George Hawkins served four terms encompassing twelve years on the Gatlinburg City Council over three decades – the 70s, the 80s, the 90s – and now it is time to elect George Hawkins again May 19, 2015. Gatlinburg once again needs George’s innovative ideas and strong leadership to help bring more business into Gatlinburg. In the past Hawkins served as Mayor, Vice Mayor and City Commissioner. During those years Gatlinburg was the main tourism city in Sevier County.
Hawkins was very instrumental in starting the First 4th of July Parade in the Country, the Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade and the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop Celebration at the Space Needle. These three events are still going strong bringing thousands and thousands of people into Gatlinburg. All three of these events alone bring over 50,000 people annually at three different times of the year into downtown Gatlinburg. His creation of the 12 Days of Christmas in 1976 exhibited the first downtown lighting display by all the Gatlinburg businesses. The Ole Timers Christmas program, which was part of the 12 Days of Christmas, is still in existence today.
George has served on numerous municipal, civic and professional boards including: Gatlinburg Planning Commission, Board of Adjustments and Appeals, Beer Board, Member of the Board of Directors for the EXPO 82 World Expositions. George has been Chairman of the United Way of Gatlinburg, President of the Gatlinburg Civic League, served on the 50th and the 75th Anniversary celebration committees for the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Hawkins is a past Exalted Ruler of the Gatlinburg Elks Lodge #1925 and a member of the First United Methodist Church.
Gatlinburg City Council accomplishments achieved during his tenures in office include the beginning of the undergrounding of power lines in downtown; the addition of handicapped assessable curb cuts; creation of the Gatlinburg Environmental Design Review board the first ‘zoned’ craft commercial area better known as the Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Community. Hawkins terms on the City Council saw the purchase of new equipment for the landfill that would double its life; the knuckle boom truck for the sanitation/street department; bear proof trash containers: and the purchase of numerous fire and police vehicles. During George’s terms on council the building of New City Hall Complex on East Parkway took place, three new fire stations were erected (Ski Mountain, Reagan Drive and East Parkway), and the Gatlinburg Community Center and Mills Park were built. George participated in the groundbreaking ceremonies and construction of the current Waste Water Treatment Facility for Gatlinburg.
In 2000 George became the City’s Special Events Director. Upon the request of the City Commissioners George created the Veteran’s Day Celebration at the Aquarium which
each year has drawn standing room only crowds garnering Gatlinburg national recognition from Washington. During his tenure at the Special Events Dept. of the City Hawkins started the Vintage Views, a series of local films to help preserve the history of Gatlinburg. George was responsible for creating the Re-enactment of President Roosevelt’s Historic Park Dedication Motorcade through Gatlinburg for the Smoky Mountains National Park’s 75th Anniversary in 2009. With help of the University of Tennessee Army ROTC, George started The Annual Mountain Man Memorial March with 40 cadets and this year’s march saw over 800 marchers. The Gold Star Mothers organization is a part of this Mountain Man Memorial March’s mission. Movies created by Hawkins to promote the Gatlinburg area are “The Park Was My Home” and “Old Timers Day on the Grounds of the Pi Beta Phi.”
While Hawkins spends most of his time promoting and figuring ways to attract more people to Gatlinburg, he does not forget those that live here. With the help of Sweet Fanny Adams Theater, George started a Christmas event for 2nd graders at Phi Beta Phi Elementary School for Live Theater. He was the creator and director of the Bi-Centennial of the Constitution Patriotic Celebration for all three high schools in Sevier County. Hawkins helped start the Gatlinburg Tennis Open Tournament. For the Spanish community George start Gatlinburg’s annual Cinco D Mayo event. George helped bring Guy Lombardo’s Orchestra to town for the Fireman’s Ball at the Convention Center.
George was promoted in June of 2013 to be the Community and Media Relations Director of the GVCB when it was first formed. Hawkins retired in December last year to seek another term on the Gatlinburg City Council where he thinks he can be more effective to the Gatlinburg Community.
Hawkins opened Continental Hair Fashions on the Parkway in 1969 and it is still in business today. In his profession he served as President of the Knoxville Cosmetologist Association, Member of the Tennessee Hair Fashion Committee, and Director on the Tennessee Cosmetologist Association.
“I enjoyed serving on City Council in the past and am proud to have been a part of many great accomplishments for the City,” said George Hawkins. “Serving in today’s changing times calls for new and innovative ideas. I feel I have proven I can bring to the table the leadership needed to increase financial revenue streams for the City of Gatlinburg.”