Archive for the ‘Press Releases’ Category

Four Performers Advance to Path to Fame Talent Competition Finals from Atlanta Auditions

More than 100 people registered for open call auditions in Atlanta on May 12.

ATLANTA (May 14, 2018) — Four performers advanced in Saturday’s Path to Fame Atlanta auditions at Earl and Rachel Smith Strand Theatre where more than 100 people registered for a chance to further their entertainment careers.

The four semi-finalists from Georgia are:
Jadyn Williams from Tallapoosa;
Sara Kays from Avondale Estates;
Isaac Streetman from Aragon;
Morgan Shaw from Euharlee.

Four performers are one step closer to realizing a lifetime dream of an entertainment career. Nashville-based talent executive John Alexander will focus on artist development with the grand champion, including career development consultations with GRAMMY-nominated, platinum-selling country star Kelsea Ballerini and other entertainment executives representing all aspects of the entertainment industry. Alexander discovered Ballerini, spent over a decade at Great American Country television network, managed artists such as Patty Loveless and is co-founder of the Nashville-based artist development company Bandtwango.

“Atlanta brought out a number of talented performers, and I look forward to working with any one of them for the next year,” Alexander said. “I can’t wait to see this group perform again at the finals in Pigeon Forge. Narrowing down our semi-finalists to one grand champion will not be easy, but I’m confident whoever is selected will be eager to jumpstart their entertainment career.”

On her 14th birthday, Jadyn Williams impressed the judges with her performance of “All I Want” by Kodaline. She is a member of the Georgia 4-H Clovers and Company choral group and regularly performs around the state of Georgia.

Sara Kays’ musical career began at the age of 11 on the day her mother gifted her with a guitar. Several years later, Kays showcased her sweet vocals and attention-getting ukulele skills during her original song performance on Saturday at the Strand Theatre. She is transferring to Murfreesboro’s Middle Tennessee State University in the fall to pursue music business studies.

Inspired by Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley and Chris Stapleton, Isaac Streetman is a vocalist and guitarist. He performed “Midnight Train to Memphis” by The Steeldrivers which secured his position in the finals. In addition to performing at church, festivals and restaurants near his hometown, Streetman recently advanced to the Hollywood auditions as a season one contestant of ABC Network’s “American Idol.”

Music has been an important part of Morgan Shaw’s life for as long as she can remember. Influenced by Miranda Lambert and Loretta Lynn, the first-time mom-to-be performed “Unlove You” by Jennifer Nettles. She currently performs at festivals and venues in Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee with her full band.

The final competition will take place in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., on June 16 where one grand champion will be selected from 12 competing performers who were selected in Cincinnati and Nashville.

More information for the Path to Fame Talent Competition can be found at More information about visiting Pigeon Forge is available at


Link to photos and b-roll of PigeonForgePathtoFameAtlantaAuditions.

Group photo identification from L to R: Sue Carr, marketing manager for the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism; Otis, 94.9 The Bull’s “O-Show” host; Morgan Shaw; Isaac Streetman; Jadyn Williams; Sara Kays; John Alexander, Nashville talent executive; Michael Headla, entertainment director for Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment.

About Pigeon Forge: Pigeon Forge is located in East Tennessee, approximately 35 miles from Knoxville and McGhee-Tyson Airport. Two-thirds of the nation’s population east of the Mississippi River lives within a day’s drive, making it an easily accessible family vacation destination. The city’s neighbor is Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most-visited national park in the U.S. It also is home to Dolly Parton’s Dollywood theme park, Tennessee’s most-visited ticketed attraction. More information about all aspects of Pigeon Forge are available at or toll-free at 1-800-251-9100.

Media contact:            Jess Pangrazio
615-327-1189 ext. 350


250 Free Seminars, Concerts, Outdoor Excursions Highlight Wilderness Wildlife Week in Pigeon Forge May 8-12

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (April 24, 2018)—Featuring more than 250 free sessions and activities spanning five days, Pigeon Forge’s award-winning Wilderness Wildlife Week is set for May 8-12. The event is headquartered at the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge.

In its 28th year, Wilderness Wildlife Week offers a variety of workshops, lectures, seminars, concerts, hikes and other activities designed to introduce or reacquaint participants of all ages with the great outdoors.

“Wilderness Wildlife Week showcases a diverse range of speakers and experts who share their vast knowledge of life in the Great Smoky Mountains,” said Pigeon Forge Executive Director of Tourism Leon Downey. “From a fishing tournament for kids to an 11-mile hike to Mt. Cammerer, Wilderness Wildlife Week offers something for everyone.”

The Southeast Tourism Society named Wilderness Wildlife Week one of its Top 20 Events in the Southeast for May 2018. Wilderness Wildlife Week also claimed a Gold Kaleidoscope Award—top honors—in the 2018 Southeast Festival and Events Association’s Best Event Program category.

The event’s headline session includes Ken Jenkins, Judy Felts and Friends in a program entitled Heaven and Nature Sing (May 8 at 7 p.m.). Forensics experts Dr. Bill Bass and Art Bohanan (May 9 at 8:30 p.m.) return to discuss forensic cases throughout the Smoky Mountains region, while several historic Sevier County houses of worship are the focus of two outings led by Kathy Gwinn.

Outdoors enthusiasts, nature lovers or those who simply want to learn more about Great Smoky Mountains National Park can choose from lectures about topics ranging from the area’s rich heritage to conservation. Outdoor demonstrations include back country and Dutch oven cooking while workshops focus on basket weaving, photography, fishing, wildflowers and more.

Among the new sessions this year are My Wild Life: From Bears, Panthers and Pandas to People with Ken Johnson, Frontier Life: Women’s Role in Western Frontier Living in North Carolina with the Overmountain Victory Trail Association, The Ragmen of Appalachia featuring Joseph Williams, Ranger Recollections of Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the 1960s with Joe Kelley, The White Caps: The Great Unmasking presented by Don Williams, and a Great Smoky Mountains Association film series.

Hikers of all experience levels can choose from several excursions each day. Highlights include an 11-plus-mile hike to the Mt. Cammerer Fire Tower located less than a mile off the Appalachian Trail (May 11 from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.), a six-hour hike highlighting the People and Places of Cades Cove (May 11 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.), a nearly five-mile Hen Wallow Falls trek that takes hikers through a hemlock and rhododendron forest (May 11 from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.), and, for the second year in a row, the 2.5-mile Cades Cove Loop Road Night Hike (May 10 from 8-10:30 p.m.).

A special kids’ track is offered for younger outdoors enthusiasts where participants can learn more about topics ranging from composting, snakes, and photography. Jenkins, an acclaimed photographer, leads a first-time session entitled Connecting to Nature in which he examines how to engage wildlife and experience first-hand some of the ways to connect to nature and capture its beauty. A children’s Old-Time Scavenger Hunt (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and Kids’ Trout Tournament (8 a.m. to 1 p.m. for children ages seven to 12) both take place on Saturday, May 12.

More than 50 exhibits and vendors, including the not-for-profit Cades Cove Preservation Association and Onsite Heritage Museum, East Tennessee Historical Society, Keep Sevier Beautiful, and Tennessee Trail of Tears, are open daily during the conference beginning at 10 a.m. in LeConte Hall.

This spring celebration of the great outdoors is free and open to the public. For more information, a complete schedule and registration details, visit

Pigeon Forge Special Events Garner Recognition from Two Southeastern Organizations

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (March 2018)—Two Pigeon Forge (Tenn.) events—Wilderness Wildlife Week 2018 and A Mountain Quiltfest 2017—were recently recognized with regional awards by the Southeast Tourism Society (STS) and the Southeast Festival and Events Association (SFEA).

STS selected Wilderness Wildlife Week as one of the STS Top 20 Events in the Southeast for May 2018. Wilderness Wildlife Week and A Mountain Quiltfest tied for top honors in SFEA’s Best Event Program category with each earning a Gold Kaleidoscope Award. A Mountain Quiltfest also received the Kaleidoscope Award for Best Event Within an Event (bronze) for the silent quilt auction to benefit the My People Fund and the Best Other Merchandise Award (gold) for the event thimble.

A Mountain Quiltfest takes place March 20-24, and features a free quilt show and vendor mall. Classes and lectures are offered for all levels of quilting skills (fees apply). Wilderness Wildlife Week, May 8-12, offers workshops, lectures, seminars, concerts, hikes and other activities that introduce and reacquaint participants with the great outdoors; all are free. Both are headquartered at the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge.

“Members of both the Southeast Tourism Society and Southeast Festival and Events Association are authorities on special events, and they recognize the value of these events to our tourism industry,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism. “The awards are certainly appreciated, but we are also grateful to both STS and SFEA for their efforts to promote Wilderness Wildlife Week and A Mountain Quiltfest to their audiences.”

Events considered for STS Top 20 recognition must be at least three years old and have attendance of at least 1,000. Travel industry experts select 20 events per month, and STS publicizes them throughout the United States. The complete list is published at Southeast Tourism Society.

“The Southeast is home to unique and memorable events throughout the year. In spotlighting the Top 20 festivals and events each month, STS is not only giving these events the recognition they deserve but we’re also creating a quick reference guide to some of the best festivals in the Southeast,” said Bill Hardman, president and CEO of STS. “These events are important to the economic vitality of our communities and this is a way for us to acknowledge the time and resources organizers have tirelessly spent to create memories for their attendees.”

The Kaleidoscope Awards ceremony was Feb. 26 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, in conjunction with the 15th Annual SFEA conference. Top festivals and events throughout the Southeast were recognized for their outstanding contribution to the events industry. A panel of experts in event planning, marketing and tourism spent an entire day reviewing entries from eight states. The judges looked for originality, creativity, media impact, volunteer programs, and the overall impact to the community. The categories are also diverse, ranging from Best Marketing Campaign to Best T-Shirt to Best Festival or Event.

“The quality of submissions continues to increase each year making it more difficult for the judges to select the winners,” noted Brenda Pierce, executive director for SFEA.  “Of course, to ‘win gold,’ becomes all the sweeter when there is additional competition and the recognition a festival receives for winning is priceless.”


Media Contact:

Trish McGee for the Pigeon Forge Dept. of Tourism

615-327-1189 ext. 327

About the Southeast Tourism Society (STS):

STS, founded in 1983 and headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting tourism to and within 12 states—Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.


About the Southeast Festivals & Events Association (SFEA):

The Southeast Festivals & Events Association (SFEA) is a 501 (c) 6 membership-based organization comprised of festival and event planners, venues, and industry service providers. SFEA was founded in 2009 to strengthen the festival and event industry throughout the southeast United States 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. Membership is open to those in the festivals and events industry as well as those wanting to get their start and learn more about this exciting profession.

Pigeon Forge Path to Fame Talent Competition Seeks Top Talent Across Southeastern US

Auditions scheduled in Cincinnati, Nashville and Atlanta to select twelve semi-finalists who will compete for the grand prize in Pigeon Forge on June 16.  

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (March 15, 2018) – Tune your guitar, warm up your vocal cords and break out your best magic tricks— Pigeon Forge (Tenn.) is searching for top talent to participate in its inaugural Path to Fame Talent Competition. Auditions in three cities will determine 12 semi-finalists who advance to the final competition in Pigeon Forge on Saturday, June 16, 2018.

Path to Fame Talent Competition auditions take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in:
Cincinnati, Ohio, on Saturday, April 14;
Nashville, Tennessee, on Saturday, April 21;
Atlanta, Georgia, on Saturday, May 12.

Four semi-finalists from each city will advance to the final competition in Pigeon Forge on June 16. Accommodations will be made for the semi-finalists and one guest to travel to the finals in Pigeon Forge. To register, visit

“The caliber of talent featured in the many stage shows in Pigeon Forge is exceptional, and our shows are a major reason so many folks visit our city,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism. “Pigeon Forge’s Path to Fame talent competition lets aspiring performers benefit from the experienced theater community that we have here, with hopes that we’ll launch yet another performer—our grand prize winner—onto a Path of Fame.”

Pigeon Forge helped launch the careers of recording artists Carly Pearce, Janelle Arthur and Craig Morgan.

The grand champion selected at the final competition will receive a prize package comprised of tools to launch his or her path to fame including a one-year mentorship with Nashville-based talent executive John Alexander who discovered Grammy-nominated artist Kelsea Ballerini and spent over a decade at Great American Country television network. Alexander will be a key asset in establishing consultations, studio time and industry meetings for the grand champion. Additionally, the winner will perform at Pigeon Forge theaters during a complimentary return trip and receive assets and experiences to advance his or her career. To view the complete grand prize package, visit

“Talented people are everywhere, but few have the opportunity to share that talent with industry professionals. We are going to Cincinnati, Nashville and Atlanta with the hope that entertainers from across the region can have that chance,” said Alexander. “Nothing excites me more than nurturing careers and connecting the right people to bring someone one step closer to the spotlight.”

A diverse judging panel will determine who advances to the final round. The judges at each audition include Alexander, representatives of Pigeon Forge’s theater community and a radio personality from the audition city.

There are four eligible talent categories; vocalist, instrumentalist, comedian and specialty act. Individuals and groups of five or fewer can register in advance to audition at Onsite registration at the audition and check-in is from 8:30 a.m. to noon local time. Auditions will be on a first-come, first-served basis at each audition location. All contestants must check in between 8:30 a.m. and noon local time.

Located six miles from the entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Pigeon Forge is a family-friendly vacation destination that offers more than 80 attractions, including award-winning entertainment. This is an opportunity for the city to turn the tables and recognize the many talents its passionate visitors have and help guide the grand champion along the path to fame.

Follow the Path to Fame Talent Competition at or

More information and rules and regulations for the Path to Fame Talent Competition can be found at More information about visiting Pigeon Forge is available at


About Pigeon Forge: Pigeon Forge is located in East Tennessee, approximately 35 miles from Knoxville and McGhee-Tyson Airport. Two-thirds of the nation’s population east of the Mississippi River lives within a day’s drive, making it an easily accessible family vacation destination. The city’s neighbor is Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most-visited national park in the U.S. It also is home to Dolly Parton’s Dollywood theme park, Tennessee’s most-visited ticketed attraction. More information about all aspects of Pigeon Forge are available at or toll-free at 1-800-251-9100.

Media contact:            Jess Pangrazio
615-327-1189 ext. 350

24th Annual ‘A Mountain Quiltfest’ Brings Folk Art Extravaganza to LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Feb. 14, 2018) – Pigeon Forge (Tenn.) invites you to be immersed in the tradition of quilt-making at the 24th Annual A Mountain Quiltfest on March 20 – 24, 2018. More than 500 quilts will compete in a variety of different categories for $20,000 in prize money.

Located at the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge (2986 Teaster Lane, Pigeon Forge, Tenn. 37863), the artistic quilts are displayed throughout the 232,000-square-foot event center, and attendees can peruse the vendor booths stocked with quilting essentials and one-of-a-kind accessories. Free parking is available at the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge.

Quilt show and vendor hall hours:
Wednesday, March 21: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Thursday, March 22: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Friday, March 23: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday, March 24: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

A Mountain Quiltfest is an opportunity to not only admire the intricate handiwork used to create the popular American folk art, but to learn and expand your own quilting skills through classes tailored to skill level and technique. More than 70 classes are available during the five-day event for a fee, but admission to the quilt show and vendor hall is free. A complete class schedule and registration is available at

Class participants on Tuesday, March 20, can enjoy a special lunchtime performance by award-winning cowgirl poet Yvonne Hollenbeck and songbird of the prairie Jean Prescott. Students must register to order lunch in advance at

In addition to the classes, many people visit A Mountain Quiltfest to get appraisals of heirloom quilts. Cindy Stuart, an American Quilter’s Society certified appraiser, will appraise quilts March 20 – 24 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. by appointment only on a first-come, first-served basis. (Make appointments by contacting Cindy Stuart at 865-980-2162 or

Several antique quilt bed turnings are scheduled during which local quilters and guild members offer detailed information about collections of quilts made before 1966.

Due to popular demand in 2017, two new Historic Churches of Sevier County bus tours were developed by Kathy Gwinn and feature churches offered for the first time. Gwinn will conduct Tour 2018A on March 21 and March 23 and Tour 2018B on March 22 and March 24. For those who missed last year’s tours, local historian and storyteller Ruth Carr Miller will lead Tour 2017A on March 23 and Tour 2017B on March 24. For a complete schedule and to register for the bus tours, visit

Information about visiting Pigeon Forge is at Details of A Mountain Quiltfest are at


Photos of A Mountain Quiltfest available here.

Media Contact:
Trish McGee

Pigeon Forge Wins Seventh Emmy Award for “Home Alone” Commercial

PIGEON FORGE, Tennessee (February 2018) – A dog counting down the days until his family returns from a memory-filled Pigeon Forge vacation recently won the popular destination its seventh Emmy Award.

“Home Alone” is the title of the thirty-second TV commercial that took top honors in the Commercial Spot category. After staring longingly at a calendar posted on the fridge, the family dog moves to the sofa where he passes the time watching videos of the family’s previous Pigeon Forge vacations. Clips showcase a younger mom, dad, son and daughter, each enjoying the variety of Pigeon Forge attractions through the years, from go-karts to a dinner show to a roller coaster. Finally, the front door opens to reveal mom, dad and two teenagers having returned home from yet another Pigeon Forge vacation. See the commercial here.

Among the memories captured in the family’s Pigeon Forge vacation videos are the Outdoor Gravity Park, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, The Island, and Alcatraz East Crime Museum.

Pigeon Forge and its agency, bohan in Nashville, received the Emmy Award at the annual celebration of the Nashville/Midsouth Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences on Jan. 20.

This is the seventh time bohan commercials for Pigeon Forge have won what have been labeled “television’s highest honor.” Earlier Emmy Awards came in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2014, 2015 and 2017.

“Our Home Alone spot tugs at your heartstrings, not only because the dog is anxious for his family’s homecoming but mostly because it puts our vacation memories front and center,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism. “And memories are one of the most precious keepsakes folks take home from Pigeon Forge.”

“Having worked with bohan for 27 years, the agency understands that tourism is the lifeblood of Pigeon Forge,” Downey added. “Bohan continues to find fresh ways to showcase all that our family-friendly destination has to offer.”

Bohan, which has marketed Pigeon Forge since 1990, has won at least one Emmy Award in 13 of the last 14 years.


Photo of Emmy Award presentation available here:

Pictured left to right: Bohan’s Account Supervisor Tony Gerstner, Executive Director of the Pigeon Forge Dept. of Tourism Leon Downey, Pigeon Forge Dept. of Tourism’s Marketing Manager Sue Carr, and bohan’s Sr. Vice President/Managing Director Brian Gilpatrick.



Trish McGee



Pigeon Forge Chuck Wagon Cookoff Fires Up on March 3

PIGEON FORGE, Tennessee (Jan. 11, 2018)—Pigeon Forge is calling all foodies, cowboy aficionados and anyone looking to indulge in a time-honored culinary experience to the annual Pigeon Forge Chuck Wagon Cookoff on Saturday, March 3.

Lunch, consisting of from-scratch dishes prepared for the competition, will be served at noon. Tickets are $12.50 each and may be purchased onsite or online at

“Our Pigeon Forge Chuck Wagon Cookoff offers a unique experience to journey through time and taste a bit of history,” said Pigeon Forge Executive Director of Tourism Leon Downey. “This interactive event pulls back the curtain on the culture of the old American West through a delicious meal, music, and poetry.”

Ten competing chuck wagons will gather at Clabough’s Campground (405 Wears Valley Road) for this one-of-a-kind outdoor cooking event. An ancestor to the food truck craze sweeping the nation, the chuck wagon is a far cry from the mobile kitchens chefs are creating today but it laid the foundation for the evolution of street food over the last several decades. In the late 1800s, early American chuck wagons fed hungry cowboys on the open prairies during cattle drives. Chuck wagon cooks, or cookies, as they are known, rely on simple ingredients to guide their menus and fire to power their ovens.

Chuck wagon cookoffs aid in the preservation of cattle drive trail days as well as ensuring the authentic reproduction of the mobile kitchens. The competition includes cash prizes for most authentic wagon and awards in various food categories, including meat, potatoes, bread, beans and dessert. All food items must be prepared onsite and using ingredients provided to the cooking teams. Condiments may be used at the cook’s discretion. Prohibited ingredients are announced prior to the competition.

The day also includes several free activities from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.: an old-time Western Buckaroo Roundup for children of all ages featuring Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch Under Buckaroo Roundup providing roping and branding demos; roving cowboy lookalikes from the Golden Age of cinema, and Sisters on the Fly, the largest women’s outdoor adventure group in the country, with free tours of their Cowgirl Caravan of vintage trailers; and Western poetry and music featuring Andy Nelson, Marshal Andy & the Riders of the Silver Screen Band and Cal Farley’s Youth Cowboy and Cowgirl Poets from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

A special concert featuring award-winning artist RW Hampton and Andy Nelson will take place at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa at 6 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase for $20 onsite or in advance at

Sunday, March 4, features the Chuck Wagon Breakfast and Cowboy Church at Stages West (2765 Parkway). Served from 8:30-10 a.m., a chuck wagon breakfast is prepared and $5 tickets may be purchased onsite or in advance at Cowboy Church follows at 10:30 a.m. and admission is free.

For more information about the Chuck Wagon Cookoff and other events, please visit


Media contact:
Trish McGee

615-327-1189 ext. 327

Indoor Snow Facility, 200-Foot-Tall Coaster, Competing Lumberjacks, World’s Largest Titanic Replica Lead List of New Pigeon Forge Attractions In 2018

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Jan. 29, 2018)—Vacationers looking for new experiences will find them in 2018 in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, the popular family vacation destination located in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains.

“Pigeon Forge’s variety and sheer number of experiences increases every year, and 2018 is no exception,” said Pigeon Forge Executive Director of Tourism Leon Downey. “Our visitors enjoy lots of options that allow them to spend time together, and Pigeon Forge makes that easy, whether it’s a relaxing weekend getaway for two or a week-long vacation for the entire family in the Great Smoky Mountains.”

Pigeon Forge offers a wide variety of attractions, museums, entertainment, special events, lodging and restaurant options.

New for 2018 visitors includes:

  • Pigeon Forge Snow, the first indoor snow facility of its kind in the U.S., offers real snow and indoor snow tubing year round. The attraction uses state-of-the-art snow-making technology to transform the 35,000-sq.-ft. indoor facility into a winter wonderland, complete with 15 lanes of snow tubing. Instead of using synthetic material, the attraction’s slopes are covered in genuine fresh powder. Play areas will allow guests to build a snowman and have snowball fights. For guests’ comfort, the indoor climate will remain between 60 and 70 degrees 365 days a year. PigeonForgeSnow
  • Construction is under way for the 200-foot-tall Mountain Monster three-in-one thrill ride which anchors the new Tower Shops at Mountain Mile, a 180,000-sq.-ft. multi-purpose retail and family entertainment development that spans 174 acres. Designed by thrill ride inventor Stan Checketts, who also is responsible for attractions atop the Stratosphere in Las Vegas and one of the world’s fastest roller coasters (located in Japan), Mountain Monster will offer guests a drop ride, a dive ride and a swing, all in one attraction. Lodging properties include Home2 Suites by Hilton, which opened last year, and Tru by Hilton, currently under construction. Follow this project at
  • Dollywood theme park treats guests to an entertainment-infused season of showstoppers, including the all-new three-week Spring Mix music series (April 11-29) featuring concerts by Suzy Bogguss, Pam Tillis, Crystal Gayle, Amy Grant, Blind Boys of Alabama, Chonda Pierce, Marshall Tucker Band, Debby Boone, Atlanta Rhythm Band, Al Stewart and more. The park’s popular springtime Festival of Nations (March 17-April 9) includes headliners National Dance Company of Siberia, the Flamenco Kings starring Los Vivancos, and Ladysmith Black Mambazo. iLuminate, DRUMLine and speed painter Dan Dunn take the stage during Dollywood’s Summer Celebration while TobyMac and Crowder entertain guests of the park’s annual Rock the Smokies event on Aug. 25.
  • Crave Golf Club is a $7 million sweet-themed golf destination. Brightly colored and highly themed, Crave is located on Pigeon Forge’s Parkway. The 36-hole multi-level facility spans 18,500 square feet and multiple levels. Golfers play through 19 holes in each round and choose from indoor, hillside and rooftop courses with options to customize their play with challenge/reward spinners at each hole. Crave also features a candy shop and gourmet milkshake bar. CraveGolf
  • The world’s largest replica of the RMS Titanic is on display at the Titanic Museum Attraction. Built entirely from 56,000 LEGO bricks, it was conceived and constructed by Brynjar Karl Birgisson, a 10-year-old Icelandic boy. Measuring 25 feet in length, it is the largest Titanic LEGO ship model in history and took 11 months to build. Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge is the first and only location to feature the replica this year in the U.S. Birgisson, who is autistic, has garnered international attention for his self-penned book My Autistic X Factor. Known as the LEGO boy, he follows his ship wherever it travels.
  • The new Lumberjack Feud Show features world-class athleticism and high-energy competition along with audience participation. Performed in an outdoor venue, the show opens in late spring. More information is available at
  • The 104-room Margaritaville Island Inn, located at The Island, offers coastal-inspired rooms and suites. All accommodations feature Margaritaville’s signature “no worries” tropical vibe along with indoor and outdoor pools, private balconies, a hot tub, fire pit and family gathering and lounge areas. MargaritavilleIslandInn

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

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


Media contact:  Trish McGee on behalf of the Pigeon Forge Dept. of Tourism

Images available for download here New for 2018 Images or 615-327-1189

Pigeon Forge Receives Record-setting 25 International Events Awards

Stephen King, Des Moines Arts Festival executive director (left), and Andrew Vandepopulier, representing IFEA sponsor Haas & Wilkerson Insurance, congratulate Pigeon Forge Office of Special Events Manager Butch Helton on the city’s second Grand Pinnacle Award for Wilderness Wildlife Week.

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Sept. 20, 2017) – In recognition of the city’s special events, the Pigeon Forge (Tenn.) Department of Tourism claimed 25 Pinnacle Awards from the International Festivals and Events Association (IFEA). For the second consecutive year, Wilderness Wildlife Week was awarded the Grand Pinnacle Award for Best Event/Festival.

The Grand Pinnacle is the highest award given by the IFEA. The professional competition recognizes the most outstanding examples of quality and creativity in the festivals and events industry.

Wilderness Wildlife Week received a record-setting 16 Pinnacle Awards, including gold for best green program for projects with budgets less than $500,000.

The outdoor-focused event won five silver awards, including best community outreach program, and six bronze awards, with one for best event/program (for the Appalachian Homecoming) within an event to benefit a cause.

A Mountain Quiltfest took home seven honors, including three gold, two silver and two bronze awards.

Pigeon Forge’s Chuck Wagon Cookoff won two Pinnacle Awards. The outdoor food event won a silver award for best food and beverage program and a bronze for best community outreach program.

“Pigeon Forge’s unprecedented show at this year’s IFEA Awards continues to underscore the caliber of events we offer folks,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism. “We’re especially honored that Wilderness Wildlife Week won a second Grand Pinnacle Award. This overall recognition certainly speaks to the efforts that our special events staff, volunteers and special guests contribute to all of our city’s special events.”

“IFEA features 71 different categories, and entries represent events from all around the world,” said Butch Helton, Pigeon Forge special events manager. “This incredible diversity makes our Pigeon Forge awards all the more meaningful. It’s an honor for Wilderness Wildlife Week, A Mountain Quiltfest and Chuck Wagon Cookoff to be recognized among such fine company again this year.”

Other winners at the 2017 convention included the 500 Festival in Indianapolis; the Philadelphia Flower Show; the Fiesta Bowl in Scottsdale, Arizona; the Singapore Garden Festival, and the Rotterdam Festivals in The Netherlands.

This year’s IFEA awards presentation was Sept. 14 in Tucson, Arizona, during the organization’s 62nd convention.


Trish McGee



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Media Contacts:

Trish McGee for the Pigeon Forge Dept. of Tourism

615-327-1189 ext. 327


Katy Ford for The Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge