Saturday, December 31, Gatlinburg will welcome in the New Year in grand style with country music stars Beau Braswell, Cassidy Diana and the traditional New Year’s Eve Ball Drop from the iconic Gatlinburg Space Needle. This hugely popular event is expected to draw almost 60,000 people from across the nation. Since 1987, this family friendly celebration is one of the largest organized New Year’s Eve events in the nation. A free concert featuring Braswell and rising country singer Cassidy Diana begins at 10 p.m. in the area adjacent to the Gatlinburg Convention Center near traffic light number 8.
New This Year: Free Country Music Concert
Beau Braswell is a platinum selling country music singer who has been selling out shows all across the country since the release of his 2011 album “Time to Ride”. In addition to his music career, Braswell is also an accomplished motorcycle racer, with six AMA National Championships and two AMRA World Motorcycle Championships under his belt. Braswell was able to combine his two passions when he released “Whiskey I.V.”, the official theme song for AMA Motorcycle Racing.
Cassidy Diana is a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist based in Nashville, TN. Diana was mentored by Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Johnny Van Zant and has shared the stage with some of the biggest names in country music, including Trace Adkins, Hunter Hayes, Tyler Farr, Cole Swindell, and Chris Janson. Cassidy is known for her high energy shows and patriotic songs.
Gatlinburg Ball Drop and Fireworks Show
“A lot of people are asking, ‘Are you going to have fireworks with the fires and things that are happening?’ and we’re very excited to say that we are going to have fireworks,” said Chad Netherland with the Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau. He said they are using what are called “close proximity” fireworks that mostly produce cool sparks that are similar to those used in pyrotechnic shows.
The climax of the Gatlinburg New Year’s Eve celebration is always the Ball Drop and Fireworks Show at the Gatlinburg Space Needle. When the clock strikes midnight, the ball drop will take place at midnight, and fireworks will go off from the top and sides of the 400-foot tall space Needle. The fireworks show will be produced by Pyro-Shows of LaFollette. Organizers are addressing concerns about the fireworks show being held so soon after this year’s record drought and wildfires.
Parking for New Year’s Eve in Gatlinburg
The Strip is going to be packed with people this New Year’s Eve, so we suggest heading downtown at least a few hours before the festivities begin. If you arrive early enough, you may be able to snag one of the free spots along River Road, which runs parallel to the Parkway. Other parking options in downtown Gatlinburg include the garage at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, the McMahan Parking Garage at Traffic Light #3, and the privately owned lots on River Road
Visitors are encouraged to arrive early to take advantage of the celebration specials offered by many Gatlinburg restaurants and businesses. For more information on New Year’s Eve events in Gatlinburg, contact the Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau at 800-588-1817.