Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Pigeon Forge Wildfire Update

PIGEON FORGE, Tennessee (Nov. 29, 2016)—Firefighters continue to battle wildfires in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

Approximately 500 people evacuated on Monday evening and took shelter in Pigeon Forge facilities. At this time, 75 people remain in the shelter. The Red Cross is assisting those who were displaced.

According to Pigeon Forge Fire Chief Tony Watson, there are multiple active fires in Pigeon Forge that crews are working to contain.  Power outages continue in various areas of the city. At daybreak, emergency crews began a damage assessment of the area.

More than 100 firefighters from 15 additional stations throughout East Tennessee are battling the blazes.

Tennessee Emergency Management Association officials are currently on site in Pigeon Forge to support local officials.

The American Red Cross makes available the website Safeandwell.communityos.org for communication between those affected by disasters. Those wanting to locate a friend or loved one or anyone wanting to check-in as safe may visit this site for updates.

Donations are being accepted at the Pigeon Forge Fire Hall Station 1 at 3229 Rena Street in Pigeon Forge.

#

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Marks Unprecedented Milestone

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016) — Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, which began as a small community outreach in Parton’s native Sevier County, Tennessee, has evolved to become the largest literacy program in the world. In December, the “little literacy program that could” marks another impressive milestone—one million books gifted to children around the world each month.

To celebrate the unprecedented success, Evey Johns, a two-year-old from Conway, Arkansas who just enrolled in the Imagination Library, has been randomly selected to receive a $30,000 college scholarship. The announcement was made by Parton during her Pure & Simple concert tour stop in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee on Nov. 15. The concert raised $500,000 to benefit the Imagination Library.

“I thought long and hard about the best way to honor our achievement of reaching a million children a month,” Parton said. “The Imagination Library is all about inspiring dreams, so what better way to pay tribute to this moment than by helping one special child pursue her college degree. I’m thrilled that today I can let the world know that precious little Evey Johns from Conway, Arkansas will receive a $30,000 scholarship for the college of her choice.”

The scholarship will be held in a special account and distributed to Johns when she enrolls in college. Over the next 16 years, the amount of scholarship should grow to nearly approximately $50,000. Johns is enrolled in the Imagination Library in Conway thanks to the local affiliate in her area, Arkansas Preschool Plus.

“The thought of our daughter Evey going to college has been just that—a thought,” explained Evey’s mother, Connie. “Now, due to the enormous kindness and generosity of the Dollywood Foundation, that thought has now become a reality. Our family now has the means to develop a solid plan for our daughter’s future education. Thank you all so much for this unbelievable opportunity for our daughter.”

In 2016, the Imagination Library and its local partners will gift nearly 11.5 million books to children from birth to age five in participating communities in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. To date, the Imagination Library, which is administered through the Dollywood Foundation, has provided more than 85 million books to children around the world.

Arkansas Preschool Plus is just one of the many local affiliates the Dollywood Foundation works with to provide books to children. To provide the Imagination Library, a community must make the program accessible to all preschool children in their area, and the community pays for the books, promotes the program and registers the children. The Dollywood Foundation manages the delivery of books to children’s homes.

Arkansas Preschool Plus enrolls 960 children in Conway, Faulkner and Perry Counties. Currently, nearly 15,000 children are enrolled in Arkansas. The Imagination Library currently is working with elected officials, foundations and corporations in Arkansas in an effort to make the program available to all children from birth to age five in the state.

For video about the Imagination Library and video of Parton announcing Johns’ scholarship during the concert, please visit https://thedollywoodcompany.sharefile.com/d-sa5c0983abb844498

 -dollywood2016-

About Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library: Founded in 1995, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a book gifting organization that has, to date, mailed more than 85 million books to children in Australia, Belize, Canada, United Kingdom and the United States. Each month, the program currently mails more than one million specially selected, high-quality, age-appropriate books to registered children from birth until they start Kindergarten in participating communities. Dolly envisioned creating a lifelong love of reading in children, preparing them for school and inspiring them to dream. Recent studies suggest participation in the Imagination Library is positively and significantly associated with higher measures of early language and math development. Penguin Random House is the exclusive publisher for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

About The Dollywood Company:   A highly-awarded and widely-recognized leader in the amusement industry, The Dollywood Company consists of the 150-acre Dollywood theme park; the 35-acre Dollywood’s Splash Country; Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort; and Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins. As unique as its namesake and owner Dolly Parton, Dollywood is the 2010 Applause Award winner, the theme park industry’s highest accolade; winner of nearly 30 Golden Ticket Awards; and recipient of 25 Brass Ring Awards for Live Entertainment (more than any other theme park in the world). In 2014, Dollywood was named a top three US theme park by USA Today and TripAdvisor recognized Dollywood as a top 20 worldwide theme park in 2015. Dollywood is open nine months a year (late March through early January) and offers rides and attractions, shows, and a dozen crafters authentic to the East Tennessee region.  Dollywood’s Splash Country, recognized by the Travel Channel as one of the country’s most beautiful waterparks and named 2009’s Must-See Waterpark by the International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions, operates from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The 300-room Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort provides guests spectacular mountain views and family-friendly amenities next door to Dollywood theme park and Dollywood’s Splash Country. Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins offers luxurious cabin accommodations overlooking Dollywood. For more information, call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD or visit dollywood.com. Operating days and hours vary.

 

 

 

 

 

Media Contacts:

Pete Owens: Director of Communications, (865) 428-9486, (865) 755-7972 or powens@dollywood.com

Wes Ramey: Public Relations Manager, (865) 428-9484, (865) 640-3805 or wramey@dollywood.com

Amber Davis: Publicist, (865) 428-9601, (865) 591-1002 or aldavis@dollywood.com

Ellen Liston: Publicist, (865) 428-9629, (865) 919-7001 or eliston@dollywood.com

 

 

 

Magic Legend Makes Appearance at Magic Beyond Belief™ Starring Darren Romeo

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn., Sept. 17, 2016–The Magic Beyond Belief™ show in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., starring nationally known magician Darren Romeo, The Voice of Magic, hosted a special magical guest recently at The Smoky Mountain Opry™ Theater.  Gay Blackstone of Los Angeles, the widow and former magic assistant of the late stage magician and illusionist Harry Blackstone, Jr. was in attendance to see what her late husband inspired.

Romeo has long been a fan of the late famous illusionist Harry Blackstone Jr., and his wife.  Blackstone was Romeo’s inspiration for entering the profession after he received a magic kit for Christmas at age nine. At age 11 Romeo attended one of Blackstone’s shows, where he was enamored watching the Blackstone’s perform. This was when he first saw Blackstone’s signature piece, “the floating light bulb illusion.”   “Blackstone was the first magician I ever saw,” said Romeo. “He took a lighted bulb from a lamp and floated it, still glowing, through a small hoop,” Romeo said.  “He then threw the light bulb from the stage, and it floated out over the heads of the audience.

“I was a kid watching my idol,” Romeo said.  “I wanted to meet him, so I wrote him a note on the back of my business card, ‘I am 11 years old.  I love magic.  Can I please see you after the show?” The Blackstones did indeed meet him after the show and gave him their doves from the performance that day.

Upon Blackstone’s death, Gay Blackstone found Romeo’s business card in her husband’s wallet. “Out of the thousands of people who gave Harry Blackstone their business card, Darren’s was the one that was in his wallet when he died,” Blackstone stated.  “That is the magic of life that you cannot explain.”

Romeo and Gay Blackstone became friends. Romeo says they came close to having a show that was “Blackstone presents Darren Romeo,” but then Siegfried and Roy entered Romeo’s life. Romeo said, “So before my Las Vegas premiere at the Mirage, I said to Gay, ‘Siegfried and Roy and I have been in your lives and Harry’s.  Harry was one of the most influential people in my life. Could I have the honor of performing the ‘Floating Light Bulb illusion?’”

Blackstone said, “I discussed it with my daughter, and my daughter said, ‘Dad would have liked it to continue with Darren.’  We decided it must be someone who has great respect for his legacy. We said this is a young magician who is going to do magic and make it magical, so we agreed to let him have the rights to perform the illusion.”  Romeo first performed the “Floating Light Bulb Illusion” five years after Blackstone died.

“The first time Gay saw me perform was at the Magic Castle in Hollywood,” Romeo said.  “It was a very emotional thing for me.”

Blackstone said, “Darren’s premier of the lightbulb illusion was bittersweet and glorious.  I never wanted to see the illusion leave the world of magic.”

Today Romeo carries on Harry Blackstone Jr.’s legacy  by performing his famous “Floating Light Bulb Illusion”  at The Smoky Mountain Opry™ Theater.  He is the only magician in the world granted permission from the Blackstone family to perform the illusion and full tribute. It is one of only three pieces of magic that is protected and controlled.

Blackstone said, “Harry’s legacy continues at the lovely Smoky Mountain Opry Theater in Pigeon Forge.  The legacy is continuing.  I am proud to be a part of it.  As the magic goes on, the legacy goes on.  There is a lot of magic in the world but very few miracles. The ‘Floating Light Bulb Illusion’ is a miracle.”

As the saying goes, the show must go on, and it does. Romeo, a magician and a singer, stars in his critically acclaimed full-scale production show Magic Beyond Belief™ starring Darren Romeo that features exotic animals including a white Bengal tiger, stunning large-scale original illusions, vocal performances, celebrity impersonations, mind-boggling special effects, comedy, and a huge tribute to the magicians who inspired him the most, Harry Blackstone Jr. and Siegfried and Roy.

Romeo appears six days a week March through October at The Smoky Mountain Opry™ Theater.  Romeo’s Magic Beyond Belief™ is known for his combination of live singing with the art of magic and illusion for a one-of-a-kind magical performance.

Magician Romeo said, “Magic is my passion, and The Smoky Mountain Opry is one of the most beautiful theaters I’ve ever seen.  I am able to present the biggest and best version of my show to date.  It is my joy to honor and celebrate Blackstone’s legacy as I present the ‘Floating Light Bulb Illusion.”

One of the most awarded magicians in the history of magic, Romeo has garnered an extensive list of accolades including:

Magician of the Year from The Magic Castle, The Academy of Magical Arts, Inc., Show of the Year (two years in a row) from the Branson Critic Association, and the Milbourne Christopher Award for Notable Contributions to the Art of Magic from The Society of American Magicians (SAM).

In addition to all of the large illusions people would expect to see on stage from someone with the very select rights to perform Blackstone’s legacy illusion and Siegfried & Roy’s protégé, Romeo also performs close-up magic and sleight of hand tricks in the show.  Two large video screens complement the show as well as music, dancers, elaborate sets and costumes and state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems.

The New York Daily News called Romeo’s show “Irresistible” and the Las Vegas Review-Journal said it was “the most unique and compelling show to hit the strip in many years.” While Entertainment Today said his show was “Extraordinary. Fantastic!”

Romeo is a highest ranking member of the Inner Magic Circle (MIMC), a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians (IBM) and the Society of American Magicians (SAM).  Romeo is also a lifetime member of the International Magicians Society (IMS), who awarded him with a “Lifetime Achievement Award.”

Magic Beyond Belief™ starring Darren Romeo is performed in the afternoon matinee slot at The Smoky Mountain Opry™ Theater at 3:00 p.m. every day except Wednesday. Tickets for the show are $29.95, plus tax each and children 3 to 11 are only $9.95 plus tax. Children under 3 years old are free.  The theater is located at 2046 Parkway in Pigeon Forge.  For more information, call the theater’s box office (865) 428-7469 or 1-800-768-1170 or visit

www.pigeonforgemagic.com .

The Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment Group, one of the largest show production companies in the Southeast, also owns and produces four other major shows in the Smoky Mountain area including The Comedy Barn®, The Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Feud™, The Smoky Mountain OpryShow, and The Smith Morning Variety Show.  The company also owns Happy Days restaurant and Chef’s Catering.

Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment offers a combination show deal when guests buy a ticket to the Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Feud™ for $54.95 plus tax they can buy a ticket to Magic Beyond Belief™ starring Darren Romeo for only $19.95 plus tax for an adult ticket. With this combo deal, children are free to the Magic Beyond Belief™ show starring Darren Romeo (after guests have bought a child’s ticket to the Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Feud™”).

 

Dolly Parton Announces $2.5 Million Parade Set To Debut During Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (August 31, 2016) — Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana has long been known as one of the world’s best holiday theme park events. Dolly Parton today unveiled plans for an awe-inspiring new parade—dreamed up as only she can—which will add even more excitement to this family-favorite festival.

Named The Parade of Many Colors, the new $2.5 million addition helps make this year’s event the best and brightest in the park’s history. The parade perfectly complements Dollywood’s spectacular Christmas offerings which include four million festive lights, the remastered Christmas in the Smokies, the all-new It’s a Wonderful Life, and the joyous holiday atmosphere guests have come to enjoy during this lively festival.

Like her new NBC holiday movie, Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love, Parton’s new parade celebrates the fun, faith, family and harmony of the holidays. Vibrant floats, interactive characters and a few other surprises help spread cheer throughout Dollywood this holiday season.

“The joy I feel during the Christmas season makes my heart sing because of the love and sweet Christmas memories I have of family and friends from when I was a child,” Parton said with a smile. “Christmas is the time of year when traditions, faith and family come together to create experiences we all remember forever. That is why my new movie and this parade are so important for me. I truly believe The Parade of Many Colors will inspire some of those same lifelong memories for the families who see it.”

The Parade of Many Colors represents another significant investment made by The Dollywood Company as part of the $300 million investment strategy announced in 2013. The company also recently announced the addition of TailSpin Racer to Dollywood’s Splash Country for 2017.

Dollywood has added two days to its calendar, Dec. 6 and 13, to provide guests more time to experience the eight-time winner for Best Christmas Event. One of Dollywood’s greatest entertainment offerings is remastered in 2016 as Christmas in the Smokies returns to its traditional home at D.P.’s Celebrity Theater. Guests can celebrate the joy of the season while a cast of singers and dancers performs hometown holiday favorites while accompanied by a band of live musicians!

Dollywood’s entertainment team brings a Christmas classic to life with the debut of It’s a Wonderful Life. Based on the timeless holiday story of love and generosity, small town businessman George Bailey discovers the true value of life, family and friends with a little help from his guardian angel, Clarence.

For more information about Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas or The Parade of Many Colors, please visit www.dollywood.com or call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD.

-dollywood2016-

About The Dollywood Company:   A highly-awarded and widely-recognized leader in the amusement industry, The Dollywood Company consists of the 150-acre Dollywood theme park; the 35-acre Dollywood’s Splash Country; Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort; and Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins. As unique as its namesake and owner Dolly Parton, Dollywood is the 2010 Applause Award winner, the theme park industry’s highest accolade; winner of nearly 30 Golden Ticket Awards; and recipient of 25 Brass Ring Awards for Live Entertainment (more than any other theme park in the world). In 2014, Dollywood was named a top three US theme park by USA Today and TripAdvisor recognized Dollywood as a top 20 worldwide theme park in 2015. Dollywood is open nine months a year (late March through early January) and offers rides and attractions, shows, and a dozen crafters authentic to the East Tennessee region.  Dollywood’s Splash Country, recognized by the Travel Channel as one of the country’s most beautiful waterparks and named 2009’s Must-See Waterpark by the International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions, operates from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The 300-room Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort provides guests spectacular mountain views and family-friendly amenities next door to Dollywood theme park and Dollywood’s Splash Country. Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins offers luxurious cabin accommodations overlooking Dollywood. For more information, call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD or visit dollywood.com. Operating days and hours vary.

Media Contacts:

Pete Owens: Director of Communications, (865) 428-9486, (865) 755-7972 or powens@dollywood.com

Wes Ramey: Public Relations Manager, (865) 428-9484, (865) 640-3805 or wramey@dollywood.com

Amber Davis: Publicist, (865) 428-9601, (865) 591-1002 or aldavis@dollywood.com

Ellen Liston, Publicist, (865) 428-9629, (865) 919-7001 or eliston@dollywood.com

 

 

 

 

 

Comedy Barn Kickin’ Chicken 5K Run & Fun Walk To Benefit Safe Harbor

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn., Aug. 19, 2016 – The Comedy Barn Theater® in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., will sponsor its fourth annual Kickin’ Chicken 5K Run & Fun Walk on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016. Net proceeds will benefit The Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center of the Smokies that provides comprehensive, coordinated and compassionate services to victims of child abuse (4th Judicial District that includes Cocke, Grainger, Jefferson and Sevier Counties).

The race is a single loop course that begins and ends at The Comedy Barn Theater®. The race starts at 8 a.m.  The scenic route goes through The Island and returns down the Riverwalk Greenway. Entry forms can be picked up from The Comedy Barn Theater® or people can register online. Individuals can also register the morning of the race beginning at 6:30 a.m. with limited t-shirt availability, so early registration is encouraged.   For more information call 865-428-5222 or 1-800-29 LAUGH or see The Comedy Barn® web site‎ at http://www.comedybarn.com/kickinchicken.

Registration cost is $25 for adults and $20 for children 17 and under who register before Aug. 22.  For those who register after Aug. 22 the cost is $30 for adults and $25 for children. Packet pick-up will be at The Comedy Barn Theater®, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016, from noon to 6 p.m. or the morning of the race.  All pre-registered participants receive an event t-shirt if signed up by Aug. 28 and a bib (only runners are chipped to measure racer’s time). The t-shirts are short-sleeved heavy-weight cotton. Awards: Top M/F Overall, Master, Grandmaster, and Veteran Finisher. Awards three deep to M/F finishers in all age groups 1-10, 11-14, 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, 75-79, and 80+. There is also a $100 cash prize for the 100th finisher.

If people would just like to make an entry fee donation and not physically participate in the race, they may check the virtual category and The Comedy Barn® race team will mail them a t-shirt. They also may make a tax-deductible donation directly to Safe Harbor by clicking donate on the registration page.

“We are all about children at The Comedy Barn,” said Clyde Foley Cummins, race director and performer at The Comedy Barn Theater®.  “We want to give back to the community. Nothing is more worthy than child causes. We love promoting fun and health.”

There will be a silent auction with items from local retailers and attractions at the race. There will be large prizes that will include lodging and ticket packages from Fee/Hedrick Shows including tickets to The Comedy Barn® show. There will also be door prizes, and refreshments after the race.  This event is part of “The Run and See Tennessee Grand Prix Series” www.totalracesolutions.com. Winners in each age division will receive medals and tickets to The Comedy Barn®.

The Comedy Barn® is an award-winning clean family comedy variety show in the Smoky Mountains. The show features magicians, jugglers, ventriloquists, clean family comedians, live country and gospel music and fun barnyard animals.

For more information call 1-800-29 LAUGH or see The Comedy Barn® website‎ at http://www.comedybarn.com/kickinchicken. The Comedy Barn® Show is part of the Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment Group that also includes: the “Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Show™;” “The Smoky Mountain Opry™ Show;” “Magic Beyond Belief™ starring Darren Romeo;” “The Smith Morning Variety Show” starring Charlie Bob Smith; Happy Days Diner, and Chef’s Catering.

 ###

Deborah Fee Newsom

Director of Public Relations and Merchandising

Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment Group

119 Music Road,

Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 414-6887 (cell), (865) 774-8877

Deborah@FeeHedrick.com

Dolly Parton Pure & Simple Tickets on Sale June 15 to Dollywood Season Passholders; General Public Sales for Nov. 15 Concert Begin July 1

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (June 6, 2016) — Tickets for Dolly Parton’s Nov. 15 Pure & Simple concert at the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee go on sale June 15 to Dollywood season passholders. Tickets will be made available to the general public on July 1.

As Parton embarks on her first major North American concert tour in more than 25 years, the most special stop may be the one that brings her back home to Sevier County. Proceeds from the concert benefit Parton’s Imagination Library, a literacy program which provides free books to children from birth to age five.

Premium seating is available for $75, with preferred tickets beginning at $50. General admission seating begins at $25. Imagination Library sponsorship opportunities also are available for $5000. Sponsorship packages include a meet & greet and photo with Parton, along with premium seats for the concert. Anyone interested in sponsorship should contact the Dollywood Foundation at pureandsimple@dollyfoundation.com.

Concert goers should plan to arrive early for best parking at the LeConte Center. The show begins at 7 p.m.; doors open two hours prior to the start.

Dollywood season passholders can purchase tickets by visiting Dollywood.com or by calling 1-800-DOLLYWOOD. Special lodging packages at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort also are available for the event.

Parton is as busy as ever, and with the Pure & Simple tour, a new CD and much more in the works, she doesn’t plan on slowing down any time soon. Parton’s set-list during the tour includes a number of hit songs, with a few new offerings from her double-disc album Pure & Simple with Dolly’s Biggest Hits. She also will be playing a number of hits that have not been heard live for decades.

Parton’s Imagination Library is administered through the Dollywood Foundation and provides an age appropriate book each month to children from birth to age five in participating communities. To date, the Imagination Library has provided more than 80 million books in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia.

About The Dollywood Company:   A highly-awarded and widely-recognized leader in the amusement industry, The Dollywood Company consists of the 150-acre Dollywood theme park; the 35-acre Dollywood’s Splash Country; Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort; and Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins. As unique as its namesake and owner Dolly Parton, Dollywood is the 2010 Applause Award winner, the theme park industry’s highest accolade; winner of nearly 30 Golden Ticket Awards; and recipient of 25 Brass Ring Awards for Live Entertainment (more than any other theme park in the world). In 2014, Dollywood was named a top three US theme park by USA Today and TripAdvisor recognized Dollywood as a top 20 worldwide theme park in 2015. Dollywood is open nine months a year (late March through early January) and offers rides and attractions, shows, and a dozen crafters authentic to the East Tennessee region.  Dollywood’s Splash Country, recognized by the Travel Channel as one of the country’s most beautiful waterparks and named 2009’s Must-See Waterpark by the International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions, operates from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The 300-room Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort provides guests spectacular mountain views and family-friendly amenities next door to Dollywood theme park and Dollywood’s Splash Country. Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins offers luxurious cabin accommodations overlooking Dollywood. For more information, call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD or visit dollywood.com. Operating days and hours vary.

Media Contacts:

Pete Owens: Director of Communications, (865) 428-9486, (865) 755-7972 powens@dollywood.com

Wes Ramey: Public Relations Manager, (865) 428-9484, (865) 640-3805 or wramey@dollywood.com

Amber Davis: Publicist, (865) 428-9601, (865) 591-1002 or aldavis@dollywood.com

Ellen Liston: Publicist, (865) 428-9629, (865) 919-7001 or eliston@dollywood.com

 

John Anderson, Lovin’ Spoonful Headline Patriot Festival

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (April 2012) – Country star John Anderson will have the crowd “Swingin’,” and the Lovin’ Spoonful will have everyone rocking to “Summer in the City” when Pigeon Forge presents its July 4 Patriot Festival blast. Admission is free.

Patriot Festival draws tens of thousands of Independence Day celebrants to Patriot Park in the heart of Pigeon Forge.

The towering ridges of Great Smoky Mountains National Park provide the visual backdrop for an afternoon and evening of music, which are capped by one of Tennessee’s major Fourth of July fireworks shows.

Anderson, who literally helped build Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry House prior to his singing career, has had No. 1 hits with “Swingin’,” “Wild and Blue,” “Straight Tequila Night’ and “Money in the Bank.” Hits such as “Seminole Wind” and “I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal (But I’m Gonna Be a Diamond Someday” get instant recognition.

The Lovin’ Spoonful are part of the musical fabric of the 1960s and are 2000 inductees into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.

Festival guests can count on “Do You Believe in Magic,” “You Didn’t Have To Be So Nice” and “Nashville Cats” as well as “Summer in the City.”

Patriot Festival begins at noon when a multi-faceted kids’ play area opens. Music begins about 1:30 p.m. A 20-minute fireworks show, one of Tennessee’s largest for the Fourth of July, will blast off at about 9:30 p.m.

Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets and sunscreen. A variety of food vendors will be on hand. Proceeds from their sales will go to local non-profit organizations.

Information about all aspects of visiting Pigeon Forge is available online at MyPigeonForge.com or by calling toll-free to 1-800-251-9100.

‘I Can See Clearly Now’

GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK (March 2012) – Visitors to America’s most visited national park will see something quite unusual for the next few months – crews at work opening scenic vistas that have grown up dramatically over the decades since the park was created.

After more than 75 years of forest growth, maturing trees are obscuring some of the park’s most scenic views, and enjoying the Smoky Mountains’ vistas is the No. 1 activity that visitors list.

The National Park Service is rolling back the natural clock by judiciously cutting some trees and trimming or thinning others.

They will work on 34 overlooks from April 1-Aug. 1 along Newfound Gap Road, Clingmans Dome Road, the East and West Foothills Parkway, the Gatlinburg Bypass, Rich Mountain Road, Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Lakeview Drive and Cataloochee Road. No road closures are expected.

The goal of the vista management program is to allow the views to be maintained on a seven-year cycle.

Hollywood, History Unite at Pigeon Forge

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (March 2012) – The first-ever museum exhibit of props, costumes and items from the Hollywood blockbuster “Titanic” movie is on display at the Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., throughout 2012.

It is part of the Titanic Museum Attraction’s year-long commemoration of the centennial of the ship’s fateful maiden voyage in April 1912.

The exhibit runs through December and gives movie fans a behind-the-scenes look at the making of James Cameron’s award-winning drama and its role in the lore and legend of the RMS Titanic.

While the museum’s permanent exhibits focus on the factual history of the Titanic, the movie-related exhibit featuring costumes, props and behind-the-scenes videos and photos, lets the museum explore the role of the disaster in today’s popular culture.

“We feel the movie has earned its own place in film history and will stand forever as a tribute to RMS Titanic, her builders, passengers and crew,” said John Joslyn, owner of the Titanic Museum Attraction and leader of the first private-expedition dive to explore Titanic’s resting place.

The movie is being re-released this spring in 3-D.

Popular items from the movie on display include a $250,000 replica of the heart-shaped diamond and sapphire necklace pursued by characters in the film, the famous full-length pink coat worn by actress Kate Winslet and Leo’s third-class costume during the film’s climactic sinking scenes.

‘Wild Eagle’ Sculpture Lands at Dollywood

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (March 2012) – A four-ton wild eagle, actually a sculpture weighing four tons, has landed at Dollywood as the symbol of the park’s newest ride, the Wild Eagle roller coaster.

Sculptor Kevin Stone created the towering art piece in Chilliwack, British Columbia, before it was shipped – not flown – 3,000 miles to Pigeon Forge.

The fierce-looking bird is a mixture of stainless steel and mild – or corten – steel. This is the first time Stone has used two metals on one sculpture.

The eagle’s head hovers more than two stories above the entrance to the Wild Eagle roller coaster and is posed with outstretched talons, ready to swoop down on its prey. Its wingspan measures 48 feet.

The roller coaster is a $20 million ride, the largest capital investment in Dollywood’s 26-year history, and is the first of its kind in the U.S.

Taking off from the Wilderness Pass area, riders will experience the sensation of flight as the track swoops and soars along a 3,127-foot-long journey.

Wild Eagle reaches a top speed of 61 miles per hour and maneuvers four inversions, including a giant loop, a “zero-G” roll and a giant flat spin.

Dollywood’s 2012 season starts on March 24.