Archive for the ‘Press Releases’ Category

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



More Than 200 Free Seminars, Outdoor Excursions Highlight Wilderness Wildlife Week in Pigeon Forge May 9-13

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (April 24, 2017)—Featuring more than 220 free sessions spanning five days, Pigeon Forge’s award-winning Wilderness Wildlife Week is set for May 9-13. The event is headquartered at the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge.

In its 27th 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.

“From great speakers and interactive how-to classes to topics like Appalachian heritage and forensics, Wilderness Wildlife Week is designed to be informative, engaging and fun,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism.

The event’s headline sessions include Ken Jenkins, Judy Felts and Friends in a program entitled Beauty from the Ashes (May 9 at 7:45 p.m.) which features photography and inspirational music. Forensics experts Dr. Bill Bass and Art Bohanan (May 10 at 7:45 p.m.) share their findings from applying forensic science to identifying human remains, some of which were discovered in graves dating back 2,000 years. Former park ranger Dwight McCarter (May 11 at 7:15 p.m.) shares stories of search and rescue efforts in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Outdoor 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 backcountry cooking and blacksmithing while indoor workshops focus on quilting, basket weaving, photography, fishing and wildflowers. Sevier County’s Sevier Solid Waste management facility’s Where Did It Go? presentation will address managing debris from the November wildfire.

Hikers of all experience levels can choose from several excursions each day. Highlights include a three-mile behind-the-scenes Cades Cove Tour (May 10 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.), a 13.8-mile Appalachian Trail/Goshen Prong hike (May 12 from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.), the one-mile LeConte Center Riverwalk Birding Safari (May 13 from 7:30-9:30 a.m.), and the new 2.5-mile Cades Cove Loop Night Hike (May 11 from 7:15-11 p.m.).

A special kids’ track is offered for younger outdoor enthusiasts where participants can learn more about such topics as whittling, crafting mystery stories, making art from recycled materials and more. Children ages seven to 12 can register for the free Kids’ Trout Tournament on Saturday, May 13, at 8 a.m. in Pigeon Forge’s Patriot Park pavilion.

Patriot Park also is the location of the second annual Appalachian Homecoming event on Friday, May 12, at 5 p.m., with storytelling, music, children’s games, and an antique tractor show. A limited 200 tickets ($15 in advance and $20 onsite) will be offered for a country-style picnic dinner on the grounds with proceeds benefitting Keep Sevier Beautiful.

More than 50 exhibits and vendors include the not-for-profit American Eagle Foundation, Appalachian Bear Rescue, Cades Cove Preservation Association and Onsite Heritage Museum, Keep Sevier Beautiful and more.

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 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

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.


Media Contact:

Trish McGee


More than 500 Artful Quilts Expected at ‘A Mountain Quiltfest’ in Pigeon Forge

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (March 2017) – More than 500 artfully designed and carefully stitched quilts will compete for more than $20,000 in prize money at the 23rd A Mountain Quiltfest in Pigeon Forge next spring. The five-day event, one of biggest of its kind in the U.S., is March 21-25, 2017.

A Mountain Quiltfest will feature more than 60 classes and lectures about America’s popular folk art taught by world-class instructors. There is a fee for classes, but admission to the quilt displays and a vendor mall is free.

New in 2017, award-winning cowgirl poet Yvonne Hollenbeck and “the first lady of Western music” Jean Prescott will present five classes at A Mountain Quiltfest. Performing together, Hollenbeck and Prescott share the history of the Western prairie through song and poetry alongside historic photographs of quilters as well as generations-old quilts, including Hollenbeck’s collection of family quilts that spans 140 years. A free session hosted by the duo on March 23 at noon features Hollenbeck’s collection of aprons made from vintage feed sacks.

“A Mountain Quiltfest showcases how quilts were born of necessity and pieced from scrap fabric and feed sacks and have evolved into decorative masterpieces that are artfully designed, displayed and collected today,” said Butch Helton, manager of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism’s special events office, which organizes the activity along with the Piecemakers and Sevier Valley Quilters guilds.

Twenty quilt categories will be displayed, including ones with this year’s special theme – two fabrics.

Displays and the festival’s classes, demonstrations and special activities are in the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge, the city’s 232,000-square-foot events facility.

In addition to the classes, many people visit A Mountain Quiltfest to get appraisals of quilts that are family heirlooms.

Candace St. Lawrence, an American Quilter’s Society certified appraiser, will appraise quilts on March 21, 23, 24 and 25 by appointment. (Make appointments by contacting Lana Bowes at 865-429-7350 or

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

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


Media Contact:

Trish McGee