Posts Tagged ‘family vacation’

Festival of Nations Kicks Off Dollywood’s Biggest Season Ever

PIGEON FORGE, Tennessee (March 15, 2019)-Dollywood’s thrilling 2019 season begins with one of the park’s greatest Festival of Nations lineups ever! The event, which runs now-April 14, features exhilarating new headline shows, the return of the Passport to Foods and special cooking demonstrations, including opportunities to see world-renowned Chef Pepin whip up his favorite dishes.

Guests can experience the spirit of the Smokies at Dollywood while also taking a trip around the globe thanks to authentic glimpses into a number of fascinating cultures. It’s a vibrant and exciting way to celebrate spring break!

Guests can start their globetrotting adventure by enjoying the great new headline shows visiting this season. Lizt Alfonso Dance Cuba is a fusion dance and music company that mixes Hispanic and Caribbean cultures into each performance. Considered to include some of the best performers from Cuba, the group has been together for more than 25 years and has entertained on five continents. Lizt Alfonso Dance Cuba can be found in DP’s Celebrity Theater.

Billed as the first interactive drum-theater experience, Drumstruck leaves families laughing and creating memories to remember for years to come. As guests enter Showstreet Palace Theater, they will find drums placed in each seat throughout the venue. Members of the audience use these drums to become part of the performance. This high-energy production weaves South African music and culture with West African rhythms.

Guests also can let their taste buds travel the world thanks to the new Passport to Food. This expanded international menu lets guests enjoy savory and sweet delights from a number of countries, including grilled beef skewers from Trinidad, poutine and fried cheese curds from Canada, and beef bulgogi nachos over wonton chips from South Korea. A number of refreshing drinks also are available and serve as the perfect complement to the delectable dishes available as part of the passport. A wide range of international pastries and desserts tempt those with a sweet tooth.

Chef Pepin, a well-known celebrity chef from Cuba, hosts several cooking demonstrations during the opening weekend of the festival, while additional chefs share their secrets each subsequent weekend during Festival of Nations. Cooking demonstrations currently are scheduled to take place each Saturday and Sunday at noon and 2 p.m. in Dollywood’s Market Square area.

Dollywood’s 2019 Festival of Nations lineup also includes the following shows and acts:

Invaders Steel Orchestra- One of the world’s oldest and most respected steel drum bands, Invaders Steel Orchestra celebrates more than 75 years of creating festive music for audiences around the world. This guest-favorite group returns to Dollywood to bring the tropical sounds of the Caribbean to the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. While the songs they play are familiar, the unique sounds of Invaders Steel Orchestra’s drums will transport guests to a sandy beach far away.  Location: The Valley Theater (Performing March 20-April 14)

Atahualpa – Hailing from Ecuador, Atahualpa combines native Incan instruments with contemporary backups to celebrate the history and culture of the Andes Mountains. Atahualpa’s mix of songs includes contemporary music, South American dance rhythms, and the traditional music of the Andes. Through their sharing of music, culture and heritage, Atahualpa hopes to promote brotherhood, friendship and peace to all the people of the world. Location: Showstreet Gazebo

De Temps Antan- Traveling from Quebec, Canada, De Temps Antan explores and performs the time-honored melodies from Quebec’s musical past. This talented trio combines contemporary music, uncontrolled laughter, deep-routed couplets and sudden, impromptu shifts for memorable songs that speak to the familiar rhythms of yesteryear. Location: Back Porch Theater (Performing March 16- 24)

Les Grands Hurleurs- Les Grands Hurleurs of Quebec, Canada has pushed boundaries and incorporate a variety of musical influences for their own special sound. Paying respect to their traditional roots while creating original music, this trio flirts with classical, Manouche, electronica and folk music for shows that bring audiences alive. Prepare to experience a musical journey with groovy, energetic and swing styles. Location: Back Porch Theater (Performing March 27- April 14)

GoGaucho Duo- GoGaucho Duo is an exciting, fast-paced show which blends the traditional folk dancing of Argentina with the thrill of modern showmanship. This duo wows audiences with unique and entertaining dances, music and the mesmerizing skills of champion boleadoras dancers. Location: The Valley Theater (Performing March 16-18)

Dollywood’s Festival of Nations begins what is to become the park’s biggest season ever. The largest expansion in the park’s history, Wildwood Grove, opens this spring to provide families with thrilling new experiences and attractions for guests to explore together. Summer kicks off with Dollywood’s Barbeque & Bluegrass (May 24- June 2), while the park’s Summer Celebration (June 22- Aug. 4) features later hours and the first chance to experience the wonder of Wildwood Grove at night. Dollywood’s Harvest Festival presented by Humana (Sept. 27-Nov. 2) features Southern gospel’s greatest performers alongside the guest-favorite Great Pumpkin LumiNights. Dollywood’s 2019 season concludes with the 11-time winner for Best Theme Park Christmas Event, Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana, Nov. 9-Jan. 4, 2020.

If there has ever been a year to take advantage of the value of a Dollywood season pass, this is it. With the opening of Wildwood Grove and a vast amount of entertainment and festivals (all included with park admission) available throughout the season, guests certainly will want to make several return visits in 2019.

Guests can learn more about Dollywood’s biggest season ever by visiting www.dollywood.com or calling 1-800-DOLLYWOOD.

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The Island in Pigeon Forge Announces Plans for New Flying Theater Ride

PIGEON FORGE, Tennessee  (Feb. 18, 2019)— The Island in Pigeon Forge, recently named the country’s sixth best amusement park by TripAdvisor, will soon soar to new heights with the addition of a world class flying theater experience.

The $20 million investment will combine a state-of-the-art ride system and a custom film featuring some of the nation’s most beautiful natural wonders and iconic landmarks. Riders will experience the movements, sounds, scents, and mists of a breathtaking aerial adventure across the United States.

“We are very excited to bring another premier attraction to The Island in Pigeon Forge,” said President Bob McManus. “This flying theater will truly be a one-of-a-kind, immersive entertainment experience.  From The Island, guests will be transported to places that they otherwise may never have the opportunity to see, and experience the beauty of America in a unique and unforgettable way.”

The Island selected the flying theater from industry-leader Dynamic Attractions, who has built some of the most popular rides in the world for theme park leaders including Disney and Universal Studios.

The Island in Pigeon Forge is a 23-acre eat, shop, play, and stay entertainment destination offering affordable fun for families, night and day, with free parking and free admission. The Island is a must-see tourist destination in the region, located in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which draws over 11 million annual visitors.

The new flying theater will be located adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel, a 200-foot observation wheel, and The Island’s multi-million dollar show fountain. The Island also provides the area’s newest shopping options with over 250,000 square feet of retail space, unique dining experiences including Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen, and on-site lodging at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Island Hotel and Margaritaville Island Inn.

The new flying theater attraction is in the final stages of planning and is expected to open in early 2020.  For more information about The Island in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, visit islandinpigeonforge.com or call 865-286-0119.

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Media Contact: Caitlin Gouge, caitlin@islandinpigeonforge.com      

 

17-Year-Old Singer/Songwriter Named Pigeon Forge Path to Fame Talent Competition Grand Champion

Springfield, Tennessee’s Brenna Beatty will begin a 12-month career development program with Nashville-based talent executive as well as perform at Pigeon Forge theaters.

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (June 18, 2018) — A 17-year-old singer/songwriter from Springfield, Tennessee, was named grand champion of the Pigeon Forge Path to Fame Talent Competition on Saturday (June 16) at the Smoky Mountain Opry. Brenna Beatty was selected from 12 contestants all vying for the title.

Beatty will spend the next year working with John Alexander on career development. Alexander was instrumental in the careers of Patty Loveless and platinum-selling country star Kelsea Ballerini. Alexander, who was one of four judges for the finals, will work with Beatty, a prolific songwriter, and establish instrumental industry meetings with top executives, songwriters and more.

Approximately 450 contestants registered to compete in the Pigeon Forge Path to Fame. A three-month auditions tour visited Cincinnati, Nashville and Atlanta and produced four finalists from each city, all of whom competed in Saturday’s finals. Contestants competed for a grand prize package that includes a 12-month career mentorship with Alexander and a consultation with Ballerini.

Beatty has written over 500 songs in the last six years. She taught herself to play piano and learned how to play guitar using YouTube videos at just 11 years old. Born into a musical family, Beatty’s father was lead singer of a band for most of her life. She and her younger siblings are all following in his footsteps. Beatty has been homeschooled since the fifth grade which gave her the flexibility to focus on her songwriting craft and musicianship.

The singer/songwriter started performing in her parents’ bar in Oregon until the adventure-seeking family packed it all up in a fifth wheel trailer and moved across the country so Beatty could be closer to Music City to further her career. Beatty constantly seeks opportunities to develop her songwriting skills. In addition to seeking mentors and playing as many gigs as she can in Nashville, Tenn., she has participated in the Use Your Gift Foundation where she recorded a five-song EP. Founded by Firefall drummer Sandy Ficca, Use Your Gift provides mentoring to aspiring performing artists. She has opened for Nashville local Meghan Linsey in addition to Trick Pony, Dylan Scott and more.

Each contestant performed in front of a live audience and a diverse panel of judges. Alexander was joined by Michael Headla, general manager, producer and director of the Smoky Mountain Opry, Jeff Taylor, general manager of Country Tonite Theatre; and Kyle Grainger, WVLT-Knoxville reporter.

“There was a lot of incredible talent on stage at the final competition. Brenna’s songwriting is on par with successful musicians today,” said Alexander. “When the music industry meets her, they will see the same ‘it’ factor we saw radiating from her at the auditions and in Pigeon Forge.”

Beatty will return to Pigeon Forge to perform at a number of the theaters along the Parkway, receive media training, headshots, studio time and a shopping spree.

The top three finalists included the duo, Ashley Tragler and Christian Simcox from Bristol, Tenn., and Taylor Deaton from Springboro, Ohio. Deaton won in more than one way when her boyfriend, Zack Fogelman, proposed on stage during the final competition.

Pigeon Forge is a family-friendly vacation destination with over 80 attractions including award-winning entertainment. Janelle Arthur, Craig Morgan and Carly Pearce all got their start in Pigeon Forge. The city embarked on a three-city tour to discover new talent that could entertain Pigeon Forge audiences.

For more information about the Path to Fame Talent Competition, visit www.PFFame.com. For more information about Pigeon Forge, visit www.MyPigeonForge.com.

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Media Contact:
Jess Pangrazio
jpangrazio@bohanideas.com
615-327-1189 ext. 350

Springboro Vocalist Taylor Deaton Lands in Final Three of Pigeon Forge Path to Fame Talent Competition on June 16

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (June 18, 2018) — Pigeon Forge Path to Fame Talent Competition hosted its final round at Smoky Mountain Opry on Saturday, June 16, where 12 contestants performed. Taylor Deaton, from Springboro, Ohio, advanced to the top three.

Deaton showcased her powerful vocals on a rendition of Kelly Clarkson’s “Piece by Piece.” She returned to the stage to perform “I’m The Only One” by Melissa Etheridge in the final round. View performance here.

While Deaton didn’t claim the competition’s grand prize, she did gain a fiancé in Pigeon Forge. Surprising her on stage, Deaton’s boyfriend, Zack Fogelman, also from Springboro, proposed and the couple is now engaged.

“I’m a busy mom of three and a full-time cosmetology student, but music is my passion,” said Deaton. “I’m most excited about the opportunity that this competition presents.”

“It takes such strength to get out on stage and do what these contestants did today,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism. “We are fortunate to have a robust theater community in Pigeon Forge and we are thrilled to be able to give this opportunity to performers looking to advance their careers.”

Each contestant performed in front of a live audience and a diverse panel of judges: John Alexander, Nashville-based talent executive; Michael Headla, general manager, producer and director of Smoky Mountain Opry; Jeff Taylor, general manager for Country Tonite Theatre; and Kyle Grainger, WVLT reporter.

The top three finalists include the duo, Ashley Tragler and Christian Simcox from Bristol, Tenn., and grand champion Brenna Beatty from Springfield, Tenn.

Pigeon Forge is a family-friendly vacation destination with over 80 attractions including award-winning entertainment. Janelle Arthur, Craig Morgan and Carly Pearce all got their start in Pigeon Forge. The city embarked on a three-city tour to discover new talent that could entertain Pigeon Forge audiences.

For more information about the Path to Fame Talent Competition, visit www.PFFame.com. For more information about Pigeon Forge, visit www.MyPigeonForge.com.

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Link to photos and b-roll of PathToFameFinals.

Media Contact:
Jess Pangrazio
jpangrazio@bohanideas.com
615-327-1189 ext. 350

Bristol Duo Lands in Final Three of Pigeon Forge Path to Fame Talent Competition on June 16

Cross-state drive to first audition proves a wise decision for Ashley Tragler and Christian Simcox.

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (June 18, 2018) — Pigeon Forge Path to Fame Talent Competition hosted its final round at Smoky Mountain Opry on Saturday, June 16, where 12 contestants performed. Ashley Tragler and Christian Simcox, from Bristol, Tenn., advanced to the top three.

19-year-old Tragler and 21-year-old Simcox are a duo on stage and in life. The couple performed “Poison and Wine” by The Civil Wars and won over the judges with their harmonies and Simcox’s impressive guitar skills. Tragler and Simcox left Bristol, Tenn. at 3 a.m. to audition in Nashville, Tenn. on April 21. View performance here.

“Even if we didn’t make it at the auditions, even if we didn’t place in the top three, we just love playing music. That’s why we are here,” said Simcox.

“It takes such strength to get out on stage and do what these contestants did today,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism. “We are fortunate to have a robust theater community in Pigeon Forge and we are thrilled to be able to give this opportunity to performers looking to advance their careers.”

Approximately 450 contestants registered to compete in the Pigeon Forge Path to Fame. A three-month auditions tour visited Cincinnati, Nashville and Atlanta and produced four finalists from each city, all of whom competed in Saturday’s finals. Contestants competed for a grand prize package that includes a 12-month career mentorship with a Nashville-based entertainment executive and a consultation with performer Kelsea Ballerini.

Each contestant performed in front of a live audience and a diverse panel of judges: John Alexander, Nashville-based talent executive, Michael Headla, general manager, producer and director of Smoky Mountain Opry, Jeff Taylor, general manager for Country Tonite Theatre; and Kyle Grainger, WVLT reporter.

 

The top three finalists include Taylor Deaton from Springboro, Ohio, and grand champion Brenna Beatty from Springfield, Tenn.

Pigeon Forge is a family-friendly vacation destination with over 80 attractions including award-winning entertainment. Janelle Arthur, Craig Morgan and Carly Pearce all got their start in Pigeon Forge. The city embarked on a three-city tour to discover new talent that could entertain Pigeon Forge audiences.

For more information about the Path to Fame Talent Competition, visit www.PFFame.com. For more information about Pigeon Forge, visit www.MyPigeonForge.com.

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Link to photos and b-roll of PathToFameFinals.

Media Contact:
Jess Pangrazio
jpangrazio@bohanideas.com
615-327-1189 ext. 350

Army Veteran, Country Music Hitmaker Craig Morgan Headlines Pigeon Forge’s July Fourth Patriot Festival

The all-American celebration will conclude with an elaborate fireworks display.

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (May 21, 2018) – Craig Morgan, United States Army veteran and Grand Ole Opry member, is set to headline the 28th annual Patriot Festival, Pigeon Forge’s Independence Day celebration. Morgan takes the stage immediately before an elaborate fireworks display lights up the night sky with the Great Smoky Mountains as a backdrop.

“We look forward to the Patriot Festival all year long here in Pigeon Forge,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism. “This year feels extra special with Army veteran and Grand Ole Opry member Craig Morgan capping off a day of great music and ushering in spectacular fireworks to celebrate Independence Day.”

This free festival will take place in Pigeon Forge’s Patriot Park; festivities begin at noon. Food vendors and a kids’ carnival will be available for guests to enjoy. Onstage entertainment starts at 1:30 p.m. and will continue into the night.  The fireworks display will begin at approximately 9:45 p.m.

In addition to a variety of local entertainers, the band Electric Avenue, an eighties pop tribute band, also performs. Electric Avenue has been invited to share stages around the world by Pat Benatar, Kid Rock, Jimmy Kimmel and more.  The authentic eighties group performs hit songs from decade favorites such as Tears for Fears, Wham!, David Bowie and Prince, just to name a few.

Patriot Festival guests will recognize Morgan’s six-week #1 hit “That’s What I Love About Sunday” and signature hits including “Bonfire,” “Almost Home” and “Redneck Yacht Club.”  The multi-talented entertainer hosts the award-winning television show “Craig Morgan: All Access Outdoors,” currently in its sixth season on Outdoor Channel. Morgan previously spent 17 years serving in the Army and Army Reserves.

Patriot Festival guests are welcome to bring lawn chairs and blankets. Umbrellas, tents, and coolers will not be permitted. Free parking will be provided at the Teaster Lane Municipal parking lot, and a free shuttle will operate every 20 minutes between the lot and festival site.

Additional information regarding the festival and Pigeon Forge can be found at MyPigeonForge.com or by calling 800-251-9100.

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Craig Morgan photo available for download here.

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 MyPigeonForge.com or toll-free at 1-800-251-9100.

Media Contact:
Trish McGee
tmcgee@bohanideas.com
615-327-1189

 

5 Infamous Killers’ Artifacts on Display at Alcatraz East Crime Museum

Alcatraz East Crime Museum offers visitors a rare glimpse at artifacts once owned by infamous killers

PIGEON FORGE, Tennessee (March 22, 2018) – We live in a society where there is a strong fascination of crime, this is apparent by its prevalence in pop-culture. The subject of crime and serial killers is often the topic of books, TV shows and movies. In fact, Zac Efron will be transforming himself into Ted Bundy in Hollywood’s upcoming movie “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile.” And Disney Channel’s Ross Lynch plays the role of Jeffrey Dahmer in “My Friend Dahmer.” There is a strange curiosity that propels us to learn more about who these people are and how they can do such horrible things. Those who want to learn more about some of the most infamous killers in America should plan a visit to Alcatraz East Crime Museum.

“We have many artifacts on display that are connected to infamous killers in the country,” states Janine Vaccarello, chief operating officer for Alcatraz East. “Like any piece of history, we hope that the stories throughout this museum create conversations. We want the victims to never be forgotten, we want law enforcement to be honored- while bringing awareness to the crime itself, which might prevent other crimes from occurring.”

Visitors of Alcatraz East Crime Museum can expect to see many crime-related artifacts on display and learn about ways to help prevent crime. Here are 5 infamous killers’ artifacts that are on display at the museum:

1. Charles Manson Guitar & Beach Boys single “Never Learn Not to Love” – This guitar was recently added to the museum’s collections. It was taken into custody in Inyo County California, during a raid on the Barker Ranch when Charles Manson was also arrested. In 1969, the song “Never Learn Not to Love” appeared as a Beach Boys single, and later on an album, credited to Dennis Wilson, although Manson had originated the song under the name “Cease to Exist.”

2. Ted Bundy’s 1968 Volkswagen Beetle – The Beetle that was integral in both of his murders and conviction, containing important DNA evidence, is on display for visitors to view.

3. John Wayne Gacy’s clown suits- “Pogo” and “Patches” – The serial killer was arrested in 1978. He had confessed to killing 30 people. Despite him being a serial killer, he would dress up in clown suits to entertain children.

4. Judy Buenoano’s last photograph and prison blanket – Convicted of murdering her husband and son, she was also suspected in several other deaths. Her last known photograph and prison blanket are both on display at the museum.

5. Jeffrey Dahmer’s handcuffs– An American serial killer, he was convicted of the murder of 17 males, which included rape, dismemberment, and cannibalism. His handcuffs are on display at the museum for visitors to view.

The museum also recently added new exhibits and artifacts, with there being something for everyone. Their new interactive exhibits give people the ability to test their pirate skills at tying knots, give people the ability to share their own 9/11 experiences, and give them the chance to offer a thank you message to law enforcement departments around the nation. One of the most popular items on display at the museum is the O.J. Simpson white Bronco from the infamous police chase that unfolded on television before millions of viewers.

The museum continues to add to their collection monthly and has a star-studded panel of experts who make up the Advisory Board, including those in law enforcement, collectors, a medical examiner, crime scene investigators, and others. The board includes Jim Willett, a retired prison warden, Anthony Rivera, a combat veteran and Navy SEAL chief, and Judge Belvin Perry, Jr., who is best known for the Casey Anthony trial. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit: www.alcatrazeast.com.

About Alcatraz East

Alcatraz East is the most arresting crime museum in the United States. Guests of all ages can encounter a unique journey into the history of American crime, crime solving, and our justice system. Through interactive exhibits and original artifacts, Alcatraz East is an entertaining and educational experience for all ages – so much fun it’s a crime! This family attraction is located at the entrance of The Island, located at 2757 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN. General admission tickets are $14.95 for children, $24.95 for adults. Group ticket sales are available. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., with the last ticket sold 60 minutes before closing. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit: www.alcatrazeast.com.

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CONTACT:
Cher Murphy
571.263.2128

Christmas at The Smoky Mountain Opry bigger, brighter and bolder than ever!

Oct. 31, 2017 – “Christmas at the Smoky Mountain Opry™” Theater, will open on Nov. 1 and run through Jan. 6. The acclaimed “Don’t Miss Show” (Southern Living magazine), a fixture in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., for the past six years, is well known for its spectacular array of holiday festivities, music, comedy and dance.  The show is created by executive producers David Fee and Jim Hedrick, and produced and directed by Michael Headla.

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 Frosty the 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.

“’Christmas at the Smoky Mountain Opry’ is bigger, brighter and bolder than ever,” said David Fee, president and chief executive officer of Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment Group.  “We have created a stunning production that is full of enchantment and splendor with many new elements.  We have gorgeous new costumes, amazing choreography, incredible special effects and lavish sets.  Come share in the memories that your family will cherish for many years to come.

“We have a section of the show devoted to a Country Christmas this year,” Fee said.  “We have glitzy new costumes and themed stage sets. We also have Santa Claus and Santa’s elves who join the entire cast in Santa’s workshop where giant toys come to life. We have a breathtaking new ‘Winter Wonderland’ section and we ‘Let it Snow’ with snow falling softly in the theater, stunning new costumes and beautiful musical arrangements. And Frosty, the jolly happy soul, blows into the Smoky Mountain Opry Theater and comes to life for his signature song, ‘Frosty the Snowman’.

“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,” Fee said.”  “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.

“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.”

“Christmas at The Smoky Mountain Opry™” has 8 p.m. evening performances every night of the week and 3:30 p.m. matinees on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.  Tickets for the Christmas show are $56.95, plus tax for adults and children 11 and under are $24.95 plus tax.  Group rates are available for groups of 15 or more for the Christmas show.

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 $24.95 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.  “Christmas at the Smoky Mountain Opry™” will celebrate with a special New Year’s Eve Show on Dec. 31 at 9 p.m.

In addition to the producers, the creative team for “Christmas at the Smoky Mountain Opry” ™ consists of: Regina Laughlin, choreographer; Joel Bruce, production manager; Marshall Whaley, lighting designer; and Carol Culp, wardrobe supervisor.

Cast members for this year’s “Christmas at the Smoky Mountain Opry”™ show include vocalists:  Brittany Angello, Kara Bergman, Timothy Goins, Deanna Julian, Tim McManus, Jonathan Milner, Kelsey Rae Reinsfelder, and Hugh Warren.  Singer/Dancers include:  Matt George, Michael Bingham and Leigh Ellen Jones.  Dancers include: Abby Brinker, Summer Collins-Wright, Michael DeJesus, Victoria Gusa, Regina Laughlin, Mandy Mays, Cody Parisi, Luke Sanderford, Mowava Six, Desmond Smith, and David Tankersly.  Musicians include:  Keven Eknes, Mark Holbrook, Jeremy Phillips, Kelli Rae Tubbs, Jared Willson, and Kaleb Wright.

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”, The “Hatfield and McCoy Christmas Disaster Dinner Feud™” “The Smith Morning Christmas Show” starring Charlie Bob Smith and “Magic Beyond Belief™” starring Darren Romeo (which will reopen in March, 2018).

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Contact:  Deborah Fee Newsom

(865) 414-6887 (cell)

(865) 774-8877

Deborah@FeeHedrick.com

Alcatraz East Crime Museum’s Unabomber Exhibit Teaches Guests Technique That Led To Arrest

PIGEON FORGE, Tennessee (July 31, 2017) –The media buzz surrounding the new eight-part television series on the Discovery Channel, Manhunt: Unabomber, has led to renewed interest in the investigation that ended with the arrest of Theodore Kaczynski, known as the Unabomber. The ongoing fascination in this case is understandable considering the randomness of the targets and anonymous killings that left the public and law enforcement perplexed and apprehensive for years.  His bombs were untraceable and Kaczynski even planted clues to divert law enforcement in their investigation.

“Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, is one of our most popular exhibits at Alcatraz East,” states Janine Vaccarello, chief operating officer. “Knowing the details about what went into capturing criminals like Kaczynski helps us understand and appreciate the persistence of law enforcement to solve a case.”

Behind the headlines there are things that people today may not realize about the Ted Kaczynski, who remains in a high security prison in Colorado. He is extremely intelligent. In grade school, his IQ tests were so high that he was able to skip two grades. He was educated at Harvard University and received his PhD at the University of Michigan. In 1967, he was hired as an assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley, becoming the youngest professor they had hired.

The manhunt for the Unabomber is considered to be the FBI’s most expensive case to solve. Multiple agencies joined efforts to provide a total of 150 investigators, analysts, and others who worked on this case for 17 years. During that time, Kaczynski’s homemade bombs killed three people and injured 23.

Kaczynski’s ultimate capture came after the FBI, The New York Times and The Washington Post came together in agreement to publish the Unabomber’s manifesto. On September 19, 1995, The Washington Post printed the now famous 35,000 word essay where he explained his motives and views on the ills of modern society. The Unabomber’s writing style was recognized by family members, who, after investigating on their own, sadly realized that their findings had to be reported. In February 1996, the FBI was contacted by David Kaczynski, noting the similarities in the manifesto to the writings and philosophy of his older brother Ted. A linguistic analysis examined previous writings by Ted Kaczynski and determined that he was, in fact, the author of the manifesto, ultimately leading to his arrest. The critical technique used by investigators, called forensic linguistics, proved that the FBI had made the right decision to publish the manifesto.

A Unabomber exhibit can be seen at Alcatraz East Crime Museum, with items from his cabin, including his passport photos, a scale with Kaczynski’s handwritten calibration notes, which he used to calculate postage to mail his packages, and a Bible with his handwritten notes.

“This display shares with our visitors details about this case that aren’t as readily known. It also allows them to see the importance of the public working with law enforcement, and agencies pooling resources to solve crimes,” explains Janine Vaccarello, COO of the museum.

Today, the Unabomber is 75-years-old, and remains in ADX Florence, a prison located in Florence, Colorado, where he is serving eight life sentences with no possibility of parole. There, he is locked in his cell 23 hours per day.

Those interested in learning more about the case should be sure to tune in to the Discovery series on August 1, 2017.

Alcatraz East officially joined the ranks of fun and family friendly Sevier County options on December 16, 2016. The new crime museum is located at the entrance to The Island, at 2757 Parkway in Pigeon Forge, near the Margaritaville Hotel and Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen. Guests can also enjoy free parking available at The Island during their visit.

The museum has a star-studded panel of experts who make up the Advisory Board, including those in law enforcement, collectors, a medical examiner, crime scene investigators, and others. The board includes Jim Willett, a retired prison warden, Anthony Rivera, a combat veteran and Navy SEAL chief, and Judge Belvin Perry, Jr., who is best known for the Casey Anthony trial.

General admission tickets are $14.95 for children, $24.95 for adults. Group ticket sales are available. The museum is open daily from 10 am to 9 pm, with the last ticket sold 60 minutes before closing. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit: www.alcatrazeast.com.

About Alcatraz East

Alcatraz East is the most arresting crime museum in the United States. Guests of all ages can encounter a unique journey into the history of American crime, crime solving, and our justice system. Through interactive exhibits and original artifacts, Alcatraz East is an entertaining and educational experience for all ages – so much fun it’s a crime! This family attraction is located at the entrance of The Island, located at 2757 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN. For more information, visit www.alcatrazeast.com.

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CONTACT:

Cher Murphy

Cher@chermurphypr.com

571.263.2128

Sources:

FBI. The Unabomber. https://archives.fbi.gov/archives/news/stories/2008/april/unabomber_042408

NY Times. Unabomber’s kin collects reward… http://www.nytimes.com/1998/08/21/us/unabomber-s-kin-collect-reward-of-1-million-for-turning-him-in.html?mcubz=0

Washington Post. The Unambomber Trial: The Manifesto. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/longterm/unabomber/manifesto.text.htm

 

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 MyPigeonForge.com and toll-free at 800-251-9100. To learn more Ripken Baseball and for The Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge tournament schedule, visit RipkenBaseball.com.

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Media Contacts:

Trish McGee for the Pigeon Forge Dept. of Tourism

tmcgee@bohanideas.com

615-327-1189 ext. 327

 

Katy Ford for The Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge

katy@maroonpr.com

443-864-4246