WEATHER AWARE

Visitors pour into Gatlinburg for New Year's Eve celebration

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) - Visitors were pouring into Gatlinburg in preparation for the city's New Years Eve celebrations. The city expects around 50,000 people to visit for the holiday.

To kick off the new year, there will be a fireworks show and ball drop at the Space Needle in downtown. There will not be snow, but visitors will have to brave the bitter cold weather.

"I've got like three layers on and two hats and fur and thermal underwear," said Kristine Blanco, a visitor from Florida.

Related: East Tennessee Events: New Year's Eve 2017

Restaurants and other businesses were expected to see the big crowds. Smoky Mountain Brewery says customers should expect a two hour wait from opening until closing time on Sunday. Tammy Broyhill is the general manager. She's noticed business pick back up after the wildfires last year.

"After the fires, it slowed down a bit but this year is proving that they know we are here, we are open and we are ready for business," she said.

Several hotels do not have many rooms left. Many visitors booked reservations a year in advance.

The City of Gatlinburg advises people to come early to find parking. Street closures start at 10 p.m. There will also be extra security from the Gatlinburg Police Department.


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