILLION!) lights to be hung all around the city. This is the official beginning of the winter tourist season in Gatlinburg, and for those that don’t mind coming here when it’s more likely that the mountains are snow-capped, it is a special treat to see the city decked out in Christmas spirit.

There will also be musical guests during this year’s event that you may want to come see while your sampling some hot chili: the headliner being Departure–a Journey tribute band hailing from Georgia; also on the docket are some bluegrass/rock from Grassabillies and Greenbrier band to round out an entertaining evening full of fun for the whole family.

Sadly, I will not be attending this year’s event once again. It is the hope and dream of mine to someday be able to cover this event every year as it is happening so you can get my perspective on the event–even though you can check out others’ videos on YouTube, in the meantime. Thank you for reading my post, and I will get to work by plugging away at those hopes and dreams that some of you have already read from my previous posts. See you again soon!