Posts Tagged ‘Wilderness Wildlife Week’

Pigeon Forge Receives Eight Kaleidoscope Awards for Special Events

Pigeon Forge Special Events Dept. Coordinator (left) and Pigeon Forge Special Events Manager Butch Helton (right) carried home eight awards from the Southeast Festivals and Events Association awards ceremony in Lexington, Ky., in recognition of the city’s special events.

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (March 2017) – The Pigeon Forge (Tenn.) Department of Tourism claimed eight Kaleidoscope Awards in recognition of the city’s special events during the 14th annual Southeast Festivals and Events Association (SFEA) conference in Lexington, Ky., in February.

Pigeon Forge’s 2016 Saddle Up festival, a celebration of the Western lifestyle, claimed four Silver Awards and one Bronze Award. Saddle Up’s Chuck Wagon Cookoff was recognized with one of the Silver Awards for best event within an event. The outdoor-focused Wilderness Wildlife Week was recognized with one Silver Award and a Bronze Award for best event within an event for Appalachian Homecoming’s Cades Cove Preservation Association Picnic Dinner fundraiser. A Mountain Quiltfest, which features displays and dozens of classes, earned a Bronze Award.

“The quality of submissions continues to increase each year making it more difficult for the judges to select the winners,” noted Brenda Pierce, SFEA executive director.

“Pigeon Forge’s special events are entertaining and educational and give our guests even more reasons to visit,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism. “We are certainly appreciative of SFEA’s award-winning recognition.”

Pigeon Forge’s 2017 Wilderness Wildlife Week takes place May 9-13. For more information, visit www.MyPigeonForge.com.

SFEA is a 501 (c) 6 membership-based organization comprised of festival and event planners, venues, and industry service providers. It was founded in 2009 to strengthen the festival and event industry throughout the southeastern U.S. by hosting educational sessions, networking opportunities, award recognition, and additional events throughout the year; thus, allowing for continued professional growth within the festivals and events industry.

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Media Contact:

Trish McGee

tmcgee@bohanideas.com

615-327-1189

Pigeon Forge’s New Rite of Spring: Wilderness Wildlife Week

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (May 2016) – Pigeon Forge, a gateway to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, has a new way to celebrate spring. It’s a five-day event saluting the national park, Mother Nature and the culture of the southern Appalachians.

It is Wilderness Wildlife Week from May 18-22, and it’s new as a springtime event after 25 years as part of Pigeon Forge Winterfest.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is America's most visited national park.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is America’s most visited national park.

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. There are more than 250 programs at the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge plus 40 hikes, field trips and excursions into the national park and surrounding areas.

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.

Hikes in the national park utilize numerous trails with various degrees of difficulty, and the excursions include a visit to the American Eagle Foundation’s research and rehabilitation facility at Dollywood.

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Pigeon Forge Collects 14 International Events Awards

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (October 2014) – With five major awards leading the way, the Pigeon Forge (Tenn.) Department of Tourism claimed a near-record 14 Pinnacle Awards from the International Festivals and Events Association (IFEA).

Wilderness Wildlife Week received gold Pinnacle Awards as the best green program in the category for events with budgets less than $250,000 and the best children’s programming in the category for projects with budgets less than $1.5 million.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a major focus of Wilderness Wildlife Week.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a major focus of Wilderness Wildlife Week.

The nature-oriented week also won silver awards for the best community outreach program, best new merchandise and best hat, and a bronze award for best outdoor billboard.

Three other gold Pinnacle Awards were received for best new attendee service, best radio promotion and best organizational website for MyPigeonForge.com.

“It’s always gratifying to be recognized by the IFEA Pinnacle Awards, because our events are in contention with some of the biggest and best from around the world,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism. “These awards are a true testament to the time and effort put in by the tourism department’s special events staff and our community of volunteers.”

Other silver Pinnacle awards were received for best cover design for the Saddle Up 2014 program guide and best outdoor billboard for Saddle Up 2014. Additional bronze Pinnacle awards were for best event within an existing event for Saddle Up Stories & Strings, best commemorative poster for Saddle Up and best hat for Dolly’s Homecoming Parade.

“Our special events continue to grow and improve with each passing year, and that’s because of a dedicated staff, a loyal family of volunteers and the support of our city’s administration. When IFEA notices and rewards our efforts, that’s something that really makes us proud,” said Butch Helton, manager of the special events office.

Other winners this year included the Kentucky Derby Festival in Louisville, Ky., the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C., and the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival in Canton, Ohio.

International events contending for Pinnacle awards included Sentosa Spooktacular in Sentosa, Singapore, the Ulsan Whale Festival in Ulsan, South Korea, and Canada Day at Canada Place in Vancouver, B.C.

This year’s IFEA awards presentation was Sept. 29 in Kansas City, Mo.

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Contact:
Tom Adkinson, APR

tadkinson@bohanideas.com

615-341-8796

Pigeon Forge’s Wilderness Wildlife Week Eyes 25th Celebration of the Smokies

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (October 2014) – Preparations are underway for the 25th presentation of Wilderness Wildlife Week, Pigeon Forge’s annual salute to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and numerous outdoor recreation topics. Dates are Jan. 24-31, 2015.

East Tennessee wildlife photographer Ken Jenkins had no idea his suggestion for a winter program about the Great Smoky Mountains would become a much-loved winter event that draws visitors from across the U.S.

The first year of what became Wilderness Wildlife Week was a half-day of programs on a Saturday. It was so successful that it blossomed into a weeklong event in its second year.

It now features 400 programs spread over eight days, including a series of hikes and excursions in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Wilderness Wildlife Week hikes range from easy to strenuous.

Wilderness Wildlife Week hikes range from easy to strenuous.

Wilderness Wildlife Week 2014 had attendees from 41 states. Hawaii wasn’t represented, but Alaska was, event organizers noted.

Total program attendance was 27,800, and almost 550 hikers logged 2,588 miles. New for 2014 was the Southern Trout Fly Fishing Fair, a day of programs about mountain trout, fly-fishing and fly-tying put on by the online magazine Southern Trout, an online magazine. The second Southern Trout Fly Fishing Fair is set for Jan. 31.

Each year offers 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 – donate their time to lead the programs.

Raptors always are a big hit at Wilderness Wildlife Week.

Raptors always are a big hit at Wilderness Wildlife Week.

The Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism organizes the week, and admission is free. Most of the events are indoors at the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge, a city-owned special events facility.

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.

Pigeon Forge completes Winterfest with Saddle Up, a celebration of cowboy poetry, western music and chuck wagon cooking, Feb. 18-22.

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

 

 

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

 

 

Pigeon Forge Expands Wilderness Wildlife Week to 320 Programs, 55 Hikes

24th annual salute to Great Smoky Mountains National Park scheduled Jan. 25-Feb. 1

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (January 2014) – Wilderness Wildlife Week, January’s highlight event for Pigeon Forge Winterfest, is growing to 320 indoor programs and 55 hikes, excursions and tours into Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

It also is moving into a new home, the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge, a $45 million special events facility in the heart of town.

The 24th annual Wilderness Wildlife Week is Jan. 25-Feb. 1. It is organized and presented by the City of Pigeon Forge, and admission is free to all activities.

Wilderness Wildlife Week hikes range from easy to strenuous.

Wilderness Wildlife Week hikes range from easy to strenuous.

When Pigeon Forge launched Wilderness Wildlife Week, there were only four programs on a single Saturday afternoon. It now fills eight days.

“Wilderness Wildlife Week is one of our signature events. It is a time for people to learn about many aspects of the outdoor world, about the culture of the Southern Appalachians and about the people who make this area special,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism.

The week’s indoor events include photography workshops, lectures, mountain music mini-concerts and demonstrations.

New for 2014 is a daylong series of programs about mountain trout, fly-fishing and fly-tying on Feb. 1. Southern Trout, an online magazine, lined up the experts for those presentations.

The week’s outdoor activities include owl prowls, a photo trek in Cades Cove, a four-mile walk through the Elkmont historic district and a strenuous 11-mile hike to Mt. Cammerer. Round trip transportation to the hikes’ trailheads is provided.

The lineup of programs is different every day.

Among them are “Southern Bears,” “Taking Great Cell Phone Photos,” “Wildflower Folklore,” “Learn To Use Map and Compass,” “Hosting Hummingbirds” and “Songs of the Carter Family.”

Raptors always are a big hit at Wilderness Wildlife Week.

Raptors always are a big hit at Wilderness Wildlife Week.

There are special programs for children, ones about the heritage of the Great Smoky Mountains and several devoted to improving your photography skills. Some of the region’s top nature photographers lead the photo programs.

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

“The week is extremely flexible. You can come just for one program, for one day or for the whole week,” Downey said. “We have so many ways to connect you to our beautiful part of the country.”

Wilderness Wildlife Week in 2013 drew people from 26 states, Washington, D.C., Australia, China and New Zealand.

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.

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

Wilderness Wildlife Week details, are at www.MyPigeonForge.com/wildlife. 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