Archive for the ‘Business News’ Category

“Christmas at the Smoky Mountain Opry”™ starring Season 12 winner of “The Voice,” Chris Blue

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Nov. 14, 2018) – “Christmas at the Smoky Mountain Opry”™ Theater has begun a Blue, Blue Christmas.  The Christmas show, starring Season 12 winner of “The Voice,” Chris Blue will run until Jan. 5.  The acclaimed “Don’t Miss Show” (Southern Living magazine), a fixture in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., for the past seven years, is well known for its spectacular array of holiday festivities, music, comedy and dance.

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 a large 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. The show is created by executive producers David Fee and Jim Hedrick, and produced and directed by Michael Headla.

“’Christmas at the Smoky Mountain Opry features the largest live nativity in the southeast,” said David Fee, president and chief executive officer of Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment Group.  “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. 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.

“We have created a stunning production that is full of enchantment and splendor with many new elements,” Fee said.  “We have gorgeous new costumes, amazing choreography, lavish sets and incredible special effects such as snow falling softly in the theater.Come make memories with your family that you will cherish for many years to come.

“We have singers, dancers, aerialists, comedians and the amazing Chris Blue as our headliner,” Fee said.  “We also have lots for the children including Santa Claus and Santa’s elves who join the entire cast in Santa’s workshop where giant toys come to life.

“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.

“Our Christmas at the Smoky Mountain Opry has already sold out 10 shows, so I strongly urge people to choose a date that fits into their holiday schedule and buy their tickets today, to make lasting memories for their families this glorious holiday season,” Fee said.  “We hope to become a treasured Christmas tradition for families who visit the Smoky Mountain Winterfest Celebration. Come “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and  join us at The Smoky Mountain Opry for an unforgettable Blue, Blue Christmas! “

“Christmas at The Smoky Mountain Opry™” has 8 p.m. evening performances Monday through Saturday and 3:00 p.m. matinees on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Tickets for the Christmas show are $56.95, plus tax for adults (premium seats in the first three rows are $66.95 plus tax), and children 11 and under are $26.95, plus tax (premium seats are $36.95 plus tax).  Group rates are available for groups of 15 or more for the Christmas show.  “Christmas at the Smoky Mountain Opry™” will celebrate New Year’s Eve with a special show with Blue and the rest of the Smoky Mountain Opry™cast on Dec. 31 at 9 p.m.

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 $26.95 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.

In addition to the producers, the creative team for “Christmas at the Smoky Mountain Opry”™ consists of: Regina Laughlin, choreographer; Mark Holbrook, musical director; Joel Bruce, production manager; Carol Culp, wardrobe supervisor and Toby Wagner, stage manager.

Cast members for this year’s “Christmas at the Smoky Mountain Opry”™ show include vocalists:  Kelsey Reinsfelder, Tim McManus, Nicholas Hurm, Matthew George, Brittany Angello, Sarah Shelton, Tiffany St. Clair and Chase McMichen.  Singer/Dancers include:  Marissa McMickens and David Tankersley. Dancers include: Scott Bebell, Cassidy Couisineau, Lexi Blackard, Abby Brinker, Megan Fee, Jequan Jackson, Regina Laughlin, T.J. Lloyd, Saul Navarrette, Gregory Podolak, Colt Ryan, Mowava Six and Samantha Zier. Musicians include:  Matthew Clinkenbeard, Johnny Hodges, Brendan Hogan, Mark Holbrook, Michael Neu, Jeremy Phillips, Tanner Robison, Jared Willson and Kelli Rae Tubbs. Actors include: John Wilder and Darrell Scroufe.

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”, www.comedybarn.com, The “Hatfield and McCoy Christmas Disaster Dinner Feud™” http://www.hatfieldmccoydinnerfeud.com/, “Magic Beyond Belief™: A Magical Christmas” starring Darren Romeo,  www.pigeonforgemagic.com, and the “Amazing Animals™Pet Show,” www.comedybarn.com .”

Follow Blue’s journey on The Smoky Mountain Opry™ Theater’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages as well as on Facebook at Chris Blue Live, on Instagram at Chris B. Live and on Twitter at Chris Blue Live.

Deborah Fee Newsom
Director of Public Relations and Merchandise Buyer
Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment Group
119 Music Road,
Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
(865) 414-6887 (cell), (865) 774-8877
Deborah@FeeHedrick.com

 

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Celebrates 11 Years as Favorite Christmas Event with Glacier Ridge, Five Million Lights

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Nov. 5, 2018) — After earning its 11th consecutive Golden Ticket award for Best Theme Park Christmas Event, Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana (Nov. 10, 2018- Jan. 5, 2019) adds even more merry memory making moments with the addition of the impressive Glacier Ridge.

With the all-new Glacier Ridge, guests can experience the Smokies at Christmas in a way they never have before. The novel and immense experience of Glacier Ridge pushes the park’s total count to more than five million twinkling lights. Located in the areas of the park known as Timber Canyon, Wilderness Pass and the upper portion of Craftsman’s Valley, Glacier Ridge is a must-see during Smoky Mountain Christmas.
“Christmas is so important to me for so many reasons,” Dolly Parton said. “I’m so thankful that it’s a time when our family comes together to share stories, remember old times, and make new memories we’ll take with us through the next year and beyond. There’s a lot of laughin’ and a whole lot of love when we all get together. I want those folks who come to experience Christmas with us at Dollywood to feel like they’re part of the family, making those memories and sharing those special times. I know the fun they’ll find in Glacier Ridge will help them create brand new memories and traditions.”

As guests near Glacier Ridge, they’ll feel as if the Smokies have frozen over, thanks to an arctic color palette and a mesmerizing atmosphere sure to wow guests. The Plaza at Wilderness Pass transforms into a winter wonderland, complete with a 50 ft. tall animated tree which anchors the area. Every 30 minutes the Plaza sparkles to life to present a fully-synchronized, dazzling light show complete with holiday hits that will have guests singing along.

For guests entering from Timber Canyon, the Arctic Passage, a 130-ft. long programmable light tunnel, transports them into Glacier Ridge in a stunning array of light and color. Once emerging from the tunnel, guests will be greeted by polar bears who have made a home at Drop Line Bay. Because the Smokies have frozen to create Glacier Ridge, these friends from the North are able to spend time with their Smoky Mountain cousins.

Those coming to Glacier Ridge through Craftsman’s Valley experience a one-of-a-kind new light installation that mimics the natural phenomenon known as the aurora borealis. Guests can walk through Dollywood’s version of the northern lights—which is brought to life with music as only Dolly can do— making it feel as if the aurora borealis has come south, even if for just a few weeks.

Since Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas helped kick off Sevier County’s Winterfest in 1990, the festival has been known globally as a must-see Christmas event. Amusement Today contributors and voters bestowed the Best Theme Park Christmas Event award on Dollywood in 2008 when the honor was first created. Dollywood is the 11-time—and only—winner of the award.

From the cheer and joy of Dollywood’s Parade of Many Colors, to traditional holiday shows like It’s a Wonderful Life and Christmas in the Smokies, Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas fosters family memory making for guests. For those who wander through the spectacular scenery, it is easy to understand why it has become a family tradition for so many. Guests can experience the fun enchantment of Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer and friends straight from the children’s holiday classic, or sit down together for a fabulous Christmas feast at many of Dollywood’s award-winning dining locations.  Most of Dollywood’s signature rides and attractions also operate in this merry environment, with rides racing along just above the millions of twinkling lights.

A season pass purchased during Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas provides unlimited admission to this year’s Christmas festival along with unlimited admission for Dollywood’s entire 2019 season, including the introduction of Wildwood Grove. To ensure the lowest prices of the season, guests should purchase their 2019 season pass online now or upgrade their paid one-day admission ticket on the day of their visit. Ticket purchasers receive credit for the value of a regular one-day ticket toward the purchase of a 2019 season pass.

With five million lights, award-winning entertainment, the addition of Glacier Ridge and much more, one thing is for certain: Dollywood truly captures the essence of Christmas.

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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 Spa; 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 35 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 2017. Dollywood was named a top three US theme park by USA Today in 2014 and 2017. Dollywood is open nine months a year (late March through early January) and offers rides and attractions, shows, and 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. Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa, which received the 2017 Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor, 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: Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations, (865) 428-9486, (865) 755-7972 or powens@dollywood.com

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

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

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

Jennifer Webb: Publicist, (865) 428-9602, (865) 323-7584 or jwebb@dollywood.com

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

Christmas Comes To Life at Dolly Parton’s Stampede for 2018 Holiday Season

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Oct. 24, 2018) – Experience the spirit of Christmas at Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Attraction this holiday season. Debuting Oct. 31 and running through January 5, 2019, families can create new traditions at “The Most Fun Place to Eat in the Smokies.” With a full-scale living Nativity, four-course feast, and an arena full of the merriest sights and sounds, every guest will leave jollier than Old Saint Nick.

“Christmas is a very special time of year at Dolly Parton’s Stampede,” said David Swangel, General Manager of Dolly Parton’s Stampede in Pigeon Forge. “While our thrilling high-spirited adventure provides fun for our guests, we also celebrate the meaning of Christmas thanks to a full-scale, living Nativity. Families always take the time to let us know this show has become a treasured part of their yearly traditions.”

To celebrate the reason for this holiday season, guests will watch a special re-enactment of Jesus’ birth with Mary, Joseph, three wise men, and a living Nativity with camels, donkeys, and sheep. This touching scene reflects on the importance of Christmas.

Taking a whimsical turn, The Sugar Plum Fairy brings a number of toys to life for a magical celebration in “Toys Come to Life.” Including stunning aerial displays set to the unforgettable music of The Nutcracker, families can watch in awe as their childhood fantasies come to life.

Stampede’s 32 magnificent horses, not to be confused Santa’s reindeer, will race one another in exciting competitions as audience members cheer their respective sides of the North Pole and South Pole to victory. And after the arena is transformed into a winter wonderland of glistening snow, Old Saint Nick arrives by sleigh to complete the festivities.

The entire holiday experience is enhanced by the state-of-the-art, LED wall in the show’s 35,000-square-foot arena, which seamlessly complements the exciting action with stunning holiday scenery. Guests will feel as if they have been instantly transported deep in to the natural beauty of Christmas from the foothills surrounding the Great Smoky Mountains and to the clear skies above Bethlehem on the night of Jesus’ birth.

Adding to the lineup, Christmas dinner includes Stampede’s signature four-course feast consisting of Stampede’s original creamy vegetable soup, homemade buttery biscuit, a whole rotisserie chicken, hickory-smoked barbequed pork loin, buttery corn on the cob, herb-basted potato, Stampede’s own specialty dessert and unlimited tea, coffee or Coca-Cola products. Vegetarian and gluten-free meals are available upon request.

Guests are invited to start their fun-filled evening in the Saloon with side-splitting holiday comedy and Christmas classics with a twist by Mountain Ruckus, Stampede’s house band. The band performs one hour prior to show time. Show times and reservations are available by calling 1-800-356-1676 or visiting www.dpstampede.com.

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About World Choice Investments: Founded in 1988, World Choice Investments, LLC, doing business as Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Attraction, Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show and Celebration Dinner Show, operates dinner attraction venues for family fun and adventure in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, Branson, Missouri and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Our shows feature special effects, musical productions, live animals and a four-course family feast.

 

Media Contacts:

Ellen Liston: (865) 428-9629, (865) 919-7001 or ellenl@wciinvest.com

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

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

Steve Cruz: (865) 774-8136, (865) 410-0591 or stevec@wciinvest.com

 

 

George W. Bush Honors America, Veterans at Celebrators Conference in Pigeon Forge

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Oct. 24, 2018)—George W. Bush and Phil Waldrep Ministries shared the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge stage this evening as they honored America and its veterans at Celebrators Conference.

“Every time I come to a patriotic event, it is unbelievably inspiring,” said Bush.

Tonight was the former president’s fourth time at Celebrators, having previously spoken at the conference in 2009, 2011 and 2013.

“This evening we are gathered to express our gratitude to God for allowing us to live in the United States of America and to show our appreciation and support to the men and women who have worn or who presently wear the uniform of the United States military,” said Waldrep.

Waldrep spent approximately 45 minutes interviewing Bush by asking questions ranging from his family and hobby of painting, which he said was, “one of the greatest learning experiences of all time,” to 9/11 and his work with veterans.

“It is a unique opportunity anytime an organization gets to host a president, especially when a former president is joining you to honor those who served our nation,” said conference founder Phil Waldrep.

When asked about a typical day as president, Bush said for him, a typical day started with reading the Bible.

“Serving God is important in life,” said Bush.

The former president also spoke about how the late evangelist Billy Graham influenced his life, got him back on “the walk” and helped him quit drinking more than 30 years ago.

“You know what is good about our country,” said Bush. The cumulative acts of compassion that make our country unique and people’s willingness to love their neighbor.

There were approximately 8,000 people in attendance at tonight’s event.

The evening of thanks began with the presentation of the United States flag by the Pigeon Forge police and fire departments.

Classical-crossover quintet, Veritas, performed the “Star-Spangled Banner,” which included an appearance by Challenger, the bald eagle used at presidential inaugurations, major sporting events and other historical moments.

Pigeon Forge Boy Scouts assisted in presenting medals to veterans in attendance at the conference.

The night also included a salute to each of the armed forces and a moment of silence honoring those who have lost their lives in service.

“We are an awesome nation to produce people who are willing to serve, said Bush.”

Charles Billingsley, Christian worship leader and song writer, led the crowd in “God Bless the USA” and a choir accompanied by an orchestra sang “God Bless America” to conclude the evening.

Celebrators Conference began in 1997 and is specially planned for today’s active, mature adults to experience spiritual fulfillment, Bible teaching, fellowship and fun.

Phil Waldrep Ministries, based in Decatur, Alabama, seeks to make a difference in the lives of people. This is accomplished through conferences such as Women of Joy, Gridiron, and Celebrators, as well as speaking engagements, online devotionals, and Pastor’s Encouragement Retreats.

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Contact:
Mackenzie Borden, Public Relations
Phil Waldrep Ministries
mackenzie@philwaldrep.org
256-341-7510

Amazing Animals Pet Show Reopens at Comedy Barn Theater in Pigeon Forge

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Oct. 17, 2018)—Pigeon Forge audiences will have additional opportunities to enjoy The Comedy Barn® Theater’s Amazing Animals Pet Show. Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment Group announced today that performances of the show will be extended to Dec. 1, 2018 at 2 p.m. on Tuesdays and Saturdays, due to popular demand.  The two-hour show includes zany comedy, animal antics and family fun.  The show has been a summer only matinee show for the past three years.

This furry fun pet show combines the talents of trained pigs, exotic parrots, housecats, and dogs all performing together at The Comedy Barn Theater at 2 p.m. on Tuesdays and Saturdays from now until Dec. 1.

“Come see all of our amazing animals including the microscopic marvel of our trained flea circus,” said Jim Hedrick, sr. vice president of Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment and co-owner of The Comedy Barn Theater. “The fleas do circus tricks, and guests will be amazed to see the world’s strongest flea, a flea that drives a car blindfolded, a flea that jumps off the high dive, a flea that juggles a ball, and even a flea that gets shot out of a cannon.”

The cast for the “Amazing Animals™ Pet” show includes ventriloquist Kyle Scribner, as well as Anthony and Alena King and their trained “comedy critters,” and country magician Greg Franklin, known onstage as “Farmer Clem.” Scribner, the Kings and Franklin all currently appear in The Comedy Barn show nightly as well.

Scribner previously played the part of Sheriff Dooley O’Neil in The Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Feud and was an auctioneer with Kyle Scribner Auctions.  The Kings have appeared on Animal Planet’s Pet Star, The Tonight Show, and at theme parks, festivals, fairs, pet expos, conventions and corporate events across the country. Franklin previously worked at the Carolina Nights Dinner Theater in Maggie Valley.

Also appearing will be Rebecca Krebs, exotic animal exhibitor and educator with her Burmese albino python, African king cobra snake, bearded dragon, marmoset monkey, lynx, porcupine, owl and falcon. Krebs has a degree in environmental science and has worked as a wildlife biologist and a full-time zookeeper.  She previously worked in animal health at Zoo Miami.

There will also be a magical appearance from Lindsay Hamm as she reprises her role as the Pink Panther and stage assistant.  Hamm was a member of last year’s and this summer’s Amazing Animals cast and has also previously performed in Magic Beyond Belief.

The production team includes David Fee and Jim Hedrick, executive producers; Robert Kalina, director; Justin Manning, video and lights; David Rains, audio; and Colin Tillman and Ken Wagner, stage technicians.

For more information visit AmazingAnimals.com or call the box office at (865) 428-5222 or 1-800-29-LAUGH. Ticket prices are $34.95 plus tax for adults and $9.95 plus tax for children ages 3 to 11. The theater is located at 2775 Parkway in Pigeon Forge.

The Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment Group, one of the largest show production companies in the southeast, also owns and produces other major shows in the Smoky Mountain area including The Smoky Mountain Opry, The Comedy Barn, the Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Feud,” Magic Beyond Belief starring Darren Romeo. The company also owns and produces A Comedy Barn Christmas, the Hatfield and McCoy Christmas Disaster Dinner Feud and Magic Beyond Belief starring Darren Romeo: Magical Christmas.

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Happy Birthday to Two of Dollywood’s Famous Leading Ladies

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Oct. 22, 2018) — Two of Dollywood’s most famous leading ladies have celebrated milestone birthdays this year. Katie celebrates her 75th, while “Cindy” enjoys the big 8-0 this season. Both ladies have the opportunity to entertain thousands of Dollywood guests each season, and their performances turn heads and garner waves of admiration wherever the track takes them.

They both admirably served in the U.S. Army during World War II, but now enjoy their retirement years at the world’s friendliest theme park. Their “warm” demeanors certainly are welcomed here.

The two Baldwin coal-fired steam trains—Klondike Katie, No. 192, and Cinderella, No. 70—were built in 1943 and 1938 respectively by Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia. Both trains served in Alaska during World War II, transporting troops and lumber on various missions across what would become the 49th U.S. state. Both engines were still in use when they were purchased from the Army. The two locomotives now work together to serve guests as The Dollywood Express, one of the park’s signature attractions.

Klondike Katie has worked most of the season while her co-worker Cinderella underwent a months-long refresh. She now looks much like she did back in 1938, with similar cosmetics and a font type close to what would have been on her originally. Just in time for Dollywood’s Harvest Festival presented by Humana (now- Nov. 3), both Cinderella and Klondike Katie are ready to charge full steam ahead in to the park’s busy fall and Christmas seasons.

Dollywood Express Team Lead Tim Smith says maintaining the workhorses is a labor of love for his team. For many of them, their current jobs were dreams many years in the making. Smith has had an interest in steam trains his whole life, working at the North Carolina Transportation Museum, as well as Tweetsie Railroad (located in Blowing Rock, North Carolina). He moved west and worked at the Durango and Silverton Railroad in Durango, Colorado and the Virginia and Truckee Railroad in Virginia City, Nevada. He desired to move closer to home and in 2015 accepted his current position at Dollywood.

“We do most of the work ourselves,” the North Wilkesboro, North Carolina native said. “It gives our group a sense of pride in what we do to know we’re able to keep these trains running and give our guests memories they’re always going to hold on to. We can do most of the maintenance work here, but there are things we send out to others to help us with from time to time. We have an iron caster in LaFollette (Tennessee) that can do most of the iron work we need.

“Klondike Katie’s sister (engine No. 190) is at Tweetsie Railroad; they have the equipment needed to work on our drive wheels.”

When Klondike Katie first arrived in Pigeon Forge in 1961, the area looked much different. She anchored a new attraction that had just been built that provided visitors with a five-mile journey through the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. In the early years, there was not even a workshop to house Klondike Katie. After several changes of ownership, the small park was acquired in 1977 by Jack and Pete Herschend of the Branson, Missouri-based Herschend Enterprises. Owners of Silver Dollar City in Branson, the brothers renamed the park Silver Dollar City, Tennessee. The big steam engine was acquired as part of the sale.

That same year, the Herschends acquired engine 70 and shipped her to the park to work alongside No. 192. After Dolly Parton and the Herschends formed Dollywood in 1986, and the number of visitors continued to climb, the two locomotives continued faithfully serving. For thousands of guests, The Dollywood Express is their main reason for visiting. Smith and his hardworking team balance a tricky schedule to ensure the engines receive the maintenance they need, while also staying operational for park guests each day.

“Our hardest part is balancing the demand of the park schedule with the needed maintenance,” Smith explained. “We try to do our maintenance when the park is closed so we don’t inconvenience our guests. We try not to do major projects when the park is open, but there are times that we have to do it. It probably upsets us more than it does the guests because we love how it feels when you take them up the mountain and they come back with smiles on their faces. On those rare days when we do have to undertake major maintenance, I assure you our team is probably more unhappy about it than the guests. But we work hard to stay on our schedule and make sure as much as we can is taken care of when the park is closed.”

And while most folks may think maintenance stops with the locomotives, the crew in the train shop also has to maintain the tracks and the passenger cars. It adds up to a great deal of work each season.

“The train shop annually replaces around 200-300 cross-ties out of the nearly 6,000 ties in the track,” Smith continued. “We occasionally replace entire sections of the track during the winter months. The locomotives, cars and tracks are looked over constantly looking for anything unusual by the team. We generally try to do our most extensive maintenance during the winter. The cars are inspected top to bottom and repainted each winter. Each locomotive is checked over inside and out. Some winters we may be just replacing a few rod brasses and then some winters we may have the whole engine disassembled.”

For the untrained eye (and ear), it may be hard to tell the two apart, except for the numbers emblazoned on their sides. For the many locomotive enthusiasts who visit the park, as well as the Dollywood hosts who work alongside them every day, each has its own personality. Klondike Katie originally was built for speed, while Cinderella had more power and torque to pull heavier loads. In addition to the visual cues, the engines sound very different; especially as they begin their climb out of the Dollywood Express Train Depot for the 20-minute roundtrip experience. Even the folks who work on the pair have their favorite—they just don’t let the other engine know it. Even Smith does a great job of hiding which is his “true” favorite.

“I generally tell folks that ask me that my favorite is the one that is running,” he said with a laugh. “Klondike Katie is my sentimental favorite since it is the park’s original engine; I also spent 15 years operating her sister engine 190 at Tweetsie Railroad. But, I would have to say #70 is my favorite of the two to operate.”

No matter which locomotive is pulling the train, The Dollywood Express is a guest-favorite for many who visit the park. Happy Birthday Klondike Katie and Cinderella!

For more information about Dollywood, please visit www.dollywood.com, call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD or download the Dollywood App.

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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 Spa; 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 35 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 2017. Dollywood was named a top three US theme park by USA Today in 2014 and 2017. Dollywood is open nine months a year (late March through early January) and offers rides and attractions, shows, and 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. Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa, which received the 2017 Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor, 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: Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations, (865) 428-9486, (865) 755-7972 or powens@dollywood.com

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

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

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

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

 

Dolly Parton Selects Great Smoky Mountains for Second Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Oct. 4, 2018)–Keep an eye to the spyglass, mateys; Dolly’s pirates will be searching for treasure in the Great Smoky Mountains next summer!

After nearly a decade of rave reviews and financial success on the Carolina coast, Dolly Parton’s newest Pirates Voyage dinner attraction is slated to open in the spring. “The show has been so successful in Myrtle Beach that we kept looking at Pigeon Forge and wondering why we didn’t already have a Pirates show there,” Parton said. “We have the perfect location, in one of the hottest areas of Pigeon Forge, and the time is now for my pirates to stake claim to the Great Smoky Mountains!”

When complete, the 21,000-square-foot arena, adjacent to The Island in Pigeon Forge, will be the stage for Crimson and Sapphire pirates to battle on deck, in the water and in the sky above their full-sized pirate ships in a 15-foot-deep indoor lagoon. Spectacular acrobatic competitions, live animals and an original music score by Parton and Mark Brymer creates an immersive adventure experience all while guests enjoy a spectacular four-course pirate feast.

“We’re glad we can finally share Dolly’s exciting news,” Jim Rule, World Choice Investments CEO said.  “For some time, we have been working on set and costume designs, unique show elements for this theater, and animal and staff training. We’re all looking forward to opening in 2019.”

Additional details about the project will be released soon.  Site construction is slated to begin in early January with an opening projected for spring.

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About World Choice Investments: Founded in 1988, World Choice Investments, LLC, doing business as Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Attraction, Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show, operates dinner attraction venues for family fun and adventure in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, Branson, Missouri and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Our shows feature special effects, musical productions, live animals and a four-course family feast.

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Media Contacts:

Pete Owens: (865) 755-7972 or powens@wciinvest.com

Steve Cruz: (865) 774-8136, (865) 410-0591 or stevec@wciinvest.com

 

Yo ho ho! Pirates Revenge™ Dinner & Show Coming to Pigeon Forge

(PIGEON FORGE, Tenn.)–Oct. 4, 2018 –Ahoy mateys!  The “Pirates Revenge™ Dinner and Show,” produced by Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment Group, will sail into Pigeon Forge the summer of 2019 in the current Smoky Mountain Opry Theater location.  Plans have been submitted to the City of Pigeon Forge’s planning commission for a huge $20 million renovation of the Smoky Mountain Opry Theater to turn the theater into a pirate-themed dinner show.   Pending the approval process, construction should begin early November 2018.  This will not affect the running of The Christmas at the Smoky Mountain Opry show which will proceed as usual.

The new Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment Group production will include a retractable water stage that will be the largest in the Southeast. The show will feature moving ships complete with brand new technology that is being designed just for this project.  The show will also include actors, stunt divers, acrobats, singers, dancers and live animals.

“We’ve enlisted the help of the best technological experts in the world to help with innovative thematic and production elements,” said David Fee, president and chief executive officer of Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment Group.  “Our writing team has worked on projects for Broadway shows as well as Disney and Universal productions.  This show will be like no other in existence.”

In addition to the massive changes within the building, the exterior is also slated for proposed upgrades pending approval from the city.  “I’m really excited about the addition of the moat and drawbridge going into the front doors, said David Fee.  “We plan to incorporate special effects in the theming of the outside as well as the inside.”

To incorporate the food aspect, a kitchen will be added to the inside of the theater to make way for the dinner portion of the show.  The existing theater seats will be removed and tables will be placed in the theater.

Magic Beyond Belief starring Darren Romeo will move across the street from The Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Feud to its own stand-alone theater and will open in March 2019.  The company hopes to keep The Smoky Mountain Opry Show and move it to a different location to be announced at a later date.

For more information, visit  http://PiratesRevengeDinnerShow.com

Or call 1-800-768-1170 or (865) 428-SHOW (7469).

The Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment Group, one of the largest show production companies in the Southeast, also owns and produces other major shows in the Smoky Mountain area including The Smoky Mountain Opry, The Comedy Barn, Hatfield and McCoy Dinner FeudAmazing Animals Pet Show, and Magic Beyond Belief starring Darren Romeo. The company also owns and produces A Comedy Barn Christmas, Hatfield and McCoy Christmas Disaster Dinner Feud and Magic Beyond Belief starring Darren Romeo: Magical Christmas.

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Contact:  Deborah Fee Newsom

(865) 414-6887 (cell)

(865) 774-8877

Deborah@FeeHedrick.com

 

Authentic Weapons Tied to Historic Family Feud on Display at Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud Theater

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn.–(Sept. 26, 2018)–An authentic pistol that historians say William Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield (1839-1921) kept in his front coat pocket as well as a unique American Legacy Henry Repeater Rifle (the Hatfield & McCoy commemorative 150-year rifle) will be on display in the lobby of the Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud™ Theater in Pigeon Forge (Tennessee) beginning Sept. 25 for one year.

The true story of the Hatfield and McCoy feud spanned several decades and was one of the longest and most infamous family feuds in history.  No one really knows how the feud began but some say the fight began over a stolen pig. A historic truce was signed between the two families in 2003 on national television, although the actual fighting had been over for a long time.

“Devil Anse” Hatfield was one of the patriarchs of the infamous Hatfield and McCoy feud. His great-great-great-granddaughter, Judy Hatfield, as well as his great-great-great, grandsons, Reo and Jack Hatfield, were all on hand on Monday to present the weapons to the theater. Ron McCoy, great-great-great-grandson of Randolph McCoy, patriarch of the McCoy clan, was also in attendance. Reo’s wife, Roxanne Hatfield, and Jack’s partner, Miguel Castillo-Diaz were there as well.

“I cannot tell you how proud we are to have these weapons on display in our lobby,” said Jim Hedrick, sr. vice president of Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment and co-owner of the Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Feud. “We are going to carry on the history, the heritage and the peace of the Hatfield and McCoys.”

Kimball Keller, general manager and producer of The Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Feud said, “While the Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Feud is not associated with the two actual families or the former feud, the dinner show keeps the family names alive as we entertain thousands of guests a year.  We are pleased that the two formerly feuding families met in peace at our theater to continue their legacy and present these guns to our show.”

The firearms will be displayed in a locked alarmed case in the gift store at The Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Feud.  Historians do not think that “Devil Anse” shot anyone with either of these weapons which are valued at over $50,000.

The pistol, approximately 6 inches by 4 inches (smaller than a man’s hand), was sent to Reo Hatfield by a member of the West Virginia House and comes with a certificate of authenticity.  The two-family feud inspired Legacy Firearms to create the Hatfield and McCoy rifle. The firearm commemorates the long-lasting quarrel between the two families. Etched into the finish of the wood is a timeline of events between the two feuding clans and engraved signatures from both Hatfield and McCoy family members. The “Henry Repeater Rifle” is hand carved and very ornate with wood and gold engraving and depicts both families, one family per side as a tribute.  The rifle is approximately 45 inches x 6 inches long. The Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Feud™ Theater received a certificate of authenticity for this limited-edition item that was purchased by Judy Hatfield.  Only 150 were made, making this a very special item for gun collectors and history buffs alike.

Ron McCoy said, “We don’t deny our family history but we learn from it and we celebrate it. We hope that people can learn from it the same way we have.  Not many people thought the McCoys and the Hatfields would ever break bread together, but here we all are at The Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Feud Theater. It is a great show about our families and it is a privilege to have the opportunity to share our family history.”

Reo Hatfield said, “If the Hatfield and McCoys can make peace happen so can everyone else in the world. Sometimes you have to fight, but you don’t have to fight forever.  We need to treat everyone with respect and we will continue that for a lifetime.  Both families are now of one unity and one nationality.”

Hedrick said, “The only fussin’ and fuedin’ going on between the Hatfields and McCoys now is at our dinner show, and it is all in good fun. We want everyone to come and have a good time and see a great show.  We also want to encourage people to come to our all new ‘Hatfield and McCoy Christmas Dinner Disaster’ that begins Nov. 1 and runs until Jan. 1. The 2018 production is brand new and simulates everything that you would expect at a holiday gathering.”

The “Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Feud” is a hilarious hit production inspired by real-life events that will put a mountain feast in people’s bellies and a smile on their faces, as they watch a lively talent competition between Pa Hatfield and Ma McCoy and their clans where the battlefield is the stage. This two-hour live show offers loads of laughs including a rowdy battle at a barn dance, extraordinary country, bluegrass, and gospel vocal and instrumental musical performances, and award winning hillbilly musicians, divers and cloggers.  After three years of undergoing a $3 million renovation to the stage area, the theater added a 24-foot-deep Olympic diving pool with 300,000 gallons of water this year.  It is the only stage of its kind in the Smoky Mountains, and it made possible the addition of high-diving hillbillies and long-jumping canines.

The feud is kicked-off at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. nightly, with occasional 2 p.m. matinees. Guests of all ages in the audience are encouraged to support their own side of Hatfield or McCoy “kinfolks.”

This feudin’ show comes with a Granny’s ‘All You Can Eat’ mountain feast, served by a hillbilly waiter or waitress.  Granny’s menu includes: feudin’ fried chicken, open pit pulled-to-pieces pork barbecue, southern style creamy soup, smashed mashed taters, buttery corn on the cob, ma’s hot homemade bread, no tellin’ what’s in it coleslaw and Granny’s famous specialty desserts. A vegetarian option is also available upon request.

For more information about the show, visit www.HatfieldMcCoyDinnerFeud.com or call (865) 908-7469 (SHOW).  The Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Theater is located at 119 Music Road between traffic lights 0 and 1 on the Parkway in Pigeon Forge between WonderWorks and the Titanic.

The Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment Group, one of the largest show production companies in the southeast, also owns and produces other major shows in the Smoky Mountain including “The Comedy Barn,” “The Smoky Mountain Opry,” and “Magic Beyond Belief™” starring Darren Romeo.  In November and December the company produces “A Comedy Barn Christmas,” “Christmas at the Smoky Mountain Opry” starring Chris Blue, Season 12 winner of ‘The Voice,’” The “Hatfield and McCoy Christmas Disaster Dinner and Feud,” and “Magic Beyond Belief” starring Darren Romeo in a magical Christmas.

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Dollywood’s Great Pumpkin Luminights Grows In 2018

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Oct. 24, 2018) — The glow grows during the return of Great Pumpkin LumiNights at Dollywood’s Harvest Festival presented by Humana. An overwhelming guest-favorite last season, Great Pumpkin LumiNights returns with several new immersive displays, exciting activities and an expanded footprint more than twice the size of 2017’s version. Additionally, the Harvest Festival itself grows with six additional operating days for families to enjoy.

Dollywood opens every day Sept. 28- Nov. 3 from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. giving guests more time to enjoy the festive fall fun of harvest time in the Smokies. After the glowing reviews of last year’s Great Pumpkin LumiNights, Dollywood officials knew the event was ripe for growth. Last year’s popular pumpkin displays—like the pumpkin spider and the pumpkin dance party—are joined in 2018 by a number of elaborate, new additions, including a couple of Dolly Parton-inspired displays.

The Plaza at Wilderness Pass serves as a centerpiece for the event with an area for character interaction, additional displays—and the focal point—a 40 ft. tall pumpkin tree. With the addition of Great Pumpkin LumiNights to the Harvest Festival in 2017, a number of families created new traditions and memories they’ll share forever, something Parton expected to happen once she first saw the renderings for the initial event.

“We knew families were going to love all those glowing pumpkins last year,” she explained, “but with the way they responded, we found they were looking for a different and fun, family-friendly way to spend time together during this special time of year; Great Pumpkin LumiNights was certainly it. That’s why we’re givin’ them even more to love during this year’s festival. During the day, they can see all those beautiful colors God has painted across the mountains, and at night, they can experience the fun of a Smoky Mountain harvest.”

Families will bask in the glow of thousands of intricately-carved pumpkins as they wander through displays throughout Dollywood’s Timber Canyon, Wilderness Pass and upper Craftsman’s Valley areas. 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 “pumpkin artists” who will host demonstrations to help guests learn how to produce the perfect pumpkin masterpiece.

Alongside Great Pumpkin LumiNights, the biggest names in Southern gospel music visit the park for the Southern Gospel Jubilee. Thanks to the additional operating days, more than 625 individual Southern gospel performances take place on stages throughout the park throughout the run of the festival—making it the biggest Southern gospel event in America. It’s very fitting for the music icon who got her start singing in church with her family.

“You really can say my career started back in those days when we’d visit all those small country churches just singin’ about God,” Parton said. “That music is close to my heart, so I’m truly proud we’re able to offer our guests so many opportunities to hear this great music during the Harvest Festival at Dollywood.”

Dollywood celebrates Smoky Mountain crafts all year with the park’s well-known master craftsmen. During the Harvest Festival, however, more than 30 visiting artisans from across the country bring their wares and share their talents with Dollywood guests. Craft demonstrations include textile art, inspirational jewelry, loom weaving, paper marbling, bentwood boxes, rug hooking, fiddle making, dulcimer making, and much more.

For more information about Dollywood’s Harvest Festival featuring Southern Gospel Jubilee and Great Pumpkin LumiNights, please visit www.dollywood.com, call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD, or download the Dollywood App.

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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 Spa; 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 35 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 2017. Dollywood was named a top three US theme park by USA Today in 2014 and 2017. Dollywood is open nine months a year (late March through early January) and offers rides and attractions, shows, and 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. Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa, which received the 2017 Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor, 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: Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations, (865) 428-9486, (865) 755-7972 orpowens@dollywood.com

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

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

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

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