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January 14, 2019

Gatlinburg Goes for World Record in Number of Scarecrows

Did you know that Gatlinburg is set to attempt a world record for having the most scarecrows in one display?  The record has been held since 2014 by an English city, Burton-upon-Trent, which is innkeeper John’s birthplace!  Cincinnati held the most recent U.S. record.  John also lived there.  If Gatlinburg succeeds, we think John could hold a world record for living in the most cities that held the record for scarecrows!  Sounds like we will have an exciting fall 2019!

The current world record is 3,812 scarecrows all in one display.

Will Gatlinburg be able to bring the record back to U.S. soil?

The Battle for the World Record

Burton-upon-Trent’s record is 3,812 scarecrows in one display.  Photos of their scarecrows can be seen at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-stoke-staffordshire-28956395.  The population of Burton is approximately 76,000.  The display was erected on the National Forest Adventure Farm.  According to the director, visitors brought many of the scarecrows.  Some even made them on-site.  In fact, guests added more than 100 scarecrows every day.  Seeing thousands of scarecrows in one place is a stunning visual.  Some of the mannequins had plain white cloth heads.  Meanwhile others bore the faces of celebrities.

Jim Downs, director of events at the Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, says that local businesses are encouraged to purchase scarecrows.  Other ideas include having a scarecrow drive.  Individuals could make a scarecrow in exchange for a donation to a local charity.  Or residents could donate scarecrows.  The population of Gatlinburg is about 4,100.  Will being so much smaller than Burton impact our chances?  According to an article in the Knoxville News Sentinel, Gatlinburg began the effort in the fall of 2018.  Many local businesses displayed scarecrows and visitors were charmed.  For example, Anakeesta had about 35 scarecrows, and The Holler had nearly 60.  The two tallest scarecrows so far are 9-foot ones in downtown.  In 2019 the efforts will intensify.  The organizers feel that whether they ultimately succeed or not, they are doing something positive for the community.  For more information, contact Jim Downs at [email protected]  

January 7, 2019

Plenty of Winter Activities in our Area

Need a winter get-away?  While summer is the peak tourist season, our area offers plenty to see and do.  

Gatlinburg is gussied up through February for Winterfest.  Literally millions of lights and displays make the area glow.  This is a great time of year to stroll the downtown streets, admire the lights, and visit some of the shops and restaurants.  Because there are not the crowds of summer and fall, now is the time to visit some of the local indoor attractions.  You might want to check out Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, the new Ripley’s Believe It or Not, and the Guinness World of Records Museum.  The mild

Winter vistas are beautiful.

When the leaves are down the views go on forever.

seasonal weather also makes it a great time to visit Ober Gatlinburg.  The resort has eight ski trails with varying levels of difficulty for beginners, intermediate, and experienced skiers and snow boarders.  Certified instructors are available and an on-site shop rents skis and other equipment.  The view from Anakeesta goes on for miles!  Enjoy a meal or a snack, try your hand at zip-lining, or enjoy the treetop walk.

Winter Hiking

In this area about half the days in winter have high temperatures at more than 50 degrees F, making it very comfortable for hiking.  Fewer tourists means more quiet.  The absence of the leaves opens new vistas.  It is easy to spot the stone walls, chimneys, foundations, and other reminders of past residents of the area.  If there is snow on the ground, spotting and identifying animal tracks adds to the fun of your hike.  If the weather has been below freezing for a length of time, you will see frozen waterfalls, sparkling icicles, and azure blue skies.  Please note that as of today the federal government shutdown is still in force.  That means that for most national parks there will be no park-provided services such as restrooms, trash collection, facilities, or road maintenance.  For information go to the park website https://www.nps.gov/grsm/index.html.  Before you start out, be sure to check the weather in the area you intend to hike.  In addition to temperature and precipitation, wind is an important consideration.  Limbs blowing down create danger.  Our guests report that some of their favorite winter hiking trails are:  Rainbow Falls, Porters Creek, Max Patch, and Andrews Bald.  Please share some of your favorite hiking adventures!