GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) — The 47th annual Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade in Gatlinburg is slated to step off Friday, Dec. 2. Organizers say more than 60,000 people come to view the award-winning parade each year. Here’s what to know about this year’s festive cavalcade.

2022 Grand Marshal

This year’s procession will be led by country music star and Grand Ole Opry member, Mark Wills, officials announced Monday. Wills is no stranger to Gatlinburg, as he had previously headlined the Gatlinburg Chili Cook-off and Winter Magic Celebration last fall. Wills has 16 Billboard charting hits that include “I Do (Cherish You), “Don’t Laugh at Me” and “19 Somethin’.”

Parade Time

Downtown Gatlinburg is already lit up in holiday cheer and festive decorations as businesses prepare for the parade, which steps off Friday at 7:30 p.m. from Baskins Creek Bypass and East Parkway.

The parade line-up will comprise of parade floats decorated by local businesses, high
school marching bands and holiday balloons. Fantasy of Lights organizers say the seasonal march spans through downtown before ending at traffic light No. 10. Paradegoers are encouraged to arrive early Friday. For optimal viewing, spectators can purchase VIP Grandstand seats in the television zone at Traffic Light No. 3.

Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade Route

The parade route begins at Baskins Creek By-Pass, travels to Traffic Light No. 3, turns south onto the Parkway, and ends at Traffic Light No. 10.

Tree Lighting Ceremony

Prior to the parade, the Tree Lighting Ceremony hosted by City of Gatlinburg officials will be at 7:25 p.m. on the Parkway Plaza at Traffic Light No. 3.

Gatlinburg lane closure information for the parade

The city says outbound lane closures will begin around 4:30 p.m. Friday, when all U.S. Route 321 traffic will be switched to one lane on the outbound side in order to make room for float staging. The inbound lane will shut down around 6:50 p.m.

All traffic along the parade route will shut down approximately at 7 p.m.