“Gatlinburg Winter Magic”, a new winter lights project, was introduced to the City Commissioners in a workshop Thursday.
The Commissioners gave Dave Perella, Director of Gatlinburg Tourism, authorization to start bidding out the new lights project.
Cindy Cameron Ogle, City Manager, noted, “An authorization to proceed with bidding is not an authorization to purchase. The City Commissioners will have to vote on this at a meeting.”
Perella proposed to phase in the entire winter lights package over 3years, in order to keep the project affordable and new for visitors. The total estimated cost for the 3 year project is $1.1 million with a proposed $456,670 to be spent this year.
The 2006 winter lights package will include 22 light pole decorations that will be placed on every other new green light pole from light #3 to #7. The Mills Conference Center will be decorated. About 100 snowflakes will be refurbished with glitter and mesh so that they stand out and fit the new theme. New trees and decorations in the triangle across from Ripley’s Aquarium will be the center focal point of the program. River Walk will be designed as a romance area with arches along River Road decorated with 8ft. flowers and giant swans.
“Winterfest has had a tremendous impact on the community. We have seen at least 200% revenue growth since the project started,” Perella said. “This new program is designed to add daytime appeal as well as focusing on things that are synonymous with our community. It’s extremely important as we continue to market this program that we introduce new elements for our return visitors.”
Winter Magic will consist of several viewing areas at the end of 3 years including “Winter Wildlife” on 321, “Winter Fun” near Ober Gatlinburg, a “Giant Toyland” on 321, “Winter Round the World” near the Arts and Crafts Community, and “Snowflakes on the Hills”. A meet and greet Santa area will be in the Mills Conference Center entrance. This will be changed to a romance area in January.
This project is being designed by JBP Entertainment Group, the same company that developed Tunes and Tales earlier this year.