F is for fall, foliage and FOOTBALL! In the South, football reigns, and when the brisk autumn air begins to blow, that means it’s football time again. The Gatlinburg Thanksgiving Bowl Tournament returns in its 39th year this Thanksgiving holiday, with games beginning on Thanksgiving Day and playing out through Saturday. This Gatlinburg football tournament, with brackets for ages 6 through 14, is a good team building experience and a great chance for families to take advantage of a getaway to Gatlinburg while watching their sons participate in some healthy competition.
Last year, teams from 10 different states participated in the three day tournament. This year, there is a 48 team maximum, so those interested should sign up early. Teams from North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Ohio have already registered. There is also no gate entrance or parking fee, so families, friends and other spectators can enjoy this free event and cheer on the teams whenever they want. New to the tournament this year are 3 Pop Warner-style divisions, allowing participating teams to enjoy a more competitive atmosphere.
The tournament began in 1972, hosted by the Gatlinburg Highlanders Youth Athletic Association, and was originally held at Gatlinburg Pittman High School. The tournament grew quickly, however, and was moved to Mills Park in the 1990s. Each year, this event grows and improves. This is expected to be the most exciting year yet, so if you’re in Gatlinburg this Thanksgiving, don’t miss out on some classic American fun—football! You might even see the next Peyton Manning, as the Gatlinburg Thanksgiving Bowl boasts several players who made it to the NFL, including Mike Alstott, Ron Ninkovich, Jason Taylor, and Ryan Munday.
Visit the Gatlinburg Thanksgiving Bowl website to register, check out pictures, or to get more information.