Posts Tagged ‘Great Smoky Mountains’

Christmas at The Smoky Mountain Opry bigger, brighter and bolder than ever!

Oct. 31, 2017 – “Christmas at the Smoky Mountain Opry™” Theater, will open on Nov. 1 and run through Jan. 6. The acclaimed “Don’t Miss Show” (Southern Living magazine), a fixture in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., for the past six years, is well known for its spectacular array of holiday festivities, music, comedy and dance.  The show is created by executive producers David Fee and Jim Hedrick, and produced and directed by Michael Headla.

This year’s production features the biggest cast ever, with many specialty acts including award winning aerialists Leann Farley and Simyon Gruzdev; comedic juggler, David Hirschi as Slim Chance; and impersonator and singer Charlie Bob Smith.  Other cast members include singers, dancers, musicians, Santa Claus and Frosty the Snowman.  The Christmas show blends the music of the holiday season with audience favorites of country, gospel and pop accompanied by a Smoky Mountain Opry orchestra.

“’Christmas at the Smoky Mountain Opry’ is bigger, brighter and bolder than ever,” said David Fee, president and chief executive officer of Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment Group.  “We have created a stunning production that is full of enchantment and splendor with many new elements.  We have gorgeous new costumes, amazing choreography, incredible special effects and lavish sets.  Come share in the memories that your family will cherish for many years to come.

“We have a section of the show devoted to a Country Christmas this year,” Fee said.  “We have glitzy new costumes and themed stage sets. We also have Santa Claus and Santa’s elves who join the entire cast in Santa’s workshop where giant toys come to life. We have a breathtaking new ‘Winter Wonderland’ section and we ‘Let it Snow’ with snow falling softly in the theater, stunning new costumes and beautiful musical arrangements. And Frosty, the jolly happy soul, blows into the Smoky Mountain Opry Theater and comes to life for his signature song, ‘Frosty the Snowman’.

“We hope people will come and celebrate the true meaning of Christmas with our magnificent production of a living nativity scene that portrays the birth of Christ,” Fee said.”  “We have a dramatic representation of the major events related to the birth of Christ that includes camels, a donkey, shepherds, wise men, angels soaring above, Mary, Joseph, and of course, little baby Jesus.

“It truly is the ‘Most Wonderful Time of the Year’ and we are always extremely proud of all of our shows, but at this time of the year, our ‘Christmas at the Smoky Mountain Opry’ production is spectacular and a must-see family tradition!” Fee said. “This amazing show has been described by our customers as exhilarating, enchanting, funny, magical and wonderful.  Come sing along, laugh along and celebrate the season with the biggest, brightest and boldest Christmas show in the Smokies.”

“Christmas at The Smoky Mountain Opry™” has 8 p.m. evening performances every night of the week and 3:30 p.m. matinees on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.  Tickets for the Christmas show are $56.95, plus tax for adults and children 11 and under are $24.95 plus tax.  Group rates are available for groups of 15 or more for the Christmas show.

Fee/Hedrick offers a combination show deal that offers tickets to “Christmas at the Smoky Mountain Opry™” for only $19.95 plus tax for adult tickets when guests buy a ticket to the “Hatfield and McCoy Christmas Disaster Dinner Feud™” for $56.95 plus tax for adults. With this combination deal, children are $24.95 plus tax to the “Hatfield and McCoy Christmas Disaster Dinner Feud™” and children are free to “Christmas at the Smoky Mountain Opry™” (up to age 11).

The theater is located at traffic light 0 at 2046 Parkway in Pigeon Forge.  For more information or reservations call the theater’s box office (865) 428-7469 or 1-800-768-1170 or visit http://www.SmokyMountainOpry.com.  “Christmas at the Smoky Mountain Opry™” will celebrate with a special New Year’s Eve Show on Dec. 31 at 9 p.m.

In addition to the producers, the creative team for “Christmas at the Smoky Mountain Opry” ™ consists of: Regina Laughlin, choreographer; Joel Bruce, production manager; Marshall Whaley, lighting designer; and Carol Culp, wardrobe supervisor.

Cast members for this year’s “Christmas at the Smoky Mountain Opry”™ show include vocalists:  Brittany Angello, Kara Bergman, Timothy Goins, Deanna Julian, Tim McManus, Jonathan Milner, Kelsey Rae Reinsfelder, and Hugh Warren.  Singer/Dancers include:  Matt George, Michael Bingham and Leigh Ellen Jones.  Dancers include: Abby Brinker, Summer Collins-Wright, Michael DeJesus, Victoria Gusa, Regina Laughlin, Mandy Mays, Cody Parisi, Luke Sanderford, Mowava Six, Desmond Smith, and David Tankersly.  Musicians include:  Keven Eknes, Mark Holbrook, Jeremy Phillips, Kelli Rae Tubbs, Jared Willson, and Kaleb Wright.

The Smoky Mountain Opry™ Theater was awarded the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence for achieving a 5-star average rating on their site, making the “Smoky Mountain Opry”™ show one of the top-performing 10 percent of businesses worldwide on Trip Advisor.

The Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment Group is one of the largest show production companies in the southeast.  The company also owns and produces other major shows in the Smoky Mountain area including “A Comedy Barn® Christmas”, The “Hatfield and McCoy Christmas Disaster Dinner Feud™” “The Smith Morning Christmas Show” starring Charlie Bob Smith and “Magic Beyond Belief™” starring Darren Romeo (which will reopen in March, 2018).

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Contact:  Deborah Fee Newsom

(865) 414-6887 (cell)

(865) 774-8877

Deborah@FeeHedrick.com

Dollywood’s Splash Country Hosts Annual Ronald McDonald Day

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Aug. 22, 2017) — End the summer with a splash, and in the process support sick children and their families. Dollywood’s Splash Country and WIVK are partnering once again to raise money for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Knoxville. Ronald McDonald House’s mission is to aid families with critically-ill children who are being treated in area hospitals. During this event, the first 600 guests who mention Ronald McDonald House at the water park before noon on Saturday, Aug. 26 will receive 50% off a regular or child admission ticket.

One-hundred percent of the funds raised for this special event benefit Ronald McDonald House of Knoxville as it serves as a home away from home for families during their time of treatment.

“The Dollywood Company believes strongly in being a great community partner,” explained Dollywood’s Splash Country General Manager Janet Dawson. “As a water park, we look forward to our partnership with Ronald McDonald House every year. Splash Country is all about family time and that’s what Ronald McDonald House is trying to restore—they’re supporting families through tough times and trying to get them back to normalcy. What a great mission.”

Sue Beverly, Director of Ronald McDonald House added, “Thousands of lives are impacted each year by the services we offer at our wonderful house—services that are a direct result of the loving support so graciously offered by our community and our friends at Splash Country.”

Since 2003, Dollywood’s Splash Country has donated more than $347,000 to the non-profit through special events, promotions and monetary donations.

This season, Dollywood’s Splash Country extended its operating calendar with several additional days. The remaining open days this season are Aug. 22, 24, 26, 27, 29 and 31, and Labor Day weekend, Sept. 2-4. For more information about Dollywood’s Splash Country or any of The Dollywood Company properties, please 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 more than 30 Golden Ticket Awards; and recipient of 26 Brass Ring Awards for Live Entertainment (more than any other theme park in the world). The park is located near Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which celebrated record attendance in 2016. Dollywood was named a top three US theme park by USA Today in 2014 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 and TripAdvisor as one of the country’s most beautiful water parks and named 2009’s Must-See Waterpark by the International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions, operates from mid-May 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: 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.

Dollywood’s Great Pumpkin Luminights Provides Families With Memory-Making Opportunities

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Friday, August 18, 2017)—Dolly Parton today shared plans with media about her award-winning park’s upcoming harvest and Christmas events, as well as a new album project which features music from Dollywood’s Little Engine Playhouse.

“I love fall in the Great Smoky Mountains,” Parton said during the media event. “It truly is one of my favorite times of the year to come home. God’s coloring book is in full display with the Great Smoky Mountains painted in reds and golds.

“I’m also really excited to be here to let you know about our brand new nighttime event we are adding for families in October called Great Pumpkin LumiNights. You know, people from all around the world know us for the millions of twinklin’ lights we put up at Christmas time. Well, when guests see thousands of these glowing pumpkins all lit up in Timber Canyon, they’re going to have that same special feeling. We think Great Pumpkin LumiNights will become just as popular with families as our Smoky Mountain Christmas festival. I’m pretty sure there will be a lot of new family traditions made this October!”

Dollywood’s Harvest Festival presented by Humana (Sept. 29- Oct. 28) provides families with great Southern gospel entertainment during the day and fabulous fall fun during the evening thanks to the new Great Pumpkin LumiNights. This season marks the first time the Smoky Mountain theme park has opened every day—and stayed open after dark—during its family-favorite harvest event. The expanded operating schedule allows Dollywood to provide guests with additional autumn experiences designed to help them create cherished family memories.

The biggest names in Southern gospel take to stages every day throughout the park with more than 500 individual performances during the run of the festival. Additionally, Great Pumpkin LumiNights offers whimsical, family-friendly activities that are sure to make this event a new harvest tradition.

Families will bask in the glow of thousands of intricately-carved pumpkins as they wander through immersive harvest-themed displays throughout Dollywood’s Timber Canyon. Beyond the impressive displays, guests can find a number of exciting activities to create thrilling memories together. With so many carved pumpkins needed to create Great Pumpkin LumiNights, Dollywood has a number of “pumpkin artists” who will host demonstrations to help guests learn how to produce the perfect pumpkin masterpiece.

Unique harvest games and attractions—including a glow maze—for kids, a nightly Pumpkin Boogie dance party, and friendly costume characters help add to the festive atmosphere. New themed food options and exclusive harvest-themed Coca-Cola products make Great Pumpkin LumiNights the place to be when the sun goes down in the Smokies.

Alongside Great Pumpkin LumiNights, Dollywood once again hosts the largest Southern gospel music event in America with the biggest names in the genre visiting the Southern Gospel Jubilee. Karen Peck & New River (Oct. 21-22), Guy Penrod (Oct. 23-24), The Isaacs (Oct. 12-13), The McKameys (Oct. 6-7), Gold City (Oct. 2-3) and many more provide inspirational music to fill the autumn air.

The park’s Year of the Family continues with America’s most-loved holiday theme park event, Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana (Nov. 4- Jan. 1, 2018). Honored for nine-consecutive years with Amusement Today’s Golden Ticket for Best Christmas Event, Dollywood is home to a festive holiday atmosphere that truly puts guests in the holiday spirit.

“I just love Christmas at Dollywood, and I know you all do too,” Parton said. “The Parade of Many Colors is back this Christmas, along with seven holiday shows and four million beautiful lights. We even have Rudolph and his friends back for another year of creating family memories. It will be a November and December to remember!”

From the spectacular shows and elaborate holiday decorations to the four million sparkling lights and Christmas-themed menus, Dollywood captures the essence of Christmas in the Smoky Mountains.

Parton also spoke about her newest project, a children’s CD entitled I Believe in You. The CD will be released in September and features songs she has written throughout the years for Dollywood’s Little Engine Playhouse. It includes a new version of Coat of Many Colors which debuted in the playhouse this summer.

For more information about Dollywood’s Harvest Festival or Smoky Mountain Christmas, please visit www.dollywood.com or call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD.

 -dollywood2017-

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 more than 30 Golden Ticket Awards; and recipient of 26 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

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

Link to Great Pumpkin LumiNights teaser video: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ntht65tyi3mq2ca/AAAg8gJptsHrNA5yh9q76aQIa?dl=0

 

 

 

The Ripken Experience Hits Home Run for Season One in Pigeon Forge

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (May 24, 2017) – Marking its first anniversary in the Smoky Mountains, The Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge is batting a thousand with baseball fans and city officials alike.

Since opening its doors in March 2016, more than 800 youth baseball teams and 70 high school softball teams have taken the fields at The Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge for competition in 30 tournaments. In total, more than 12,000 players and coaches have traveled to play ball on fields that offer unobstructed views of the Great Smoky Mountains, with an additional 600 teams expected to travel to the complex for competition this summer.

“Not only did thousands of players, coaches and their families enjoy The Ripken Experience, but they also took advantage of our family-friendly vacation destination, which resulted in visitor spending of $30 million in Pigeon Forge,” said Eric Brackins, Pigeon Forge assistant city manager.

The appeal of Pigeon Forge as a family vacation destination was a major reason the city built the $22.5 million complex and contracted with Ripken Baseball to operate it.

In its first year, participants traveled to Pigeon Forge from 25 states and Canada, hailing from as far away as Alaska, California, Massachusetts, and Texas. Other states represented are Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

“America’s favorite pastime, baseball, and Pigeon Forge are a perfect combination,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism. “The Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge has given many folks a reason to visit Pigeon Forge for the first time, and once they see all that we have to offer, they want to return year after year.”

The Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge youth complex is located on a ridge above Pigeon Forge. Each field borrows its design inspiration from current and former ballparks highlighting the professional player progression from the Minor to Major Leagues, including Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore.

The others are Calfee Park in Pulaski, Va., the oldest park in the Appalachian League; Fluor Field in Greenville, S.C., known as “Little Fenway”; Engel Stadium in Chattanooga, Tenn., a filming location for the “42” movie about Jackie Robinson; Winston-Salem Ballpark in N.C.; and Isotopes Park in Albuquerque, N.M.

The Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge hosts tournaments nine months out of the year and offers year-round branded events in its 14,000-square-foot clubhouse. Tournaments are free to spectators, and parking is free at the complex.

Visitor information about Pigeon Forge is available online at MyPigeonForge.com and toll-free at 800-251-9100. To learn more Ripken Baseball and for The Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge tournament schedule, visit RipkenBaseball.com.

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Media Contacts:

Trish McGee for the Pigeon Forge Dept. of Tourism

tmcgee@bohanideas.com

615-327-1189 ext. 327

 

Katy Ford for The Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge

katy@maroonpr.com

443-864-4246

 

Visiting Pigeon Forge? 5 Things Everyone Should Know About Alcatraz East

PIGEON FORGE, Tennessee (May 23, 2017) – Each year, around 10 million people visit the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area. Whether vacationing with their children or enjoying time on their own, most are searching for unforgettable memories while visiting the area. One place that should be at the top of everyone’s list is Alcatraz East Crime Museum, a new attraction on the Parkway that provides both an educational and entertaining time, and includes information and activities for the whole family.

“We’ve had an amazing response since opening our doors in December,” states Janine Vaccarello, chief operating officer for Alcatraz East, “We have something for all ages, and most families spend 2-3 hours going through the exhibits. Guests walk away saying they knew they would love it, but it was better than expected, and that makes us feel very proud.”

While visitors to the area enjoy taking a hike in the Great Smoky Mountains while visiting this vacation destination, Alcatraz East offers a break from the outdoor activities. Here are 5 things everyone should know about Alcatraz East Crime Museum when visiting the Pigeon Forge area:

1   America’s Favorite Subject. With all the movies and TV shows related to the topic of crime, this is a must see. The museum features five themes that give visitors a glimpse into notorious crime history, forensic science, law enforcement, our justice system and pop culture. There are over 100 interactives throughout the museum, providing visitors with a hands-on experience.

2   It’s Not About Alcatraz. Although it’s part of the name and the famous prison inspired this attractionAlcatraz East is a crime museum, featuring an in depth look at American crime history, with artifacts from different eras and topics. The one-of-kind building was designed as a combination of Tennessee’s first state prison from 1898, and guard towers inspired by the Alcatraz lighthouse in California. The two-story building offers over 25,000 square feet of exhibit space.

3   One-of-a-Kind Artifacts. From white-collar crimes to Old West gunslingers, the museum features original artifacts from Jesse James to Whitey Bulger. Things to watch for include the famous O.J. Simpson chase white Bronco, John Dillinger’s death mask, Al Capone’s rosary, a submachine gun from the movie Scarface, Ted Bundy’s VW Beetle. Tennessee is well represented, with objects such as the Old Smoky electric chair and moonshine stills as well as notable Dr. William Bass, highlighting his achievements- which advanced forensic anthropology.

4   Interact with the Museum. Kids (and their parents) can have fun and learn at the same time through the museum’s Top Detective Challenge. Follow clues throughout the museum to solve the crime of a stolen artifact, and receive a prize if you crack the case! There is also an opportunity for parents and kids to enjoy the thrill of The Heist Laser Maze (think Thomas Crown Affair!).

5   Temporary Exhibits. Beginning mid-May, Alcatraz East debuted the first of its temporary exhibit programs, which will be an annual rotation in two areas of the museum. Through April 2018, “Ivory, Tortoise Shell & Fur: The Ugly Truth About Wildlife Trafficking will reveal how endangered species are effected by poaching and what the public can do to help end the practice.

“Every year, families make lifetime memories here in the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge area,” states Vaccarello, “We are happy to now be a part of those memories, giving them a look at history, crime prevention, while having an interactive experience.”

Alcatraz East officially opened December 16, 2016. The new crime museum is located at the entrance to The Island, at 2757 Parkway in Pigeon Forge, near the Margaritaville Hotel and Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen.

The 25,000-square-foot museum is designed with a jail façade, has a star-studded board of experts who make up the Advisory Board, including Jim Willett, a retired prison warden, Anthony Rivera, a combat veteran and Navy SEAL chief, and Judge Belvin Perry, Jr., who is best known for the Casey Anthony trial.

General admission tickets are $14.95 for children, $24.95 for adults. Group ticket sales are available. The museum will be open 365 days per year, from 10 am to 9 pm, with the last ticket sold 60 minutes before closing. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit: www.alcatrazeast.com.

About Alcatraz East

Alcatraz East is the most arresting crime museum in the United States. Guests encounter a unique journey into the history of American crime, crime solving, and our justice system. Through interactive exhibits and original artifacts, Alcatraz East is an entertaining and educational experience for all ages – so much fun it’s a crime! This family attraction will be located at the entrance of The Island, located at 2757 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN. For more information, visit www.alcatrazeast.com.

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CONTACT:

Cher Murphy

Cher@chermurphypr.com

571-263-2128

Extraordinary Bluegrass Entertainment, Tasty Barbeque Headline Dollywood’s Annual Festival May 26-June 4

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Monday, May 22, 2017) —With Dollywood’s award-winning chefs offering up tasty barbeque and the biggest names in bluegrass serving up some sweet sounds, Dollywood’s Barbeque & Bluegrass (May 26-June 4) continues the “Year of the Family” with a special treat for the senses.

Steep Canyon Rangers (May 31), Rhonda Vincent & The Rage (June 4), Dailey & Vincent (May 29), and seven-time International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Vocal Group of the Year Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver (May 28) are among the acts helping the festival reach a high note.

“There’s no doubt bluegrass holds a special place in my heart,” Dolly Parton explained. “There is something so beautiful about the sounds of that good ol’ mountain music. That’s why it’s a treat to have these great bluegrass performers, like my good friend Rhonda Vincent, at Dollywood during my Barbeque & Bluegrass festival. These really are the best in the business, and I’m glad we’re able to share their gifts with the guests who come visit us. Heck, I might even grab a plate of those ribs and sit down and enjoy some of the shows myself!”

This year’s festival includes a number of IBMA and Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America (SPBMA) award winners including Flatt Lonesome, a rising new group which won the 2016 IBMA Vocal Group of the Year, Album of the Year and Song of the Year awards. The group headlines the festival on June 3.

“Flatt Lonesome always looks forward to being part of the Dollywood Barbecue and Bluegrass Festival,” said Kelsi Robertson Harrigill of Flatt Lonesome. “It is a great event that features all our favorite things – roller coasters, barbeque and bluegrass music, and the folks that come to the shows are always so much fun to play for.  We sure hope to be part of this great festival every year!”

An impressive calendar of bluegrass talent performs throughout the festival with more than 25 individual concerts scheduled each day on stages across the park. Legendary bluegrass group Hot Rize kicks off the festival on May 26, with The Gibson Brothers (May 27) and Band of Ruhks (May 28) also playing on opening weekend. Other Barbeque & Bluegrass performers include Blue Highway (June 3), Cricket Tell the Weather (June 3) and Farmhands (June 2). The lineup also includes the ETSU Pride Bluegrass Band (May 30), Carson Peters and Iron Mountain (May 26), and The Loose Strings Band (May 31). Six-String Soldiers, the bluegrass arm of the United States Army Field Band, play, appropriately enough, on Sunday, May 28 and Memorial Day Monday, May 29.

“As a singer and a songwriter who loves bluegrass music, it’s an honor to be able to play at Dollywood this year,” said Andrea Asprelli of Cricket Tell the Weather. “I first listened to Dolly on the Trio albums, and soon learned that her powerful vocals were just as inspiring as her creative, entrepreneurial and loving spirit.”

All concerts are free and included with park admission. For a complete lineup of concert performances and show times, please visit Dollywood.com.

Dollywood’s award-winning food perfectly complements the sounds of bluegrass music’s finest. The aroma of bold barbeque wafts through the air, thanks to expertly-prepared pulled pork, smoked sausage and chicken. Bountiful barbeque entrees are accompanied by Southern favorites like baked beans, corn on the cob and more. Guests also can find a number of sweet treats to put an exclamation point on their meal!

From bluegrass favorites and tangy barbeque at Barbeque and Bluegrass to the park’s award-winning rides and family-friendly atmosphere, Dollywood’s Year of The Family provides amazing new memory-making moments for families to celebrate.

For more information about Dollywood’s Barbeque & Bluegrass, please call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD or visit www.dollywood.com.

 -dollywood2017-

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 more than 30 Golden Ticket Awards; and recipient of 26 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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dollywood’s Splash Country Debuts New Family Slide for 17th Season

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Tuesday, May 9, 2017)—As the days grow longer and the sun a little warmer, lifeguards at Dollywood’s Splash Country become more eager to open the gates for another season of Smoky Mountain water park fun. Opening day for 2017 is Saturday, May 13 when the park debuts a new family racing slide, attraction upgrades, new parking options, a new calming area, and newly-recognized Platinum Award-winning lifeguards.

The most anticipated new-comer to Dollywood’s Splash Country for 2017 is TailSpin Racer, a five-story slide complex that offers six people the opportunity to race each other in a thrilling rush. From its unique spiraling, high-speed AquaTubes to its splashdown finish, it’s an all-out competition to see who can get to the end first. TailSpin Racer matches riders in a head-to-head race with the fun of a traditional mat racer-style slide and the tight turns and daring drops of an enclosed slide. Guests will immediately spot the new attraction near the front of the water park, which only adds to the excitement.

“TailSpin Racer is our first new attraction since we opened our water coaster, RiverRush,” explained Dollywood’s Splash Country General Manager Mike Brown. “This is something our guests have been asking for and we are thrilled that we’re delivering a family slide that gives six people the chance to race at the same time.”

Dollywood’s Splash Country also is thrilled to welcome back its team of lifeguards which recently earned the prestigious Platinum International Safety Award from Ellis & Associates. These water park guards are the only team in the state of Tennessee to receive this recognition. Dollywood’s Splash Country is independently audited by a third party several times each season. E&A, a firm specializing in international aquatic safety and risk management, presented the award. In 2016, E&A had 355 clients who qualified for an award; only 10% earned the Platinum Award.  Both Dollywood’s Splash Country and Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort lifeguards were honored with Platinum for their vigilance in guarding the water.

“Of all the things we’re proud of at our water park, our lifeguards deserve the highest praise,” Brown continued. “Our guests trust us to keep their families safe as they splash and play with us; our guards take their roles seriously. We expect them to be alert and aware of everything happening in their zones. They do that, and more. We have the best lifeguards in the business.”

Additionally, Dollywood’s Splash Country guests can look forward to several upgrades throughout the park. From the new option of Preferred Parking, to misters on walkways to cool feet, and new equipment to help streamline food purchases, the water park has refreshing upgrades to enhance guest comfort. And, based on the response to Dollywood’s calming room, Dollywood’s Splash Country will offer a new calming area for guests who experience sensory overload. The area provides an opportunity for individuals to take a break in a private area of the park.

Dollywood’s Splash Country opens Saturday, May 13 with daily operation beginning on Saturday, May 20. Daily operation continues through Sunday, August 13. The park opens Aug. 15 and 17 and on weekends through Labor Day weekend until Sept. 4. For more information about Dollywood’s Splash Country or any of The Dollywood Company properties, please 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 more than 30 Golden Ticket Awards; and recipient of 26 Brass Ring Awards for Live Entertainment (more than any other theme park in the world). The park is located near Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which celebrated record attendance in 2016. Dollywood was named a top three US theme park by USA Today in 2014 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 water parks and named 2009’s Must-See Waterpark by the International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions, operates from mid-May 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: 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.

Drop Line Opens May 6 At Dollywood

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Friday, May 5, 2017) — Dolly Parton declared this season at Dollywood as “The Year of the Family,” thanks to the fantastic family fun which abounds throughout 2017. Today, park officials unveiled Drop Line, a 230-foot-tall free-fall experience, to media during a special sneak preview. The ride officially opens to guests on Saturday, May 6.

Drop Line lifts guests more than 20 stories above Dollywood’s Timber Canyon. As it ascends, the ride’s gondola slowly spins around the tower, providing guests with a bird’s eye view of the Great Smoky Mountains. Guests shouldn’t get too comfortable with the commanding vantage point they find more than 200 feet above the ground, however. In an instant, Drop Line descends back to the ground in a thrilling rush of excitement.

“Drop Line is the perfect new attraction for Dollywood,” said the park’s General Manager Gene Scherrer. “We have a number of unique rides, but this one is unlike anything else here. Our guests will have a chance to enjoy the beautiful Smoky Mountain scenery as they rise up the tower, but once they get to the top, the anticipation of the drop will certainly create memories they’ll remember for quite some time,” he added with a laugh.

Dollywood also soon will open Whistle Punk Chaser, adjacent to Drop Line and the award-winning Thunderhead wooden coaster. Whistle Punk Chaser is a junior coaster which throws exciting twists and turns at Dollywood’s younger guests, helping prepare them for the day they can join their parents aboard the park’s larger rides.

The Year of the Family continues with several exciting events and festivals, including Dollywood’s Barbeque & Bluegrass (May 26-June 4) and summer at Dollywood (June 17- Aug. 6). Dollywood’s Harvest Festival presented by Humana (Sept. 29- Oct. 28), which this year features Great Pumpkin LumiNights, and Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana (Nov. 4- Jan. 1) round out the year.

The Year of the Family continues at Dollywood’s Splash Country as well. The water park’s newest attraction, TailSpin Racer, opens along with the park on Saturday, May 13. TailSpin Racer is a six-lane, mat racer slide which certainly will see families and friends challenge each other to a wet and wild race to its splashdown finish.

For B-roll of Drop Line, please visit: https://thedollywoodcompany.sharefile.com/d-s88281ad311d4112a

For more information about Dollywood’s Year of the Family, 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 more than 30 Golden Ticket Awards; and recipient of 26 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

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

 

 

The Ugly Truth of Wildlife Poaching: Alcatraz East Temporary Exhibit Opening Soon

PIGEON FORGE, Tennessee (April 25, 2017) – When a Minnesota-based dentist paid $54,000 to trophy hunt in Zimbabwe in 2015 with a professional guide, he unknowingly was about to kill the beloved and iconic lion Cecil. The images from that hunt went viral and although the dentist’s actions were not deemed illegal, the event sparked a worldwide outcry and raised awareness about the plight of wildlife, including lions, tigers, and elephants. Since that incident, the public is increasingly committed to protect wildlife and to put a stop to the trade of illegal wildlife poaching.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the illegal wildlife trade is a multibillion-dollar business, that involves the illegal trade of live animals and objects made from their parts. Many of the animals involved are endangered, making the practice an international crisis. Poachers either capture animals to sell, or kill them for their fur, bones, shells, and other body parts to be used in everything from traditional medicines, to clothing and jewelry. Even locally, effecting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, bears are poached for their gallbladders and bile, which are used in traditional medicines. Only thirty-four states explicitly ban the trade, and these parts can go for $5,000 in Asia.  Those interested in learning more about the wildlife trade can attend the temporary exhibit “Ivory, Tortoise Shell & Fur: The Ugly Truth of Wildlife Trafficking” at Alcatraz East Crime Museum, which will open on May 15, 2017.

“This is a heartfelt exhibit that brings awareness to illegal wildlife trade, an important issue visitors won’t want to miss,” states Janine Vaccarello, chief operating officer for Alcatraz East, “This is a problem that is devastating to animals and the planet. The exhibit will also teach guests how to be proactive and find out how they can help.”

The exhibit was first displayed at the Crime Museum in Washington, DC in 2015 by the Center for Conservation Impact, in partnership with the Freeland Foundation, International Fund for Animal Welfare, INTERPOL, Kashmir World Foundation, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, WildAid, and Wildlife Trust of India.

“There was such a positive response to the exhibit, we felt the issue is too important to not share again with new audiences,” says Vaccarello.

Many people are unaware of how critical the poaching situation has become around the world, yet the statistics are alarming. It’s estimated that 97 percent of the world’s tigers have been lost in the last century, 76 percent of elephants have been lost during the last 13 years, and over 1,200 rhinoceros were killed last year alone. These animal populations have been depleted to supply black market demand for worthless natural medicines, jewelry and other souvenirs, and are considered status symbols, as the case with shark fin soup.

International travelers normally take home souvenirs from their trips, but what they may not realize is that the materials used to make those trinkets may have been illegally harvested from endangered and protected wildlife. These include items made from ivory and tortoise shell, so when shopping for souvenirs, it is best to ask questions about what products are made of, where it came from, as it may not be legal to bring back to the U.S. This exhibit will include items confiscated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other border agencies.

“Wildlife trafficking is a serious epidemic that is plaguing our world due to Asia’s sensational demand for Rhino Horn, which is made from nothing more than keratin, the same as our finger nails along with Elephant Ivory made from dentine, the same as the human tooth.” explains Katie Cleary, model, film producer and writer of “Give Me Shelter” available on Netflix, and founder of World Animal News which brings you the latest breaking animal welfare news from around the world. “The more that we are educated about wildlife crimes and trafficking of endangered species and the ways to stop it, the better equipped we are to bring it to an end and protect these innocent species before it’s too late.”

Recent news headlines show this problem is ongoing, with 18 rhino horns being seized in Mozambique in April, and news being shared about the illegal animal smuggling coming across the Mexican border, including of birds and lizards to be sold as pets in the U.S.

“The collaborators are excited Alcatraz East will feature our exhibit on the important and timely topic of illegal wildlife trafficking,” says Jennifer Sevin, president of the Center for Conservation Impact, a partner in the exhibit. “From ginseng to freshwater mussels and bears, illegal wildlife trafficking is as much a local issue as it is global.”

“Ivory, Tortoise Shell & Fur” begins May 15, 2017 and will run through Spring 2018. Alcatraz East officially opened December 16, 2016. The new crime museum is located at the entrance to The Island, at 2757 Parkway in Pigeon Forge, near the Margaritaville Hotel and Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen.

The 25,000-square-foot museum is designed with a jail façade, has a star-studded board of experts who make up the Advisory Board, including Jim Willett, a retired prison warden, Anthony Rivera, a combat veteran and Navy SEAL chief, and Judge Belvin Perry, Jr., who is best known for the Casey Anthony trial.

General admission tickets are $14.95 for children, $24.95 for adults. Group ticket sales are available. The museum will be open 365 days per year, from 10 am to 9 pm, with the last ticket sold 60 minutes before closing. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit: www.alcatrazeast.com.

About Alcatraz East

Alcatraz East is the most arresting crime museum in the United States. Guests encounter a unique journey into the history of American crime, crime solving, and our justice system. Through interactive exhibits and original artifacts, Alcatraz East is an entertaining and educational experience for all ages – so much fun it’s a crime! This family attraction will be located at the entrance of The Island, located at 2757 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN. For more information, visit www.alcatrazeast.com.

 

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Source:

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Illegal Wildlife Trade. https://www.fws.gov/international/travel-and-trade/illegal-wildlife-trade.html

Pigeon Forge Readies For Spring Travel Season With New Attractions

PIGEON FORGE, TENNESSEE (Jan. 10, 2017)—Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, the popular family vacation destination located in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, announces several new attractions for the 2017 travel season.

“As folks begin to make their spring break plans or look for a summer family getaway, we want to remind them of the great variety of attractions and accommodations that Pigeon Forge has to offer,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism. “Tourism is our lifeblood and helping our visitors make their memories is what we do best.”

Pigeon Forge is well known for delivering on the promise of something new each year, along with offering a wide variety of attractions, museums, entertainment, special events, lodging and restaurant options.

New for 2017 visitors includes:

  • Alcatraz East Crime Museum, a family friendly 25,000-square-foot facility that houses five unique galleries and more than 100 interactive displays including a crime scene investigation laboratory. Authentic crime-related artifacts feature John Dillinger’s death mask, Al Capone’s rosary, a Bonnie & Clyde collection, the Bronco from the OJ Simpson chase, an FBI polygraph machine, Al Pacino’s submachine gun from the movie Scarface, and the latest in law enforcement technology. www.alcatrazeast.com
  • Dollywood theme park adds two new rides and two special events. Drop Line, a 200-foot-tall free-fall experience takes guests approximately 20 stories in the air before plummeting down. Whistle Punk Chaser, a junior coaster, features exciting twists and turns in a logging-themed experience. This spring, enra, a Tokyo-based dance company (featured on America’s Got Talent in 2015) fuses multi-media dance, light and video in a new show at the park. For fall, the award-winning theme park unveils GREAT! Pumpkin LumiNights, an evening-time event. Also, a new pumpkin trail comes to life after dark featuring glowing pumpkin displays. Dollywood opens March 18. www.Dollywood.com
  • Dollywood’s Splash Country waterpark adds TailSpin Racer which allows up to six riders to race each other along a journey through a unique spiraling tube design with exciting drops and curves. Dollywood’s Splash Country opens May 13. www.Dollywood.com
  • The Pigeon Forge Chuck Wagon Cookoff featuring Food Network star Kent Rollins on Saturday, March 4, (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) brings more than 10 authentic chuck wagons to compete for top honors in this day-long outdoor cooking food event. Attendees can purchase lunch for $12.50 per person from these Western kitchens on wheels while learning more about life on the open prairie through roping and branding demonstrations, Western poetry and music, and Sisters on the Fly, the largest women’s outdoor adventure group in the U.S. www.MyPigeonForge.com
  • New lodging properties include the 178-room Black Fox Lodge offering panoramic river and mountain views; the 137-room Courtyard Marriott featuring modern, contemporary rooms with private balconies, river and mountain views; and, opening later this year, the Summit Tower with 98 family suites and a 30,000-square-foot waterpark.

Other upcoming events in Pigeon Forge this year include:

  • A Mountain Quiltfest—March 21-25, showcasing one of the country’s oldest hand-sewn crafts
  • The annual Dolly’s Homecoming Parade—May 5, marching bands and floats travel the city’s main thoroughfare along with grand marshal Dolly Parton
  • Wilderness Wildlife Week—May 9-13, with seminars and workshops showcasing the vast variety of wildlife and nature in and around Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Patriot Festival—July 4, an annual celebration of our nation’s independence, featuring a free concert by Grand Ole Opry member Craig Morgan

Pigeon Forge is home to approximately 6,000 permanent residents but welcomes more than 10 million visitors annually. The town offers more than 15,000 overnight accommodations ranging from hotels and motels to cabins and condominiums. Pigeon Forge is home to entertainment legend and hometown girl Dolly Parton’s Dollywood theme park, the state’s number one ticketed attraction. It also is a gateway city to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the country most-visited national park.

Tourism is the city’s top-ranking industry and number one employer. For more information, please visit www.MyPigeonForge.com.

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Media contact:  Trish McGee

tmcgee@bohanideas.com

615-327-1189