GATLINBURG (WATE) – The leaves are changing, the temperature is dropping and thousands of people are pouring into Gatlinburg this month. October is known for being one of the busiest months of the year in Gatlinburg, and the traffic is backing up there again this year.
They fill the sidewalks and the streets coming in droves to the Smokies.
“First time I came up here was 1970 and it was a high school field trip. We’ve been coming up ever since,” said Chuck Tilley from Georgia.
Chuck and his wife Judy are just two of the nearly 11 million people who find their way to Gatlinburg each year. A large portion of that number arrive in October.
Some take advantage of fall break at school. Others just take any time they can get to enjoy the scenery with cornstalks and pumpkins lining the street and fall foliage lining the mountains.
“I think it’s our favorite time of year really. We enjoy the cooler weather. The spring and the fall,” said Judy Tilley.
October is the second busiest month of the year for Gatlinburg – the busiest being July – and the city says they spend a lot of time decorating and coming up with different events for the month to give those thousands of people something to see and do.
“The city has put out decorations. The business community has put out decorations. It’s just festive,” said Marci Claude, public relations manager for the Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We’ve got the Gatlinburg Craftsmens Fair at the Convention Center. It’s running now through the end of the month.”
All those people arriving in town mean big revenues for the city, and it is something all the local businesses look forward to as well.
“We host a competition among the businesses. You can enter your business, and decorate it up and we will go around and judge,” said Claude.
Even with all the traffic that comes with the arrival of the tourists, many of them say they still love October in the Smokies.
“This is their busiest time of the year and you got to expect that. You don’t get in a hurry when you come up. You’re just very patient and just enjoy it,” said Chuck Tilley.
The city says they also are planning trick or treat events for anyone who will be in Gatlinburg on Halloween. Families can take their children trick or treating at the businesses in town.