Posts Tagged ‘Great Smoky Mountains National Park’

Pigeon Forge Celebrates Great Smoky Mountains, Appalachian Heritage with Transformed Wilderness Wildlife Week

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (April 2015) – For five days in May, you can learn about bears and trout, hone your nature photography skills, join a celebration of gospel singing, discover your artistic side, and even meet President Franklin Roosevelt – all for free.

The occasion is the 26th annual Wilderness Wildlife Week, Pigeon Forge’s salute to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Mother Nature and the heritage of the Southern Appalachians. Dates are May 18-22 at the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge.

For its first quarter-century, Wilderness Wildlife Week was a January event, and 2016 marks its move to springtime.

“Moving to spring opens the door to visitors who were reluctant to travel in winter. It also lets us introduce a variety of new programs,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism, which organizes the week filled with more than 250 programs and 40 hikes, field trips and excursions in the national park and surrounding area.

Event manager Butch Helton said 2016 is special because this is the centennial year of the National Park Service, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the system’s most visited park. More than 10 million guests visit the 800-square-mile park every year.

“We’re going to do our part to help more people understand and be active in our treasured neighbor,” Helton said.

President Roosevelt appears courtesy of actor Gary Stamm. Stamm’s keynote program on May 18, “A Fireside Chat with FDR: Celebrating a Century of the National Park Service,” will recall Roosevelt’s dedication of Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 1940.

An array of programs fills all five days. Among the topics:

  • 900 Miles and Then Some: A Hiking Journal
  • Logging Railroads of the Smokies
  • Waterfalls of the Southern Appalachians
  • Turn Your Photography into Art
  • Recording the Smokies: An Audio Journal
  • Leave No Trace: Principles of Outdoor Ethics
  • Fly Fishing the Smokies
  • Bears in the Back Seat
  • Painting the Smokies
  • Moonshine: The Past, Present and Future
  • A Miller’s Life (about the historic Old Mill in Pigeon Forge)
  • Birds of Prey Live Bird Show
  • The Art of Dowsing: Do You Have the Gift?
  • Gospel Music of the Smokies

Experts in numerous fields donate their time to deliver programs. Among them are current and retired National Park Service rangers, wildlife experts, artists, local historians and musicians.

In addition to FDR, evening programs include “Heaven and Nature Sing,” a presentation from Wilderness Wildlife Week creator Ken Jenkins; Dr. Bill Bass about the University of Tennessee’s famous “Body Farm”; and “Tales From Lost,” recollections from retired backcountry ranger Dwight McCarter about searches for people lost in the wilderness.

Complementing those programs is a series of hikes in the national park and field trips to destinations such as the American Eagle Foundation’s research and rehabilitation facility

On May 21, the first Appalachian Homecoming is planned at Patriot Park. This is a celebration of music, storytelling, children’s games and antique tractors. The Cades Cove Preservation Association will have a fundraising picnic, capped at 200 dinners, in conjunction with the event.

Wilderness Wildlife Week attracts people from throughout the U.S.  A voluntary sign-up sheet in 2015 identified visitors from 28 states. The most distant were from Alaska, California, New York and Wyoming.

Information about all aspects of visiting Pigeon Forge is online at MyPigeonForge.com and by calling 800-251-9100.

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Contact:

Tom Adkinson, APR

tadkinson@bohanideas.com

615-341-8796

 

Fabulous Festivals Celebrate Every Season at Dollywood

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (March 24, 2016) — Dollywood guests know every season at the award-winning park presents a totally different and exciting atmosphere for guests. Much like the changing scenery in the nearby Great Smoky Mountains creates beautiful sights for visitors, Dollywood’s fabulous festivals provide a distinct and always-changing ambiance for those who come through the gates.

As Dollywood enters its third decade of providing memory-making moments for families, its fantastic festivals offer guests a multitude of opportunities they’ll find nowhere else. Free international stage productions and concerts by bluegrass and Southern gospel favorites, the eight-time winner for Best Christmas Event, as well as extended operating hours and a nightly fireworks show in the summer, combine with the park’s more than 40 rides and attractions to provide something for everyone. 

Dollywood’s Festival of Nations—March 19-April 18, 2016

Dollywood welcomes the world during Festival of Nations, a fascinating multi-cultural celebration! Featuring the traditional music, dance, food and art of nations from around the globe, Festival of Nations reminds guests of shared similarities while embracing unique, time-honored traditions. The headline show for 2016, Mother Africa, returns after its Dollywood debut in 2014. This renowned show combines skillful acrobatics, live music and traditional dance to delight audiences through a world-class demonstration celebrating Africa’s diverse traditions.  Major touring stage shows, internationally-known performance groups, various roaming musicians and more make Festival of Nations a fun, educational and exciting experience.  Authentic international cuisine and the daily celebrations by visiting nations throughout the park provide guests with an escape around the world without leaving the heart of the Smokies.

Dollywood’s Barbeque & Bluegrass—May 13- 22, 2016

Dollywood’s Barbeque & Bluegrass launches the unofficial start of summer and combines the tastiest barbeque in the South with the biggest names in bluegrass. This year’s festival features an impressive bluegrass lineup with a multitude of free daily concerts from an amazing collection of International Bluegrass Music Association award winners. This annual tradition wouldn’t be complete without pounds of saucy pulled pork, barbequed chicken and ribs by the slab. This family-favorite event is music to the ears… and a treat for the taste buds.

Dollywood’s Great American Summer—June 11-Aug. 7, 2016

Great American Summer provides families even more of what they already love—time together at Dollywood. This summertime celebration features extended park hours, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, giving families a unique chance to ride Dollywood’s world-class attractions, including Lightning Rod and Wild Eagle all day and well into the night! Families will love Chris Perondi’s Stunt Dog Show which returns to Dollywood in 2016. The high-flying antics of these powerful pooches will leave audiences begging for more. Perondi’s amazing animals have been featured on The Tonight Show, Ellen and The Oprah Winfrey Show. Great American Summer also features award-winning illusionist Brad Ross who takes audiences on an inspirational journey into a world of fun and magic. Each show features unbelievable magic, world-class illusions, hysterical comedy and audience interaction. To complete the day, the park’s festive nightly fireworks show features uplifting music and interactive elements to celebrate the fun of Dollywood after dark! Each evening a high-spirited dance party entertains guests in Wilderness Pass with a 15-minute party designed to get every member of the family on their feet prior to Dolly’s Nights of Many Colors!

Dollywood’s National Southern Gospel & Harvest Celebration presented by Humana—Sept. 30- Oct. 29, 2016

With a colorful swatch of orange, red, yellow and gold painted across the landscape, fall in the Great Smoky Mountains provides the perfect festive backdrop for Dollywood’s National Southern Gospel & Harvest Celebration. Featuring a lineup which includes some of the biggest names in Southern gospel music, the soul-stirring sounds of beautiful harmonies ring through the crisp autumn air as free daily concerts take place on the park’s various stages. Visiting artisans from across the country share their talents through an array of handmade wares, spanning from functional to decorative. Each day is a picture-perfect opportunity to enjoy the traditional experiences of a Smoky Mountain harvest!

Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana—Nov. 5, 2016-Jan. 4, 2017

An eight-time winner of America’s Best Christmas Event, Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana features four million holiday lights and spectacular holiday performances, including traditional favorites like It’s a Wonderful Life and Christmas in the Smokies. Guests also can experience the fun and excitement of Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer and friends. Many of Dollywood’s signature rides and attractions operate in a festive environment designed to get everyone into the spirit of the season. From the award-winning shows and elaborate holiday decorations to the twinkling lights and Christmas-themed menus, Dollywood captures the essence of a Smoky Mountain Christmas.

 

For more information about Dollywood’s fabulous festivals, visit www.dollywood.com or call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD.

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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.

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Contacts

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

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

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

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

 

 

Pigeon Forge Presents Four Months of Festivals, Special Events

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (February 2016) – Pigeon Forge lives up to its nickname of the “Center of Fun in the Smokies” with winter and spring special events that include cowboys, American folk art, a parade with an international celebrity and a celebration of America’s most visited national park. Here’s the lineup of city-sponsored events from February through May.

Saddle Up

Saddle Up is a celebration of the American West featuring western music, cowboy poetry and a highly competitive chuck wagon cookoff. Dates are Feb. 17-21. It is the 16th year Pigeon Forge has brought cowboy culture to the Smokies.

R.W. Hampton at Saddle Up

R.W. Hampton at Saddle Up

Poets and performers such as Dave Stamey, R.W. Hampton, Yvonne Hollenbeck and Chris Isaacs will star in full concerts, small performances and “intimate evening” dinners that include steaks to make any cowboy or cowgirl happy. Events are at the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge and other venues.

The chuck wagon cookoff is Feb. 20, and it features nine cook teams from five states. It’s dutch oven cooking at its best, and Saddle Up guests can buy lunch from the team of their choice. Before lunch, a family-oriented Buckaroo Roundup will teach youngsters how to throw a lasso and maybe how to yodel.

A Mountain Quiltfest

More than 550 artfully designed and carefully stitched quilts will chase more than $20,000 in prize money at A Mountain Quiltfest, an event featuring classes, demonstrations and special activities that has drawn quilters and fans of fabric art to Pigeon Forge for 22 years. Dates are March 15-19 at the LeConte Event Center.DSCN2150

Twenty quilt categories will be displayed, including ones with this year’s special theme – log cabins. A Mountain Quiltfest includes more than 70 classes and lectures about America’s popular folk art taught by world-class instructors. There is a fee for classes, but admission to quilt displays and a vendor mall is free.

In addition to the classes, many people visit A Mountain Quiltfest to get appraisals of quilts that are family heirlooms.

Dolly’s Homecoming Parade

For 31 years, Pigeon Forge has saluted the area’s most popular singer, songwriter, movie star and philanthropist – Dolly Parton – with Dolly’s Homecoming Parade. This year’s date is May 6.Dolly Parade_low res[1]

Pigeon Forge shuts down half of the Parkway, the main thoroughfare through town, for a small-town parade that would make Norman Rockwell proud. Parton herself leads the parade in a float whose theme is kept secret every year until parade day.

Tens of thousands of Parton’s fans line the Parkway, and she uses a sound system on the float to call out to special friends she spots. The rest of the parade features high school bands, twirlers, equestrian groups, fire trucks, go-carts, clowns and more.

Wilderness Wildlife Week

Wilderness Wildlife Week is Pigeon Forge’s annual salute to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and an array of nature topics. It offers five days of free photography workshops, seminars, art classes, children’s activities, hikes and excursions. Dates are May 18-22.WWW Possum_rr

The major focus is on Pigeon Forge’s next-door neighbor, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited of all American national parks. The 26th presentation of Wilderness Wildlife Week takes on special significance because 2016 is the centennial year of the National Park Service.

Program presenters include professional photographers, botanists, biologists, hiking experts, talented artists and mountain musicians. All donate their time to spread the word about enjoying the beauties of nature on display in the national park and throughout the Southern Appalachians.

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

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Contact:

Tom Adkinson, APR

tadkinson@bohanideas.com

615-341-8796

 

What’s New in Pigeon Forge for 2016

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (January 2016) – Baseballs, a violin and a speeding roller coaster top the list of what’s new in Pigeon Forge for 2016. The little city with only 6,000 residents is ready to show some Great Smoky Mountain hospitality to millions of guests.

Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge – Listen for the crack of the bat and the snap of horsehide hitting leather when the $22.5 million Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge opens on March 9.

Clubhouse at the Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge

Clubhouse at the Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge

This six-stadium youth baseball complex will be a tournament destination for elite teams nine months of the year. Each field borrows its design from well-known professional ballparks, including Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore.

Former Major League Baseball players Cal Ripken Jr. and Bill Ripken are behind the company that will draw thousands of young players to a site that offers spectacular views of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Lightning Rod at Dollywood – The Dollywood theme park will add another superlative attraction this spring. It’s Lightning Rod, the world’s fastest wooden roller coaster and the world’s first launching wooden roller coaster. The thrilling $22 million ride is the largest attraction investment in the park’s history.

Lightning Rod, the world's fastest wooden roller coaster

Lightning Rod, the world’s fastest wooden roller coaster

Themed after a tricked out 1950s-era hot rod, Lightning Rod launches riders from zero to 45 mph to a point 20 stories high. Lightning Rod races down a 165-foot drop and propels guests along its 3,800-foot-long track to a top speed of 73 mph, the fastest speed for a wooden coaster in the world.

Lighting Rod joins other Dollywood thrill rides such as Wild Eagle, the country’s first wing coaster; FireChaser Express, the nation’s first dual-launch family coaster; and Thunderhead, a wooden coaster consistently ranked one of the world’s top five wooden coasters. At the adjacent Dollywood’s Splash Country water park, RiverRush stands as Tennessee’s first and only water coaster.

Wallace Hartley Violin – When the RMS Titanic sank into the frigid North Atlantic, a legend was born about the ship’s bandleader, Wallace Hartley. His cherished violin was found strapped to his body after the sinking and was returned to his fiancée, only to be lost to the world for almost a century. It sold at auction in 2013 for $1.7 million.

Pigeon Forge visitors can see the Hartley violin in a special exhibition at the Titanic Museum Attraction from June 5-Aug. 14. Every day, there will be special early-morning admission for a limited number of Titanic enthusiasts to view the violin and shoot heirloom photos.

RetroRunning All Around Town – There’s a special running event April 29-31 exclusively for people age 40 and older. The LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge will host RetroRunning, a one-of-a-kind race because it’s the odd length of 5 miles, 916 yards. As race organizers note, everyone who runs will set a personal best for that distance.

The weekend will include programs from Jeff Galloway, the nation’s leading running coach and columnist for Runner’s World, and Rudy Maxa, travel journalist and the voice of National Geographic Traveler’s “Walks of a Lifetime” podcast.

New Hotels – Pigeon Forge’s amazing inventory of more than 14,000 lodging units will grow in 2016 with the opening of a 137-room Courtyard by Marriott property, a 112-room Hilton Garden Inn and the 178-room Black Fox Lodge.

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

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Contact:

Tom Adkinson, APR

615-341-8796

Tadkinson@bohanideas.com

 

 

 

Dixie Stampede Thunders into 2016 Season with ‘High-Spirited Adventure’

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (January 2016) – After a 2015 season which saw Dixie Stampede’s show reimagined with a $2.5 million renovation, “The Most Fun Place to Eat in the Smokies” returns Jan. 15 for its 29th season featuring a high-spirited adventure sure to bring a smile to every face.

 

Last season’s renovations saw a state-of-the-art, LED wall backdrop added to Dixie Stampede’s 35,000-square-foot arena. Renovations also included new audio and lighting technology and several other fascinating new show enhancements that left guests marveling at the end result. At the end of the season, one thing was certain—the changes received a resounding positive response from visitors.

 

“Our team worked hard to create an entirely new atmosphere for the show and they certainly succeeded,” said Dixie Stampede President Jim Rule. “Our guests were delighted to see their favorite Pigeon Forge show as never before. We are thankful for everyone who came to experience our new adventure in 2015.”

 

Shortly after entering the arena, guests understand Dixie Stampede’s high-spirited adventure is unlike anything they’ve encountered before. Accentuated by newly added video mapping, the floor of the arena is filled with images of stampeding horses so lifelike, the thundering hooves rattle the guests’ tables. From there, Dixie Stampede’s talented cast of performers lead the show’s impressive stable of 32 magnificent horses through a spirited display of equestrian skill.

 

Throughout the show, the striking LED wall, consisting of 12.5 million LED lights, creates an experience so immersive, guests feel as if they have been instantly transported deep in to the natural beauty of the foothills surrounding the Great Smoky Mountains. Clouds roll across the mountains, the sun sets over the horizon in the distance and the night sky fills with a brilliant patchwork of stunning stars. Dixie Stampede’s high-spirited adventure provides an experience unlike anything offered in the region.

 

The show’s equine stars challenge each other in barrel races and other thrilling competitions, all in the name of Dixie Stampede’s friendly rivalry between the North and South. Audience members even may find themselves called in to help their side to victory.

 

Dinner, the other star of the show, includes Dixie Stampede’s signature four-course feast consisting of Dixie Stampede’s original creamy vegetable soup, homemade buttery biscuit, a whole rotisserie chicken, hickory-smoked barbequed pork loin, corn on the cob, herb-basted potato, Dixie Stampede’s own specialty dessert and unlimited beverages. Vegetarian meals are available upon request.

 

Guests are invited to start their fun-filled evening in the Dixie Belle Saloon with the side-splitting comedy and hard-driving bluegrass and country music of Mountain Ruckus, Dixie Stampede’s house band. The band performs one hour prior to show time. Show times and reservations are available by calling 1-800-356-1676 or visiting www.dixiestampede.com.

 

Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede Dinner Attraction operates in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and Branson, Missouri. Pirates Voyage, another Dolly Parton Company, operates in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. A new venue opens in Pigeon Forge this spring.

 

-dixiestampede2016-

 Media Contacts:

Pete Owens: (865) 428-9486, (865) 755-7972 or peteo@wciinc.com

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

Woody Peek: (865) 453-9473, (865) 607-5103 or woodyp@dixiestampede.com

Celebrate the National Park Service Centennial and ‘Hike 100′

In celebration of the National Park Service Centennial, Superintendent Cassius Cash has committed to hike 100 miles in Great Smoky Mountains National Park during 2016 and is challenging the public to do the same. The 100-mile goal is part of the “Smokies Centennial Challenge-Hike 100” program. This program aims to inspire all potential hikers—young and old, new and skilled—to experience and gain a new appreciation and stewardship for their national park.
All levels of hikers are invited to join the 100-Mile Challenge.

All levels of hikers are invited to join the Hike 100 Challenge.

“I invite people of all ages and backgrounds, including millennials, to join me on this journey as we discover and explore the Smokies,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “The Hike 100 challenge allows me to have a personal role in ensuring that the next generation of park users, supporters, and advocates carries on the legacy of the National Park Service for the next 100 years. The lifeline of any legacy is to ensure that our voices are not only heard by the next generation, but also shared in a manner that inspires them to pick up the torch from the previous generation and carry it forward.”

 

To complete the Hike 100 challenge, participants must hike any 100 miles of maintained trail within the park boundaries between January 1 and December 6, 2016. These miles can include everything from the front country nature trails to the extensive backcountry network of trails. Participants can choose to hike the same trail repeatedly or choose to hike many different trails to accumulate a total of 100 miles. Participants who reach the 100-mile goal will earn a commemorative “Smokies Centennial Challenge – Hike 100” pin and be invited to a park celebration hosted by Superintendent Cash.
As part of the Hike 100 program, the park is hosting hikes for several regional youth organizations throughout the year. These opportunities will provide a chance for groups, who otherwise face barriers to travel due lack of transportation or funding restraints, a chance to explore the Smokies. These groups will have the added benefit of hiking alongside Superintendent Cash, as well as experienced hikers from the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club and Carolina Mountain Club.
The Superintendent is also providing a unique opportunity for the general public to hike alongside him on his way to reaching the 100-mile goal through a series of four hikes open to the public. Two front country hikes in August and December will be completely open to the public, while two backcountry hikes in June and October will be limited to 20 people each. Information about the dates, trails, and how to sign up for one of these public hikes is provided on the park website on the Hike 100 page.
In addition to information about the public hikes, the Hike 100 page on the park website provides opportunities for the Superintendent and hikers to share their experiences and reflections about their journeys towards their 100 miles, and a hiking log that participants can use to track their miles. Please visit the website at www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/gsmnp-hike-100.htm.
The Smokies Centennial Challenge-Hike 100 program is made possible by an Active Trails grant issued by the National Park Foundation and though the continued support of Great Smoky Mountains Association and Friends of the Smokies.
For more information about the Smokies Centennial Challenge-Hike 100 program, please visit the park website or contact us by email at gsmnp_hike_100@nps.gov.
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Contact: Dana Soehn
(865) 436-1207

 

Fall Paints Dollywood with a Colorful Brush During National Southern Gospel & Harvest Celebration in October

PIGEON FORGE, Tennessee (Sept. 24, 2015) – With sweet melodies drifting through the crisp, autumn air, Southern gospel music is well represented during Dollywood’s National Southern Gospel & Harvest Celebration presented by Humana (Oct. 2- 31).

Once again, Dollywood is home to a packed slate of Southern gospel’s premier talent. Among this year’s new acts are Ernie Hasse & Signature Sound (Oct. 4-5) and The Collingsworth Family (Oct. 7). Guests can see concerts from a number of returning Dollywood favorites including Guy Penrod (Oct. 16-17), The McKameys (Oct. 9-10), Karen Peck & New River (Oct. 2-3), The Isaacs (Oct. 19) and The Booth Brothers (Oct. 15-16). Many other artists take to the stage throughout the festival including special concerts on the Praise 96.3 FM and Singing News stages. Dollywood’s own Kingdom Heirs also play prominently throughout the festival. Incredibly, guests can experience more than 350 concerts, all free with park admission, during the festival. For a complete Southern gospel concert schedule, visit Dollywood.com/gospel.

“Some of my earliest memories of singing come from the days when my family would stand up on the stages of those little churches here in these beautiful mountains,” Dolly Parton said. “I’ll always remember how it felt when the trees were painted in those bright colors and the sounds of Southern gospel music echoed through the hills. I’m glad we’re able to recreate that for our guests thanks to these talented artists during my National Southern Gospel & Harvest Celebration. I love to see—and hear—Dollywood during this time of year!”

Although performing during the festival for the first time, The Collingsworth Family has made Dollywood’s award-winning rides, food and entertainment a tradition for years. After making many trips to the park, they are eager to share their talents with Dollywood guests.

“It’s with great excitement that we anticipate our first performances during this year’s National Southern Gospel & Harvest Celebration at Dollywood,” said Phil Collingsworth Sr. “After enjoying many Dollywood visits as an integral part of our family’s vacation schedule, it’s a delight to be a part of the celebration professionally. Thank you to Dollywood for offering 30 years of great American family fun!”

The McKameys, who hail from nearby Clinton, Tennessee, also have enjoyed spending time at Dollywood through the years.

“Singing at Dollywood has always been a great honor for us,” said Peg McKamey. “The facilities are wonderful and there is always an atmosphere of worship. It is a family-oriented place, and we are so blessed to have Southern gospel music there during the month of October. We know the fans will enjoy every day of the festival!”

Additionally, Dollywood’s own master craftsmen are joined by more than 40 visiting artisans from around the country. Daily craft demonstrations illustrate how many of America’s vital products were made for centuries. During the festival, Dollywood also celebrates Tennessee Craft Week, Oct. 2-11. Celebrating 50 years, Tennessee Craft, formerly The Tennessee Association of Craft Artists, is a nonprofit organization working to continue Tennessee’s fine craft tradition.

Among the crafts Dollywood guests can observe during the National Southern Gospel and Harvest Celebration are banjo and fiddle making, loom weaving, rug hooking, basket weaving, paper marbling, felt hat making and much more. Products for purchase also include dulcimers, various forms of jewelry, chainsaw carving, bentwood boxes, stained glass artwork, and more.

Finally, Dollywood perfectly captures the essence of fall with perfectly themed menus which take advantage of the crops from a bountiful autumn harvest. Special food locations feature various recipes including fresh apples, corn and much more.

To learn more about Dollywood’s National Southern Gospel & Harvest Celebration, please visit www.dollywood.com or call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD.

                -dollywood2015-

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 Smoky Mountain Cabins; and Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort, opening in 2015. 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 24 Brass Ring Awards for Live Entertainment (more than any other theme park in the world). In 2014, Dollywood was named a top three theme park by USA Today. Dollywood, celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2015, 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. Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins offers luxurious cabin accommodations overlooking Dollywood. The 307-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. For more information, call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD or visit dollywood.com. Operating days and hours vary.

Media Contacts:

Pete Owens: Public Relations Director, (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

 

For B-roll, photography and more information, visit the Dollywood Media Room at http://www.dollywood.com/Media/Media-Room.aspx.

 

 

Pigeon Forge Receives 20 International Events Awards

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (September 2015) – The Pigeon Forge (Tenn.) Department of Tourism claimed a record 20 Pinnacle Awards, including six gold, from the International Festivals and Events Association (IFEA).

Wilderness Wildlife Week received nine Pinnacle Awards, including gold for the best educational program and the best community outreach program in the category for projects with budgets less than $250,000. This marks the sixth year the event has received gold for best educational program.

The outdoor-focused event, which moves from January to May in 2016, won silver awards for best green program, best children’s programming, best hat and best new attendee service, as well as bronze awards for best promotional poster, best miscellaneous clothing and best event within an event to benefit a cause.

Gold Pinnacle Awards also were received for best event program and best cover design for the Saddle Up 2015 program guide, best hat for Dolly’s Homecoming Parade and best organizational website for MyPigeonForge.com.

“Having our events recognized year after year by the IFEA is humbling,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism, “especially when you realize that we are competing against major events from all over the world. Our special events staff and family of volunteers are to be congratulated for their work. They are the reason the Pigeon Forge name is associated with award-winning events.”

Additional silver Pinnacle awards were received for best TV promotion and best commemorative poster for Saddle Up. Other bronze Pinnacle awards were for best radio promotion for Patriot Festival, best promotional brochure, best single magazine display ad and best new merchandise for Saddle Up, and best educational program for A Mountain Quiltfest.

“It’s a challenge to keep our special events growing. We literally have to out-do ourselves each year. Pigeon Forge has a reputation for producing outstanding events, and we take a lot of pride in the fact that IFEA recognizes our work,” said Butch Helton, special events manager.

Other winners at the 2015 convention included the McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade in Chicago; the Portland Rose Festival, Portland, Ore., and the Tournament of Roses Parade, Pasadena, Calif.

International events vying for Pinnacle awards included Servus Heritage Festival in Edmonton Alberta, Canada; Geumsan Insam Festival in Geumsan, South Korea; and Ludwig Van Beethoven Easter Festival, Krakow, Poland.

This year’s IFEA awards presentation was Sept. 21 in Tucson, Ariz., during the organization’s 60th anniversary convention.

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Contact:

Donnette Engebrecht

donnette@bohanideas.com

615-341-8768

 

 

Pigeon Forge Turns Wilderness Wildlife Week into Springtime Event

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (August 2015) – Wilderness Wildlife Week, Pigeon Forge’s 25-year-old annual salute to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and an array of outdoor topics, is moving from January to May.

Dates for 2016 are May 18-22 (Wednesday through Sunday), with indoor programs at the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge and outdoor activities nearby in the national park.

Owls always are a hit at Wilderness Wildlife Week programs.

Owls always are a hit at Wilderness Wildlife Week programs.

“Moving to spring opens the door to attract visitors who were reluctant to travel in winter. It also lets us introduce a variety of new programs,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism.

“We especially look forward to using Wilderness Wildlife Week to draw attention to the centennial year of the National Park Service. ‘Find Your Park’ is a big theme of the centennial celebration, and we’re certainly going to help people get to know the Smokies better,” he continued.

Wilderness Wildlife Week is a free event. Experts in numerous fields donate their time to deliver programs about wildlife, botany, nature photography, mountain crafts, Appalachian music and other topics.

Complementing those programs is a series of hikes in the national park. In the 11 years that hiking records have been kept, Wilderness Wildlife Week hikers have logged 3,631 miles on trails in the Smokies. Pigeon Forge provides hike leaders and transportation to and from the trailheads.

Wilderness Wildlife Week attracts people from throughout the U.S.  A voluntary sign-up sheet last January identified visitors from 28 states. The most distant were from Alaska, California, New York and Wyoming.

Wilderness Wildlife Week was inspired by local nature photographer Ken Jenkins, and his popular photography presentations remain on the week’s schedule.

Information about all aspects of visiting Pigeon Forge is online at MyPigeonForge.com and by calling 800-251-9100.

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Contact:

Tom Adkinson, APR

tadkinson@bohanideas.com

615-341-8796

 

Soehn ‘Employee of the Year’ at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is pleased to announce the selection of Dana Soehn as the Park’s 2014 “Employee of the Year.”   This marks the 31st anniversary of an important partnership between the park and its neighboring communities which recognizes the outstanding work of park employees in all disciplines.  A public event will be held on Monday, May 4, at 11:30 a.m. on the lawn at Park Headquarters.  

Dan Soehn

Dana Soehn

The annual event, sponsored by the Smoky Mountain Tourism and Development Council, will also observe National Tourism Week. In conjunction with this observance, a visiting family to the Smokies will be selected to participate as “tourist family of the day.” Jimbo Whaley, singer and songwriter and General Manager at Hearthside Rentals, will serve as the Employee of the Year event emcee.

Soehn began her career at the Smokies in 1989 as a Student Conservation Association Resource Assistant. After her internships, Dana spent 15 years as a member of the Resource Management and Science Division. In 2005, Dana became the Parks as Classrooms liaison between the park and Pi Beta Phi Elementary School. In 2009, Dana returned to the National Park Service as the park-wide Volunteer Coordinator, where she directed the park’s 3,000+ volunteers, creating lifelong stewards of the national park. In 2012, then Superintendent Dale Ditmanson selected Dana to serve as the park’s management assistant, the park’s primary spokesperson and liaison with community groups and friends groups.

In 2014, Dana’s role in the superintendent’s office transition along with her continued community service made her a clear choice for the Employee of the Year award. As Management Assistant, Dana guided three acting superintendents through their details at the Smokies, organizing public meet and greets, introductions to park partner groups and community organizations. In this position Dana also organizes several events and programs with partner organizations, including the Student Conservation Association’s National Park Service Academy. Dana and her co-workers have streamlined processes regarding Freedom of Information and Special Use permit requests over the past year. Finally, as the primary spokesperson for the park, Dana has maintained an excellent relationship with local, national, and international media outlets.

“Working with Dana every day, I see firsthand her passion for this special place,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “She represents the Smokies, and the National Park Service, with the highest degree of enthusiasm and professionalism.”

Dana lives in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, with her husband, Heath, and their two sons, Grant and Garrett. As a family, they have traveled to many of the national parks throughout the country. She shares her time in the community through volunteer service at her church, in local schools, the Gatlinburg Planning Commission, Keep Sevier Beautiful and many other organizations.

Co-hosts of the 2015 event include the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism, Gatlinburg Department of Tourism, Sevierville Chamber of Commerce, Smoky Mountains Tourism Development Council, Blount County Partnership and Cocke County Partnership.

-NPS-

Public Affairs Office

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

107 Park Headquarters Road
Gatlinburg, TN  37738
Dana Soehn, 865-436-1207 (office), 865-712-4928 (mobile)
Brent Everitt, 865-436-1203 (office), 865-414-6735 (mobile)