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Gatlinburg chili cook off marks unofficial start to holiday season

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) - The unofficial start to the holiday season, marked nearly a month ahead of Gatlinburg's Christmas Parade - the Chili Cook-Off. 

Held along Wednesday the Parkway, the event brings together local businesses to compete for the "People's favorite chili", but also, is a marker of the start of one of the busiest times of year in the city for tourism.

"Starting new traditions and making new memories," said Kelsea Walters, as one reason her family came back to the annual event.

According to Gatlinburg's Marketing Director Chad Netherland, October is the busiest month of the year for tourism followed by summer, winter, and then spring. 

 "It's truly important this time of year is important to our attendance," said Netherland. 

More than 5,000 people are expected to come to Gatlinburg between three events: the Chili Cook-Off, Christmas Parade, and New Year's Eve Celebration. 

The Gatlinburg Christmas Parade is Friday, Dec. 7th. 

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