Posts Tagged ‘Great Smoky Mountains National Park’

The Inn At Christmas Place Wins 2017 Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice Award

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee – January 26, 2017 The Inn at Christmas Place today announced it has been recognized for the fourth time as a Travelers’ Choice winner, in the best service category of the 2017 TripAdvisor Travelers’ ChoiceR awards for hotels.  In the 15th year of the awards, TripAdvisor has highlighted the world’s top properties based on the millions of reviews and opinions collected in a single year from travelers around the globe.  Winners were identified in the categories of Top Hotels, Luxury, Bargain, Small, Service, B&Bs and Inns, Romance, and Family.  The hallmarks of Travelers’ Choice hotels winners are remarkable service, value, and quality.

“I am so proud of the entire team at The Inn at Christmas Place!  It’s the guest experience that they create that makes us such an amazing place to visit, and which has earned us this reward for the fourth time!” says K-Kin Fairbank Biggs, managing partner.  “It’s such a beautiful testament to our focus of continuing to offer the absolute best service, and to the relationships we have built with our guests over time.  But, of course, without our guests choosing to share their great experiences with TripAdvisor, we wouldn’t have been considered – so we thank them for taking the time to give us those good reviews!”

Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, The Inn at Christmas Place has earned its status as America’s premier Christmas lodging destination.  With a year-round Christmas theme, guests come again and again to enjoy the warmth of the holiday spirit through beautiful decorations in every guest room and public space and the welcoming atmosphere created by a dedicated team of associates, as well as many special activities and events offered exclusively for guests.

“For the past 15 years, TripAdvisor has relied on the experiences and opinions of our travel community that has explored thousands of hotels around the world to determine these celebrated awards,” said Barbara Messing, chief marketing officer for TripAdvisor.  “Travelers planning their trips for 2017 can find inspiration for some of the best places to book from this diverse group of outstanding accommodations around the globe.”

To see the 2017 Travelers’ Choice U.S. Hotel winners for Best Service, visit

For reviews of The Inn at Christmas Place, visit

Travelers can also follow the conversation on Twitter at #travelerschoice and #2017TCwinners.

About TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor® is the world’s largest travel site, enabling travelers to unleash the potential of every trip. TripAdvisor offers advice from millions of travelers and a wide variety of travel choices and planning features with seamless links to booking tools that check hundreds of websites to find the best hotel prices.


Contact:     Janet Donaldson, Chief Marketing Officer, Christmas Place Properties;; 865-453-0415, ext. 114


Dollywood Becomes Hollywood On Tuesday, Nov. 22

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Monday, Oct. 31, 2016) —Dollywood becomes Hollywood on Tuesday, Nov. 22, complete with red carpet arrivals, media interviews and special viewing areas for guests, as Dolly Parton has invited the cast from her new NBC movie, Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love, to visit the park for the worldwide premiere.

Dollywood adds another operating day to its 2016 calendar to allow park guests the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see behind-the-scenes of a real Hollywood premiere. Dollywood opens from 2 -9 p.m. on this special day, providing a sneak peek at the festivities which include red carpet arrivals and more!

The premiere event begins at 5 p.m. with red carpet arrivals following. Parton and cast members of Christmas of Many Colors make their way down the red carpet along Dollywood’s Showstreet as media from across the country cover the action.

The Coca-Cola Refresh Team brings the Coca-Cola Polar Bear to make photos for guests in attendance. Coca-Cola also offers special holiday beverage samplings during the event.

Guests at the premiere also can enjoy Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana, the nine-time award winner for Best Christmas Event. Two new holiday shows and four million dazzling Christmas lights combine with the park’s award-winning rides, delectable holiday dishes and heart-warming Christmas atmosphere for a delightful yuletide experience.

Smoky Mountain Christmas guests can upgrade a paid one-day admission ticket to a regular 2017 season pass for as low as $27 (plus tax when buying four or more). Ticket purchasers receive credit for the value of a regular one-day ticket ($65) toward the purchase of a 2017 season pass. A season pass purchased during Smoky Mountain Christmas provides unlimited admission to this year’s Christmas festival along with Dollywood’s entire 2017 season. (A one-day ticket is valid for upgrade on the day of visit only.) Also, guests who purchase a Dollywood one-day ticket after 6 p.m. receive free admission to the park’s next operating day.

Please visit or call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD for more information, including operating days and hours, daily show schedule and more helpful tips to help plan a visit.


About The Dollywood Company:   A highly-awarded and widely-recognized leader in the amusement industry, The Dollywood Company consists of the 150-acre Dollywood theme park; the 35-acre Dollywood’s Splash Country; Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort; and Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins. As unique as its namesake and owner Dolly Parton, Dollywood is the 2010 Applause Award winner, the theme park industry’s highest accolade; winner of nearly 30 Golden Ticket Awards; and recipient of 25 Brass Ring Awards for Live Entertainment (more than any other theme park in the world). In 2014, Dollywood was named a top three US theme park by USA Today and TripAdvisor recognized Dollywood as a top 20 worldwide theme park in 2015. Dollywood is open nine months a year (late March through early January) and offers rides and attractions, shows, and a dozen crafters authentic to the East Tennessee region.  Dollywood’s Splash Country, recognized by the Travel Channel as one of the country’s most beautiful waterparks and named 2009’s Must-See Waterpark by the International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions, operates from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The 300-room Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort provides guests spectacular mountain views and family-friendly amenities next door to Dollywood theme park and Dollywood’s Splash Country. Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins offers luxurious cabin accommodations overlooking Dollywood. For more information, call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD or visit Operating days and hours vary.


Media Contacts:

Pete Owens: Director of Communications, (865) 428-9486, (865) 755-7972 or

Wes Ramey: Public Relations Manager, (865) 428-9484, (865) 640-3805 or

Amber Davis: Publicist, (865) 428-9601, (865) 591-1002 or

Ellen Liston, Publicist, (865) 428-9629, (865) 919-7001 or



Three Months of Ripken Experience: 363 Teams, 23 States, $6.7 Million

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (June 2016) – The first three months of youth baseball tournaments at the Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge have been everything the city expected – and perhaps more.

“Baseball lives on statistics, and the numbers coming out of the Ripken Experience are awesome. Visitor spending of $6.7 million in Pigeon Forge is simply wonderful,” said Eric Brackins, Pigeon Forge assistant city manager, who worked closely on development of the $22.5 million project.

Cal Ripken Jr., a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame and chairman and founder of Ripken Baseball, cut the ribbon on the six-field complex on March 9. The first tournament was March 12-13. Ripken Baseball has a 10-year contract to manage the facility.

Cal Ripken Jr. with young player

Cal Ripken Jr. with young player

From mid-March through the third week of June, there have been 11 tournaments that drew 363 teams from 23 states. The Alaska Quakes from Anchorage traveled the greatest distance to play on the fields that offer unobstructed views of the Great Smoky Mountains.

“The 363 teams and their followers, almost 18,000 people, benefit Pigeon Forge in many ways. They stay in our hotels, they dine in our restaurants and they have fun at our attractions and theaters,” Brackins said, noting that tournament scheduling gives them plenty of recreational time.

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

“We were confident Ripken Baseball could attract teams, and we were equally confident Pigeon Forge would appeal to the players’ families. We’re attracting new people to Pigeon Forge and the Smokies, and we know that new visitors are almost certain to return for future vacations,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism.

The Southeast, the Midwest and the Mid-Atlantic produced the greatest number of teams in the first three months. There were 144 teams from Tennessee, 43 from Georgia, 37 from North Carolina and 24 from Ohio.

In addition to Alaska, other distant states that produced teams included Wisconsin, Texas and Massachusetts.

A tournament with 44 teams from 16 states and Canada in the last days of June will push the team total to more than 400.

The Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge is on a ridge above Pigeon Forge. Each field borrows its design from well-known professional ballparks, 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”; Engle Stadium in Chattanooga, Tenn., a filming location for the “42” movie about Jackie Robinson; BB&T Ballpark in Winston-Salem, N.C.; and Isotopes Park in Albuquerque, N.M.

The Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge will host tournaments nine months out of the year and offer year-round branded events in its 14,000-square-foot clubhouse.

Visitor information about Pigeon Forge is available online at and toll-free at 800-251-9100.



Tom Adkinson




Pigeon Forge’s July 4 Patriot Festival To Feature Joe Diffie, Fireworks Spectacular

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (June 2016) – Grand Ole Opry member and Grammy Award winner Joe Diffie will rock Patriot Festival, Pigeon Forge’s annual blowout to celebrate July 4, immediately before a spectacular fireworks show brightens the sky over this Great Smoky Mountains resort city.

Activity begins at noon, and onstage entertainment begins at 1:30 p.m. for guests at Patriot Park.  Admission is free.

Joe Diffie

Joe Diffie

In addition to a variety of local entertainers, music will come from Emily Ann Roberts, who placed second on NBC’s “The Voice,” and Tribute, a celebration of the Allman Brothers Band.

Patriot Festival guests will recognize Diffie’s songs that will come from his 20 Top 10 hits and his 13 albums. Count on sing-alongs to “John Deere Green,” “ Prop Me Up Beside the Jukebox” and “If the Devil Danced (in Empty Pockets).”

Food and family games are part of the day’s activities, and guests are welcome to bring lawn chairs and blankets. Free parking will be at Patriot Park and the city’s Teaster Lane parking lot. A free shuttle will run from the Teaster Lane lot.

Fireworks will begin at approximately 9:30 p.m., and WIVK-FM in Knoxville will simulcast the fireworks show’s patriotic soundtrack.

Patriot Festival in Patriot Park, Pigeon Forge

Patriot Festival in Patriot Park, Pigeon Forge



Tom Adkinson, APR






Great Smoky Mountains National Park Hosts ‘Music in the American Wild’ Events

Great Smoky Mountains National Park invites the public to celebrate the National Park Service Centennial with Music in the American Wild for two live performances of music from eleven composers and seven performers, all affiliated with Eastman School of Music in upstate New York. The group is traveling to various National Parks in the country and will play two concerts in the park on June 14 and June 15.BearAmerican Wild

On June 14, the performance will be at Purchase Knob near Maggie Valley, N.C., at 6 p.m. Parking is limited, so reservations are required at

On June 15, the performance will be at the Cades Cove Amphitheater at 7 p.m. and does not require a reservation. Both programs are free. These concerts are the premiere of music being played in the places that inspired the compositions. The seven performers play flute, clarinet, horn, violin, viola, cello and percussion.

“We are excited to celebrate the NPS Centennial with Music in the American Wild,” said Park Superintendent Cassius Cash. “National Parks have inspired many artists over their 100 year history, and listening to original compositions inspired by places like Great Smoky Mountains National Park surrounded by natural beauty is a unique opportunity.”

Music in the American Wild is part of the Imagine Your Parks grant initiative from the National Endowment for the Arts created in partnership with the National Park Service to support projects that use the arts to engage people with memorable places and landscapes of the National Park System. More information about the project is at




Dana Soehn,, 865-436-1207

Jamie Sanders,, 865-436-1203


Outdoor Gravity Park Earns 2016 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (May 2016) — Outdoor Gravity Park received a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence. Now in its sixth year, the achievement celebrates hospitality businesses that have earned great traveler reviews on TripAdvisor over the past year. Certificate of Excellence recipients include accommodations, eateries and attractions located all over the world that have continually delivered a quality customer experience.

“With the Certificate of Excellence, TripAdvisor honors hospitality businesses that have consistently received strong praise and ratings from travelers,” said Heather Leisman, Vice President of Industry Marketing, TripAdvisor. “This recognition helps travelers identify and book properties that regularly deliver great service. TripAdvisor is proud to play this integral role in helping travelers feel more confident in their booking decisions.”B13-Zorb-Smoky-Mountains

Recently the Outdoor Gravity Park opened a fourth track dubbed The FUNnel which allows two to three riders to splash and zig-zag down a 1,000-foot hill. It is the only park in the world that can boast of such a unique attraction, allowing Outdoor Gravity Park to cater to an even larger audience than before, and promises to be a summer hit. With the new TripAdvisor certificate of excellence in hand, the attraction is sure to be a staple in Pigeon Forge for years to come.

Contact:  Amanda Breeden,

About Outdoor Gravity Park

The Outdoor Gravity Park is home to the iconic New Zealand adventures, OGO.  The OGO is straight from New Zealand, this facility’s most famous attraction is zorbing. The ball is 11 feet high, 11 feet fat, and bouncy and sits perched at the top of a 1,000-foot hill. In a moment, you will go rolling towards the bottom, slip and sliding, no tumbling—but only after a couple of things happen. First, one to three people dive into the sphere’s belly. Then, some of the park’s attendants toss ten gallons of water into this signature attraction, and finally close the door. The water makes for a slippery ride, though one without tumbling–your fast and adrenaline-packed descent down our 1000-foot hill is more akin to a bouncy water slide or a rolling Jacuzzi.  Bring your swimsuit and towel and come join us as we are open rain or shine.

About TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor is the world’s largest travel site**, enabling travelers to plan and book the perfect trip. TripAdvisor offers advice from millions of travelers and a wide variety of travel choices and planning features with seamless links to booking tools that check hundreds of websites to find the best hotel prices. TripAdvisor branded sites make up the largest travel community in the world, reaching 340 million unique monthly visitors***, and 350 million reviews and opinions covering 6.5 million accommodations, restaurants and attractions. The sites operate in 48 markets worldwide.

TripAdvisor, Inc. (NASDAQ:TRIP), through its subsidiaries, manages and operates websites under 24 other travel media brands:,,,,,, (including,,, and,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, and

**Source: comScore Media Metrix for TripAdvisor Sites, worldwide, February 2016

***Source: TripAdvisor log files, Q1 2016



Lucky Winners To Get Exclusive Concert from Maddie & Tae in Pigeon Forge

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (May 20, 2016) – The duo of Maddie & Tae is one of country music’s hot new acts, and the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism has booked the two highly declarative singers for a exclusive concert on July 31.

The audience will be limited to approximately 100 winners of the no-cost-to-enter Maddie & Tae Pigeon Forge Getaway sweepstakes that concludes May 31. To enter, visit

Maddie & Tae

Maddie & Tae

Maddie Marlow and Tae Dye brought their distinctive styles from Sugar Land, Texas, and Ada, Oklahoma, to Nashville in 2014 and scored immediate hits on their first album, “Start Here,” released in August 2015. The Academy of Country Music named them the 2015 Vocal Duo of the Year.

“Girl In A Country Song” got instant acknowledgement from NPR, Rolling Stone and David Letterman, and songs such as “Shut Up and Fish,” “Fly” and “Sierra” are securing new fans for Maddie & Tae.

“The music of Maddie & Tae is a treat, and the singers themselves are wonderful people. We wanted to present them to an appreciative and intimate audience, and we hope our contest winners become fans of Maddie & Tae and of Pigeon Forge,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism.

In addition to the concert, winners will meet Maddie & Tae and will receive a three-night Pigeon Forge vacation that includes admission to Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country, admission to almost two dozen other Pigeon Forge attractions, and $500 for travel expenses.

Pigeon Forge, a gateway to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, is one of America’s top family vacation destinations. Each year, more than 10 million people visit Pigeon Forge.

Information about all aspects of Pigeon Forge is available online at or by calling 800-251-9100.




Tom Adkinson, APR


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

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

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

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

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

You can learn about bears and trout, hone your nature photography skills, join a celebration of gospel singing, discover your artistic side, and even meet President Franklin Roosevelt – all for free. There are more than 250 programs at the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge plus 40 hikes, field trips and excursions into the national park and surrounding areas.

Event manager Butch Helton said 2016 is special because this is the centennial year of the National Park Service, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the system’s most visited park. More than 10 million guests visit the 800-square-mile park every year

“We’re going to do our part to help more people understand and be active in our treasured neighbor,” Helton said.

President Roosevelt appears courtesy of actor Gary Stamm. Stamm’s keynote program on May 18, “A Fireside Chat with FDR: Celebrating a Century of the National Park Service,” will recall Roosevelt’s dedication of Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 1940.

An array of programs fills all five days. Among the topics:

  • 900 Miles and Then Some: A Hiking Journal
  • Logging Railroads of the Smokies
  • Waterfalls of the Southern Appalachians
  • Turn Your Photography into Art
  • Recording the Smokies: An Audio Journal
  • Leave No Trace: Principles of Outdoor Ethics
  • Fly Fishing the Smokies
  • Bears in the Back Seat
  • Painting the Smokies
  • Moonshine: The Past, Present and Future
  • A Miller’s Life (about the historic Old Mill in Pigeon Forge)
  • Birds of Prey Live Bird Show
  • The Art of Dowsing: Do You Have the Gift?
  • Gospel Music of the Smokies

Experts in numerous fields donate their time to deliver programs. Among them are current and retired National Park Service rangers, wildlife experts, artists, local historians and musicians.

In addition to FDR, evening programs include “Heaven and Nature Sing,” a presentation from Wilderness Wildlife Week creator Ken Jenkins; Dr. Bill Bass about the University of Tennessee’s famous “Body Farm”; and “Tales From Lost,” recollections from retired backcountry ranger Dwight McCarter about searches for people lost in the wilderness.

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

On May 21, the first Appalachian Homecoming is planned at Patriot Park. This is a celebration of music, storytelling, children’s games and antique tractors. The Cades Cove Preservation Association will have a fundraising picnic, capped at 200 dinners, in conjunction with the event.

Wilderness Wildlife Week attracts people from throughout the U.S.  A voluntary sign-up sheet in 2015 identified visitors from 28 states. The most distant were from Alaska, California, New York and Wyoming.

Information about all aspects of visiting Pigeon Forge is online at and by calling 800-251-9100.



Tom Adkinson, APR



Opening Date for Dolly Parton’s Lumberjack Adventure Announced

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (May 13, 2016) – Dolly Parton’s Lumberjack Adventure, one of the most anticipated new dinner attractions to come to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, in recent memory, is slated to open to eager guests on Friday, May 20. Lumberjack Adventure represents a $25 million investment by Parton to create an all-new dinner theater unlike anything Pigeon Forge has seen before.

“I can promise you’ve never seen another show like this in town before,” Parton said. “I’ve truly enjoyed creating this Smoky Mountain story for families to enjoy while they are here in Pigeon Forge. There are completely new experiences for guests at this show and I can’t wait to hear what they think of the finished product.”

Parton serves as Executive Producer of the show and wrote the romantic song, “Something More,” which helps tell the story of this Smoky Mountain-themed adventure. During the show, astonished guests will marvel at the skill of world-class entertainers who thrill audiences with daring feats of acrobatic ability both in the sky and on stage. Numerous other performers display their tremendous talents through axe juggling, speed climbing and an assortment of unbelievable acts.

While the story was created in-house by her long-time collaborator Ken McCabe, Parton has assembled some of the best choreographers, set designers, lighting and sound consultants and composers in the world to create an experience never before seen in the Smokies. More than half of the total investment was allocated to make the extraordinary new show come to life for guests. A state-of-the-art sound system, lighting and special effects help immerse the audience in what is a completely new experience.

The existing building on the site was gutted and coupled with new construction to fulfill the vision of this spectacular new show. Renovations to the theater include new ticketing and arrival experiences; a space for pre-show entertainment; a distinctive animated stage and set; state-of-the-art sound, lighting and aerial rigging; and a completely new kitchen for the scrumptious lumberjack feast.

The lumberjack feast, also recently announced, treats guests to tantalizing tastes inspired by the campfire cuisine of a fun-filled sawmill logging camp. The meal begins with creamy timber slaw and a buttery, homemade lumberjack biscuit followed by campfire fried chicken, smokehouse pulled pork, homestyle smashed taters, sawmill gravy and fried skillet corn. The meal concludes with Lumberjack Adventure’s own specialty dessert. Unlimited Pepsi, tea and coffee also are part of the meal.

Lumberjack Adventure celebrates the spirit of the Appalachian people who lived off the land in logging and milling towns that dotted the map throughout the region. Guests will enjoy an exciting and imaginative adventure complete with hearty lumberjack feast. The new show is sure to provide families with even more opportunities to make lasting memories when they visit the Great Smoky Mountains.

For more information, visit


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

Media Contacts:

Pete Owens: (865) 428-9486, (865) 755-7972 or

Wes Ramey: (865) 428-9484, (865) 640-3805 or

Steve Cruz: (865) 774-8136, (865) 410-0591 or



Dolly’s Homecoming Parade To Be Streamed Live on Facebook – Direct from Dolly’s Float

PIGEON FORGE, Tennessee (April 27, 2016) – Dolly’s Homecoming Parade, Pigeon Forge’s annual salute to hometown superstar Dolly Parton, regularly attracts tens of thousands of spectators, but this year’s potential audience could be exponentially larger because it will be one of the first live stream feeds presented on Facebook.

Facebook launched live video streaming earlier this month, and this event will feature one of the world’s most recognized personalities.

Dolly Parade flagsDolly will lead the parade atop a float themed for her new theater in Pigeon Forge, Dolly Parton’s Lumberjack Adventure Dinner & Show, and the live stream will chronicle the entire event.

The parade steps off at 6 p.m. on May 6 (Friday) on a route that covers three miles of the famous Parkway through the heart of Pigeon Forge. The live stream will be from  Dolly’s float and will show Dolly, the crowds along the Parkway, and views of the city and the surrounding Great Smoky Mountains.

This will be the 31st presentation of Dolly’s Homecoming Parade and the first time it will be streamed live on the Internet.

The stream will be on the Facebook page of Dolly Parton’s Lumberjack Adventure Dinner & Show. Streaming information is at and

Every year, the parade adds a Norman Rockwell atmosphere to Pigeon Forge, a gateway city to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It features high school marching bands, equestrian units, veterans’ groups, twirlers, antique tractors and much more. There are 125 groups in the 2016 parade

This year’s high school bands are from Sevier County High School (Dolly was a member in her high school days), Pigeon Forge High School, Fyffe High School from Fyffe, Alabama, and Cheatham County Central High School from Ashland City, Tennessee.

Complete Pigeon Forge visitor information is available online at and by calling 800-251-9100.



Tom Adkinson, APR