A truly grand parade

Gatlinburg earns praise for spotlighting Ober Gatlinburg in holiday event
Dec. 04, 2012 @ 12:14 AM

One of the nice benefit from having Thanksgiving so early in November is that it meant the Sevierville and Gatlinburg Christmas parades didn’t have to bump up against each other. Usually Gatlinburg has its parade on a Friday night, followed the next morning by the Sevierville parade.

But this year Sevierville marched on Saturday, Dec. 1, while Gatlinburg won’t hold its annual procession until this coming Friday night. That means people have an easier time seeing both or even entering each one.

Gatlinburg traditionally has a splashy grand marshal, and this year is no exception. The parade will honor Ober Gatlinburg on its 50 years as a dominant presence in the Gateway to the Smokies. In addition Catherine Bach, star of the 1980s series “The Dukes of Hazzard,” makes a return visit to Gatlinburg to be a grand marshal in the parade.

Ober Gatlinburg gives East Tennessee its only ski resort. Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort and Amusement Park had its beginnings as the Gatlinburg Ski Resort in 1961. The Aerial Tramway, which was constructed in 1973, and the ski resort became Ober Gatlinburg in 1975, eventually becoming the year-round attraction it is today.

The family owned attraction offers so much more than skiing. It recently added snow tubing, and even when the weather is too warm to make snow for the slopes, the tubing site can be functioning, as it was on Thanksgiving Day with long lines.

Gatlinburg’s popular and knowledgeable special events coordinator, George Hawkins, was right to spotlight Ober Gatlinburg at this year’s parade. The event attracts thousands who line the Parkway to see what is surely one of the best Christmas parades in the state.

And to feature such a community fixture as Ober Gatlinburg will make this year’s parade even more special.