Posts Tagged ‘LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge’

Wallace Hardware Show Growth Prompts Fifth Relocation

 

LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge opens way to ‘new generation’ of events

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (November 2014) – Wallace Hardware in Morristown is relocating its semi-annual dealer market for the fifth time because of continuing growth, this time moving to the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge.

Wallace Hardware has presented dealer markets since 1967 and has moved to progressively larger venues.

The Meetin’ at the Mountain Dealer Market’s new home provides “an opportunity for a new generation of shows,” according to Richard Snowden, senior vice president for marketing at Wallace Hardware.

Snowden expects the Dec. 2-4 market to involve at least 1,000 people who will staff and visit the 300-booth tradeshow. A spring show will be in April.

LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge

LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge

Wallace Hardware, which opened in 1922, began its dealer shows in its own warehouse in 1967. After several years there, it moved to space at Walters State Community College. It outgrew that location quickly, moved to the Mills Auditorium in Gatlinburg and then to the Grand Convention Center in Pigeon Forge. For the last 20 years, it has been at the Gatlinburg Convention Center.

“We needed more space, and we have it in Pigeon Forge,” Snowden said.

The show allows Wallace’s retail customers to meet directly with approximately 300 vendors to gather information about industry trends and new products. It will occupy the largest space in the LeConte Event Center, the 100,500-square-foot LeConte Hall.

Wallace is a wholesale hardware distributor that serves independent hardware stores, lumberyards and home centers in 10 states.

“The Meetin’ at the Mountain has been important to Sevier County for decades, and we wanted to keep it here. We’re glad to have dates for both the spring and fall shows every year,” said Phil Campbell, facility manager of the LeConte Event Center

The LeConte Event Center opened in October 2013 and has been the site of tradeshows, athletic competitions, concerts, denominational gatherings and other events.

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Contact:

Tom Adkinson, APR

tadkinson@bohanideas.com

615-341-8796

 

 

Tour Companies Put Pigeon Forge Under Microscope

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Aug. 11, 2014) – Pigeon Forge is putting itself on display for 55 VIPs this week in hopes that they will bring thousands of tourists to this Great Smoky Mountains resort town.

The Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism put the word out to the group sales industry about a three-day familiarization tour from Tuesday through Thursday.

“It filled up almost immediately with 55 tour operators from 33 companies in seven states,” said Joy McNealy, senior sales manager for the tourism department, noting that the city is entertaining companies from Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia.

“Some who are coming needed to see all that’s new in town, and others never have been to Pigeon Forge. It’s a great opportunity to sell ourselves,” she said.

Most participating tour companies deal in retail group travel, but others specialize in student travel, family reunions and business meetings.

There is a fixed itinerary for all participants that includes Dollywood, the Titanic Museum Attraction and performances at the Lumberjack Feud, the Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Show, the Smoky Mountain Opry and the Grand Majestic Theater.

Then, there are options to see other shows such as Dixie Stampede, Country Tonite, Memories Theatre and the Great Smoky Mountain Murder Mystery.

“You simply can’t show everything in town, so giving people options that suit their own needs is a necessity,” McNealy said.

A trade show on Thursday at the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge will provide opportunities for 35 Pigeon Forge businesses to make sales pitches. Businesses include attractions, theaters, lodging properties, cabin companies, restaurants and receptive tour companies.

“The group tour market is extremely important to Pigeon Forge,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the tourism department.

“The American Bus Association is fond of saying that just one overnight stay from a motorcoach can represent as much as $25,000 in revenue to a city. The spending per motorcoach isn’t quite that high for Pigeon Forge, of course, but every tour brings major dollars to town. We love to see tour companies’ motorcoaches roll down the Parkway,” Downey said.

Visitor information for individuals is at MyPigeonForge.com, and information for group tour leaders is at MyPigeonForge.com/group-tours.

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Contact:
Tom Adkinson, APR

tadkinson@bohanideas.com

615-341-8796

 

Pigeon Forge’s Wilderness Wildlife Sets Attendance Record in New Home

Program visitation at LeConte Event Center totals 27,800

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (February 2014) – Wilderness Wildlife Week, Pigeon Forge’s annual salute to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and numerous outdoor recreation topics, relocated to the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge the last week of January and set a program attendance record of 27,800.

This was the 24th year for Wilderness Wildlife Week and its first year in the new, city-owned $45 million LeConte Event Center.

Raptors always are a big hit at Wilderness Wildlife Week.

Raptors always are a big hit at Wilderness Wildlife Week.

“We booked more than 320 programs over eight days, plus a series of hikes and excursions. Total attendance for the programs, hikes and excursions totaled 27,800, an increase of 3,200 from our previous best year,” said Butch Helton, manager of special events for the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism.

That was despite a day of inclement weather that cut into local visitation and reduced the number of hikes available.

“The LeConte Event Center was busy every day, and we had 546 hikers who enjoyed winter outings in Great Smoky Mountains National Park,” Helton said.

Hike organizers reported that the hikers covered 2,588 miles during the week. This was the 10th year hiking records were kept, and the cumulative total of miles hiked is 26,406.

The week’s programs included photography workshops, wildlife lectures, mountain music mini-concerts, crafts classes and special sessions for children.

More than 200 experts – nature photographers, biologists, raptor rehabilitators, social historians, musicians and just plain folks who grew up in the Smokies – donated their time to lead the programs.

A special series of trout programs was added this year.

A special series of trout programs was added this year.

New for 2014 was a daylong series of programs about mountain trout, fly-fishing and fly-tying. Southern Trout, an online magazine, lined up the experts for those presentations.

Visitors came from throughout the U.S., plus the U.K. and Canada.

“It’s easier to list the states from which we didn’t have visitors,” Helton said. “We have visitors from 41 states – all except Delaware, Idaho, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma and Oregon.”

Wilderness Wildlife Week, named 10 times as a Southeast Tourism Society Top 20 Event, is a part of Pigeon Forge Winterfest, which starts in November and goes through February. Dates for 2015 are Jan. 24-31.

Pigeon Forge completes Winterfest with Saddle Up, a celebration of cowboy poetry, western music and chuck wagon cooking, Feb. 19-23.

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

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Contact:

Tom Adkinson, APR

615-341-8796

tadkinson@bohanideas.com

 

 

LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge Earns Newcomers’ Award from Magazine

ConventionSouth names it a ‘Top New or Renovated Meeting Site’ for 2014

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (December 2013) – The scale, quality and potential impact of the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge already have earned it an accolade in the meetings industry.

ConventionSouth Magazine, a trade magazine that has covered the meetings industry in the South for more than 30 years, has given Pigeon Forge’s newest showplace a 2014 Top New or Renovated Meeting Site Award.

LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge

LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge

“After a lengthy review of what the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge now has to offer meeting planners and attendees, we feel it indeed displays a superior commitment to providing groups with the top-of-the-line amenities and service that they require,” said Associate Publisher Marlane Bundock.

The magazine selected 50 facilities from 14 states, south along the Eastern Seaboard from Maryland to Florida and west to Texas and Oklahoma. The magazine will feature them in its December issue.

“We’re in some amazing company, including the $500 million Music City Center in Nashville and the Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa in the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism.

The LeConte Events Center opened in October and is administered by the city’s tourism department.

The $45 million multi-purpose building is designed to attract trade shows, competitive events, special events, festivals and large assemblies that will draw overnight visitors to Pigeon Forge.

Its first booking, the International Gift Exposition in the Smokies/Souvenir Super Show earlier this month, filled the 232,000-square-foot building and drew approximately 10,000 people to Pigeon Forge and surrounding Sevier County.

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Contact:

Tom Adkinson, APR

615-341-8796

tadkinson@bohanideas.com

LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge Books First Athletic Event

Gymnastics competition to attract hundreds from several states in February

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Oct. 9, 2013) – A youth gymnastics competition expected to attract several hundred athletes from at least a half-dozen states is the first athletic event booked at the new LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge.

Owners of the Make It Count Gymnastics Classic look for 600 to 800 gymnasts to compete during the Feb. 14-16, 2014, event.

Almost two dozen dignitaries cut a gold ribbon to open the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge after announcement of the facility's first major athletic event.

Almost two dozen dignitaries cut a gold ribbon to open the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge after announcement of the facility’s first major athletic event.

“The gymnasts are from ages 5-18, and they travel with parents, coaches and other family members,” said Tracy Counts, who owns the event with Kerma Headrick. “The total number of people who will come to Pigeon Forge far exceeds the number of competitors.”

Counts said that smaller events she and Headrick conduct draw participants from Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia and other nearby states, plus heavily populated states such as Ohio and Florida.

The LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge is a city-owned $45 million multi-purpose building designed to attract trade shows, competitive events, special events, festivals and large assemblies. Construction concluded in September.

The Make It Count Gymnastics will use LeConte Hall, which contains 100,500 of the building’s 232,000 square feet. LeConte Hall’s size and its 30-foot ceiling work well for the competition.

“This is one category of events we anticipated,” said Leon Downey, executive director for the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism. “The gymnasts will verify that it’s great for cheerleading competitions, dance team competitions, volleyball tournaments and similar activities needing our interior space and the lodging, restaurants and attractions of Pigeon Forge, too.”

Counts, who was a collegiate gymnast at East Tennessee State University and James Madison University, said Pigeon Forge’s family appeal was a major factor in the decision to choose Pigeon Forge.

“The competition is a very family-oriented event, so the location is important. Pigeon Forge is very family friendly and offers families much to do beyond the actual competition. Pigeon Forge works for everyone,” Counts said.

Counts said the Make It Counts event will be her largest activity of the year. Others are in Maryville, Tenn., where she operates Gymnastics Counts. She has been a gymnastics coach for almost 30 years.

LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge opened this month, and its first booking is the full-house International Gift Exposition in the Smokies/Souvenir Super Show in November.

Other bookings include a five-year commitment for Women of Joy conferences with Phil Waldrep Ministries, a five-year commitment for the Pentecostal Fire Youth Conference and a two-year commitment from the National Quartet Convention. The National Quartet Convention is a weeklong event that regularly attracts 40,000 attendees.

Details of the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge are at LeConteCenter.com.

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Contact:

Tom Adkinson, APR

615-341-8796

tadkinson@bohanideas.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge Names Phil Campbell Facility Manager

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Aug. 6, 2013) – Hospitality industry veteran Phil Campbell has been hired as facility manager of the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge, a city-owned $45 million special events center that will open in September.

Campbell began his hospitality career in 1981 and has been general manager of the MainStay Suites in Pigeon Forge since 1998. He earned credentials as a Certified Hotel Administrator from the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Educational Institute in 2005.

The position is responsible for the overall direction of the facility, including the selling and scheduling of events. Campbell starts Sept. 3.

“Phil Campbell knows and understands Pigeon Forge and has the skills to sell the LeConte Center and the city to event planners,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism.

The LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge is part of the tourism department.

“Phil will work closely with Mike Wilds, who has consulted with us on the construction and initial sales efforts, as the building goes into full operation,” Downey said.

There is a dedicated event sales position reporting to Campbell that will be filled later.

“Phil has widespread contacts because of service on the Choice Hotels Owners Council, past Rotary Club activity and leadership of the Pigeon Forge Hospitality Association, where he is the current president. He will be a great representative for the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge,” Downey said.

Campbell is the second staff member hired for the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge. Bobby Shultz started in May as operations director. His responsibilities include operation and maintenance of the 232,000-square-foot building.

The building’s primary feature is a 100,500-square-foot clear-span exhibit hall designed for large assembly events, trade shows and competitive events. It can seat 12,116 in a configuration with a raised center stage that has every guest within 137 feet of the stage.

The facility’s first booking is a 15-day block for the International Gift Exposition in the Smokies/Souvenir Super Show in November.

That show will bring between 10,000 and 15,000 people to Sevier County and will occupy both the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge and the Sevierville Events Center. Its promoters describe it as the largest show of its kind in North America.

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Contact:
Tom Adkinson, APR
615-341-8796
tadkinson@bohanideas.com

 

Pigeon Forge Winterfest Kickoff Set for Nov. 12 at Patriot Park

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (July 24, 2013) – Pigeon Forge, Tenn., will launch its 24th annual Winterfest celebration Nov. 12 with festivities in Patriot Park that conclude with the illumination of five million Winterfest lights throughout the city and a fireworks display.

The lead-up to the evening’s activities will be the city’s third annual Salute to Veterans Parade on the Parkway.

Pigeon Forge Winterfest is a mixture of holiday celebrations, themed special events and millions of decorative lights. That combination created a new visitor season for Pigeon Forge when Winterfest started in 1990.

After the Winterfest Kickoff, businesses throughout the city offer special activities, theaters add a Christmas flair to their shows for two months and the city itself presents two major special events in January and February – Wilderness Wildlife Week and Saddle Up.

Pigeon Forge Winterfest continues through Feb. 28, 2014, offering winter activity throughout this gateway to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Among the events on the calendar:

  • Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas (Nov. 9-Dec. 30), with a variety of Christmas shows, holiday foods, crafts and a park-wide display of another four million holiday lights to complement those in the city;
  • Watch for snow to fall over the Titanic Museum Attraction through November and December.
  • Trolley Tour of Lights (Monday-Friday nights from Nov. 12-Dec. 31), narrated rides through Pigeon Forge on the Fun Time Trolley system to see all of the major Winterfest light displays
  • Wilderness Wildlife Week (Jan. 25-Feb. 1, 2014), a city-sponsored week of special programs about Great Smoky Mountains National Park and numerous other outdoor topics at the new LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge;
  • Saddle Up! (Feb. 19-23), a city-sponsored celebration of cowboy poetry, western music and the American West at the new LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge.

Complete visitor information about Pigeon Forge is available online at www.MyPigeonForge.com or by calling 1-800-251-9100.

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Contact:
Tom Adkinson, APR
tadkinson@bohanideas.com
615-341-8796

 

LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge Hires First Employee

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (May 21, 2013) – Bobby Shultz is employee No. 1 at the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge, a $45 million special events center on schedule to open this fall.

Shultz starts May 30 as the facility’s operations director. Responsibilities include operation and maintenance of the 232,000-square-foot building.

The job search drew 17 applicants from several states. Shultz had been with the Sevierville Events Center since 2007, first as building foreman and then as building superintendent since 2010.

“Bobby Shultz will be a huge asset as we wrap up construction and begin equipping the building,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism.

The LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge, which is in its final months of construction, is part of the tourism department.

Its primary feature is a 100,500-square-foot clear-span exhibit hall designed for large assembly events, trade shows and competitive events. It can seat 12,116 in a configuration with a raised center stage that has every guest within 137 feet of the stage.

The facility’s first booking is a 15-day block for the International Gift Exposition in the Smokies/Souvenir Super Show in November. That show will bring between 10,000 and 15,000 people to Sevier County and will occupy both the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge and the Sevierville Events Center.

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Contact:
Tom Adkinson, APR
615-341-8796
tadkinson@bohanideas.com

 

8,000-Attendee ‘Women of Joy’ Conference Signs Five-Year Pact with LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (April 15, 2013) – An event organizer who now has 18 major conferences across the U.S. told Pigeon Forge leaders more than a decade ago that he wished the city had more meeting space.

His wish has been granted with the nearly completed LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge, and he has booked a conference that now attracts 8,000 people into the $45 million facility for five years, starting in 2014.

Phil Waldrep, founder of Phil Waldrep Ministries in Decatur, Ala., has committed a three-day Women of Joy conference to Pigeon Forge every April from 2014-2018.

“This was a small event that started in Pigeon Forge in 1998 and outgrew every facility in town. We first moved to Gatlinburg and then to Sevierville, but completion of the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge means we can have a happy homecoming to where we started,” Waldrep said.

The April event will join a smaller Women of Joy conference that uses space every March at the Smoky Mountain Convention Center. That meeting attracts approximately 1,200 people.

Six other large-attendance Women of Joy events happen in Louisville, Myrtle Beach, San Antonio, Orlando, Oklahoma City and Branson, Mo.

Waldrep described Women of Joy conferences as an interdenominational ministry that enhances and energizes the spiritual lives of Christian women. Their programs feature major speakers and top-of-the-charts contemporary Christian music performers.

Ten other Waldrep events are geared for adult men, seniors and students.

“Pigeon Forge is a great place for our events,” Waldrep said. “It is family-oriented and fun, and the natural beauty of the area is a pure delight. Our attendees like Pigeon Forge’s central location and the variety of restaurants and activities.”

Earlier this month, the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge announced that the 6,000-attendee Pentecostal Fire Youth Conference had booked space for five years, also starting in 2014.

The 232,000-square-foot LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge is on schedule for completion in September.

Its primary feature is a 100,500-square-foot clear-span exhibit hall designed for large assembly events, trade shows and competitive events. It can seat 12,116 in a configuration with a raised center stage that has every guest within 137 feet of the stage.

The facility’s first booking is for the International Gift Exposition in the Smokies/Souvenir Super Show in November.

“We knew Phil Waldrep loves Pigeon Forge, and we were delighted when he asked about bringing the Women of Joy back here,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism.

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Contact:
Tom Adkinson, APR
615-341-8796
tadkinson@bohanideas.com