Posts Tagged ‘Pigeon Forge’

Dollywood’s Aunt Granny’s Restaurant Recast with New Look, Menu Items

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Wednesday, March 21, 2018)— One of Dollywood’s best-known restaurants has been recast in 2018 with a little help from another iconic Tennessee brand, Lodge Manufacturing Company. Aunt Granny’s All-You-Care-To-Eat Buffet, which earned its name from the loving nickname Dolly Parton’s nieces and nephews have called her for years, receives a fresh look this season complete with new menu items which will have guests ready to pull a seat up to the table.

Now named Aunt Granny’s Restaurant presented by Lodge, the eatery features a number of changes designed to create a bright and airy space to serve as a comfortable respite for guests to slow down and enjoy a meal together. Interior renovations include action stations, like a new carving station, where guests can watch Dollywood chefs create a number of delightful delicacies.

“Dollywood is known for its quality southern food offerings, and a visit to the buffet at Aunt Granny’s certainly should be on the list for any foodie,” said Dollywood Vice-President Phil Bernard. “With our continuing focus on great food, we felt the time was right to recast the restaurant and add new menu items, while also keeping many of the old favorites.

“The opportunity to partner with Lodge, which is another iconic Tennessee brand, also made perfect sense. When you think of traditional southern foods like fried chicken, cornbread, or apple cobbler, you think of cast iron cookware. And when you think of cast iron cookware, there’s only one company that comes to mind—Lodge.”

The unique partnership with South Pittsburg, Tennessee-based Lodge brings a selection of the company’s famous cast iron cookware into the dining experience. The iconic cookware adorns displays throughout the restaurant, while food on the buffet line will be served from Lodge products.

“We are extremely excited about the collaboration between these two great Tennessee companies,” said Mike Otterman, President of Lodge Manufacturing Company. “We share company values, consumers, location and brand similarities that should allow us to grow together for many years.”

With more than 130 different items, Lodge Cast Iron produces the largest selection of cast iron cookware on the market, including skillets, griddles, grill pans, Dutch Ovens and restaurant serving pieces.

Founded by Joseph Lodge in 1896, Lodge is the oldest continuously operating cast iron cookware foundry in the U.S. The company is also the oldest family-owned cookware company in the country. Henry Lodge, CEO, and Lee Riddle, Vice President of Sales, are fourth and fifth generation descendants of Joseph Lodge.

Located in Dollywood’s Rivertown Junction, Aunt Granny’s was constructed in 1986 and opened during the park’s inaugural season. It has been a favorite spot for guests, as its all-you-can-eat format offers up a wide selection of the southern staples Dollywood’s foods team has cooked up for years.

Fresh off winning Amusement Today’s 2017 Golden Ticket Award for Best Theme Park Food, the foods team has refreshed the menu with a number of items that will surely become new guest favorites. Among those new offerings are Southwestern herb baked chicken, country chicken & dumplings, roasted red-skinned potatoes with cheddar cheese & bacon, corn puddin’, and much more. Stone Soup, inspired by Parton’s famous story about how her mother would use the classic fable to encourage her children when they might be discouraged, also finds its way on to the buffet. Those with a sweet tooth have plenty to select from including apple cobbler, various cupcakes, brownies and more.

For more information about Dollywood’s 2018 Season of Showstoppers, please visit www.dollywood.comor call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD.


About The Dollywood Company:   A highly-awarded and widely-recognized leader in the amusement industry, The Dollywood Company consists of the 150-acre Dollywood theme park; the 35-acre Dollywood’s Splash Country; Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa; and Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins. As unique as its namesake and owner Dolly Parton, Dollywood is the 2010 Applause Award winner, the theme park industry’s highest accolade; winner of more than 30 Golden Ticket Awards; and recipient of 26 Brass Ring Awards for Live Entertainment (more than any other theme park in the world). The park is located near Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which celebrated record attendance in 2017. Dollywood was named a top three US theme park by USA Today in 2014 and 2017, 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 crafters authentic to the East Tennessee region. Dollywood’s Splash Country, recognized by the Travel Channel and TripAdvisor as one of the country’s most beautiful water parks and named 2009’s Must-See Waterpark by the International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions, operates from mid-May to Labor Day. The 300-room Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa, which received the 2017 Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor, provides guests spectacular mountain views and family-friendly amenities next door to Dollywood theme park and Dollywood’s Splash Country. Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins offers luxurious cabin accommodations overlooking Dollywood. For more information, call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD or visit 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

For B-roll, photography and more information, visit the Dollywood Media Room at

Pigeon Forge Special Events Garner Recognition from Two Southeastern Organizations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Media Contact:

Trish McGee for the Pigeon Forge Dept. of Tourism

615-327-1189 ext. 327

About the Southeast Tourism Society (STS):

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


About the Southeast Festivals & Events Association (SFEA):

The Southeast Festivals & Events Association (SFEA) is a 501 (c) 6 membership-based organization comprised of festival and event planners, venues, and industry service providers. SFEA was founded in 2009 to strengthen the festival and event industry throughout the southeast United States by hosting educational sessions, networking opportunities, award recognition, and additional events throughout the year; thus, allowing for continued professional growth within the festivals and events industry. Membership is open to those in the festivals and events industry as well as those wanting to get their start and learn more about this exciting profession.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follow the Path to Fame Talent Competition at or

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


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

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

Can You Tie a Knot Like a Pirate? Alcatraz East Crime Museum Adds a New Pirate Interactive, Along With Several Other New Artifacts and Exhibits

Alcatraz East Crime Museum offers new hands-on experiences and one-of-a-kind historical artifacts throughout

PIGEON FORGE, Tennessee (March 6, 2018) – Crime enthusiasts, news buffs, and history lovers will enjoy the new additions to Alcatraz East Crime Museum beginning this spring. The area’s newest attraction intrigues visitors 365 days a year on what’s considered America’s favorite subject. In order to attract Pigeon Forge’s repeat visitors, the museum rotates items from its collection annually. This year, Alcatraz East has added interactive exhibits as well as new artifacts. The additions give visitors a chance to share their stories and test their skills, while the new artifacts expand exhibits on Jesse James, Charles Manson, and kidnapping victim Jaycee Dugard.

“We have already experienced that visitors to this area come several times throughout the year, and we want to make sure they keep coming back to see us as well,” states Janine Vaccarello, chief operating officer. “We are happy to offer a place where visitors not only learn, but also remember and feel touched and inspired to get involved in crime prevention. With some of our additions, our guests will have the opportunity to share some of their own stories.”

The museum’s visitors are fascinated to see authentic artifacts, such as the white Bronco from the infamous O.J. Simpson police chase and Ted Bundy’s VW Bug. Others come to learn more about crime in American culture and the background of our law enforcement system. The museum offers something for everyone, including plenty of hands-on experiences.

There are several new interactive exhibits that have opened, including:

  • The ability to test your pirate skills at tying knots.
  • Share your own 9/11 experiences.
  • Thank law enforcement with a personal message. Those who may be interested in saying thank you to a particular officer or department can log onto their website to submit their story for display in the museum.

This spring, the crime museum has also added numerous exciting artifacts to their collection, including:

  • James Gang, Hite Revolvers – These two revolvers were used by James Gang members and cousins of Jesse and Frank James, Clarence and Robert “Wood” Hite. They rode with Jesse during his last days, until Wood Hite was murdered by Robert Ford, who also killed Jesse four months later.
  • Charles Manson Guitar & Beach Boys album “20/20” - This guitar was taken into custody in Inyo County California, during a raid on the Barker Ranch when Charles Manson was also arrested. The Tate-LaBianca Murders had taken place roughly two months before. In 1969, the song “Never Learn Not to Love” appeared on the Beach Boys album credited to Dennis Wilson, although Manson had originated the song under the name “Cease to Exist.”
  • Sheriff Richard Allen “Smoot” Schmid (1897 – 1963) Cowboy Boots - The four term Dallas County sheriff was 6’ 5 ½” with size 14 shoe. Dallas was home turf to Bonnie and Clyde, and Schmid set up an ambush on Nov 22, 1933 when they planned to meet their families. The duo escaped that night, slightly wounded.
  • Family Photos of Jaycee Dugard, Original “Jaycee Lee” recordings and flyers - In the summer of 1991, Jaycee Lee Dugard was kidnapped while walking to her school bus stop. A song was written by local radio DJ Larry Williams, featuring Jaycee’s mother Terry speaking to her daughter, and sales supported the continued search efforts. The exhaustive search went on for years. Jaycee was found and rescued in 2009.
  • Foxcatcher Medal - Foxcatcher Farm was the name of the estate and wrestling facility owned by wealthy heir John du Pont. On January 26, 1996, he shot and killed one of his Team Foxcatcher coaches and former Olympic gold medalist Dave Schultz.

“We like our visitors to see different pieces from our collection,” added Vaccarello. “Walking through the museum you get a sense of gratitude for those who fight crime, as well as a desire to help victims, we feel honored to share the stories.”

Alcatraz East 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 a.m. to 9 p.m., with the last ticket sold 60 minutes before closing. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit:

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:

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Cher Murphy

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



“Magic Beyond Belief™” starring Darren Romeo reopens at Smoky Mountain Opry™ Theater, featuring a live magical unicorn!

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn., Feb. 9, 2018 “Magic Beyond Belief™” starring internationally acclaimed magician Darren Romeo will reopen for a fourth season on Feb. 16, 2018, after being closed for a four-month production hiatus. This newly revamped Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment show will resume back in the The Smoky Mountain Opry™ Theater in Pigeon Forge six days-a-week. The magical show will include approximately $250,000 in upgrades, most of which are in production elements.  The move back to the Smoky Mountain Opry™ is to enable Romeo to perform larger illusions on a bigger stage and allows for the return of large animals to the show.

“Our Magic Beyond Belief show starring Darren Romeo is bigger, better and brighter this year,” said David Fee, president and chief executive officer of Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment Group.  “We have a considerable bigger stage in a larger theater, but the show is still a very intimate experience.  This year’s show will be more family friendly and we have some new elements in the show including a live magical unicorn and a mermaid who swims among coral reefs and a sunken pirate ship. We also have the return of our serval cat and our amazing beloved white tiger named Hollywood.

“We have more vibrant colors in new lavish sets and costumes, improved state-of-the art mood-setting lighting and fantastic visuals throughout the entire production,” Fee said. “It is a higher energy show with spectacular effects.

“We are also installing a whole new sound system including a new sound board to enhance the audio quality in the theater,” Fee said.  “Two large video screens will complement the show, as well as engaging music.” Fee says the show will leave the entire family spellbound.

Romeo, the first and only protégé of Master Magicians Siegfried and Roy, will pay tribute this season to those who inspired him:  Bobby Darin (for whom he was named), Harry Houdini, Harry Blackstone Jr., Siegfried and Roy, famed American ringmaster P.T. Barnum, and many great military heroes. He will also showcase arrangements from his favorite Broadway melodies.

“We will have a circus atmosphere this year with tunes from the new hit movie, ‘The Greatest Showman,’” Fee said.  “Darren will have an entourage of animals both real and make believe, actors who play side show misfits, a girl shot out of a cannon, dancers and other oddities of magic. He will also pay tribute to a special pioneer in the entertainment industry with a song number in a ‘tale as old as time,’ where Darren and his assistants will invite the audience to ‘be our guest.’  At one point in the show children from the audience will even be allowed to come on stage and be part of the show.”

This full, two-hour “Magic Beyond Belief™” starring Darren Romeo production will feature stunning illusions, mind-boggling special effects, hilarious comedy, and vocal performance. Romeo will do some new parody celebrity impersonations this year including Darius Rucker, Lady Gaga and Dolly Parton.

“As a former magician myself, I have loved magic all of my life,” said David Fee, co-owner of the new theater. “Darren Romeo is one of the best magicians I have ever seen. He is extremely special and unique.  His show mixes amazing magic with music, and it is mesmerizing! We are very proud of Darren and of the success of his show in Pigeon Forge, and it became obvious to us that he needed a larger stage to do some of the illusions that he wanted to do so we have decided to bring him back to the Smoky Mountain Opry Theater.  This is a fun magical experience for the entire family!  It is Pigeon Forge’s biggest and best magic show!  Darren brings magic, mystery and music together for an incredible show the whole family will love.”

Romeo will appear Tuesday through Sunday, February through December, at The Smoky Mountain Opry™ Theater.  Romeo’s “Magic Beyond Belief™” starring Darren Romeo is known for his combination of live singing with the art of magic and illusion for a one-of-a-kind magical performance.

“Magic Beyond Belief™” at the Smoky Mountain Opry™ Theater is performed this season in the 8 p.m. evening time slot until Friday, March 2 when the Smoky Mountain Opry™ “Feel The Music” Show Opens.  After that the magic show will be performed in the afternoon matinee slot at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  It will also be performed at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday.  The theater is located at traffic light 0 at 2046 Parkway in Pigeon Forge.  Ticket prices are $34.95 plus tax for adults and $9.95 plus tax for children ages 3-11.  Children under 3 are free. For more information or reservations call the theater’s box office (865) 428-7469 or 1-800-768-1170 or visit

Before coming to Pigeon Forge, Romeo previously performed in his own show as “Siegfried & Roy presents: Darren Romeo” at the Mirage in Las Vegas and all over the world.  He has also performed in Las Vegas at Caesar’s Palace, at the Flamingo Hilton and at the world-famous Magic Castle in Hollywood.

Magician Romeo said, “Magic is my passion, and I will be able to present the biggest and best versions of my show to date in The Smoky Mountain Opry Theater.”

One of the most awarded magicians in the history of magic, Romeo has garnered an extensive list of accolades including:

“Show of the Year” (2 years in a row) from the Branson Critic Association,

“Magician of the Year” from the Magic Castle, The Academy of Magical Arts, Inc., the prestigious Merlin Award for “Entertainer of the Year” from the International Magician’s Society and the Milbourne Christopher Award for “Notable Contributions to the Art of Magic” from The Society of American Magicians (SAM).

In addition to all of the large illusions people would expect to see on stage from Siegfried and Roy’s protégé, Romeo will also perform close-up magic and sleight of hand tricks in the new show. Romeo will carry on Harry Blackstone Jr.’s legacy by performing his famous “Floating Light Bulb” Illusion.  He is the only magician in the world granted permission from the Blackstone family to perform this tribute.

The New York Daily News called Romeo’s show “Irresistible” and the Las Vegas Review Journal said it was “the most unique and compelling show to hit the strip in many years.” Entertainment Today said his show was “Extraordinary. Fantastic!”

“We want to provide clean wholesome entertainment for families who will return to see our shows again and again,” Fee said. “Darren’s new show will be Beyond Belief!”

The Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment Group, one of the largest show production companies in the southeast, also owns and produces other major shows in the Smoky Mountain area including “The Smoky Mountain Opry™,” “The Comedy Barn®” and The “Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Feud.™”


Contact: Deborah Fee Newsom

(865) 414-6887 (cell)

(865) 774-8877

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

All-New Christmas Show Under way At Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Adventures

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017) – Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Adventures Dinner & Show continues its inaugural season with a new holiday tale that invites families on a journey that brings together special Christmas memories and magic that shaped Dolly and her family. The new show, which opened Friday, Nov. 3 and continues through Dec. 31, allows guests to make wonderful holiday memories and discover the true spirit of Christmas.

The combination of festive holiday music, two million dollars in special effects, acrobatic feats from both performers and the show’s canine stars, a mischievous elf, a series of “reindeer games,” a moving live nativity, an ice skating spectacular, and many other unexpected  surprises combine for a one-of-a-kind, “must see” show.  This exciting new Christmas adventure is set in a small town that’s hit by a major snowstorm, which leaves the fate of the town’s Christmas celebration in the balance. The audience journeys with the cast to learn whether their Christmas will be cancelled or whether the storm sets the stage for the most miraculous Christmas ever.

Elements of the regular show that have proven to be audience favorites this season will take on a holiday flair and deliver a joyful treat for the senses, including the Chinese poles, aerial silks suspended three stories above the stage and in the amazing Electro-wheel. An exclusive Smoky Mountain Adventures version of The Nutcracker and fun with the classic “12 Days of Christmas” are sure to become audience favorites. The show concludes with a moving seasonal rendition of the mountain classic “Go Tell It On The Mountain,” and a Christmas light spectacular and special effects transform the town scenery into a captivating Winter Wonderland.

“Thanks to the powerful story of when Dolly’s parents met and fell in love, Smoky Mountain Adventures has experienced an amazing debut season,” said Jamie Parish, General Manager of Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Adventures. “We are excited about sharing more of this special story in our new holiday show, inspired by heartfelt moments that will capture the simple joys of Christmas.  Our entire cast is looking forward to sharing this new component of Dolly’s family story – we know it will become a new holiday tradition for the families that come to experience it.”

Another star of this yuletide show is the food, which is a mouthwatering feast of magnificent proportions. This Smoky Mountain holiday feast treats guests to tantalizing tastes inspired by some of Dolly’s favorite holiday recipes:  a special holiday soup recipe, homemade buttery biscuits, spiral ham, pan fried chicken, old fashioned Southern dressing, a sweet potato treat, buttery corn on the cob, and Southern Peach Pie for dessert. Unlimited Pepsi, tea and coffee also are part of the meal.

For the complete Christmas show schedule, visit or contact the box office at 844-322-4400 for ticketing.


 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 Smoky Mountain Adventures Dinner & Show, operates dinner attraction venues for family fun and adventure in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, Branson, Missouri and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Our shows feature special effects, musical productions, live animals and a four-course family feast.

Media Contacts:

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

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

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




America’s Favorite Christmas Event Begins at Dollywood on Nov. 4

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Wednesday, November 1, 2017) — Earlier this season, Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana celebrated its tenth consecutive victory in Amusement Today’s Golden Ticket Awards. Once guests experience the park’s festive holiday atmosphere for themselves, they understand why Dollywood has earned the award for the last decade.

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas (Nov. 4, 2017 – Jan. 1, 2018) kicks off the holiday season with its signature light displays, family-favorite shows, delectable food and warm Christmas spirit. The awe-inspiring Parade of Many Colors returns for its second season, while traditional holiday performances—including Christmas in the Smokies and It’s a Wonderful Life—and four million festive lights delight guests during this lively festival.

“There is no time of the year that is more special to me than Christmas,” Dolly Parton explained. “Some of the best memories of my life are from my time spent with family and friends celebrating Christmas together. It’s when we all come together to enjoy sweet traditions and the warm love of family and to have those special experiences we’ll always remember.

“Now when we were growing up, we never could have imagined millions of Christmas lights or even a life-size Rudolph. But I know the families who come to visit my Dollywood this Christmas will leave with wonderful memories they’ll treasure forever—just like me and my family.”

Dollywood—which earned its ninth consecutive Golden Ticket Award for Best Shows—continues to provide guests with classic Christmas entertainment which brings the holidays to life! Based on the timeless holiday story of love and generosity, It’s a Wonderful Life follows small town businessman George Bailey as he discovers the true value of life, family and friends with a little help from his guardian angel, Clarence. One of Dollywood’s greatest entertainment offerings, Christmas in the Smokies, returns to D.P.’s Celebrity Theater and serves as the headline show for the festival. Guests can celebrate the joy of the season while a cast of singers and dancers performs hometown holiday favorites accompanied by a band of live musicians!

After a successful debut season in 2016, the crowd-favorite Parade of Many Colors returns to celebrate the fun, faith, family and harmony of the holiday season. The parade features whimsical floats, interactive characters and a heart-warming, cheerful message for Dollywood guests to enjoy.

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, the beloved Christmas television special, again comes to life at Dollywood this season. Guests can meet Rudolph and his friends, including Clarice, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster and Yukon Cornelius in Rudolph’s Holly Jolly ™ Junction, a magical area where festive fun awaits. After meeting Rudolph and his friends, families can head to Clarice’s kitchen to decorate custom Christmas cookies or even take part in a few reindeer games!

Dollywood’s entertainment features several other beloved shows this season, including An Appalachian Christmas, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, O’ Holy Night, My People and Christmas with The Kingdom Heirs. Guests also can experience Santa Land, a whimsical workshop where the smallest guests can share their wish list with Kris Kringle.

Families can finish their visit with a traditional Christmas meal as several of Dollywood’s menus feature holiday-themed items. Among the new offerings this year is the Thanksgiving Feast sandwich—a ciabatta roll filled with cornbread dressing, slices of oven-roasted turkey breast, topped with cranberry sauce and served with sweet potato tater tots. Returning favorites include turkey and dressing, Christmas ham, chicken and dumplings, Cornish hens, center cut pork chops, mashed potatoes and gravy, hot flavored drinks like wassail, Mayfield hot chocolate and cider, and much more. Holiday desserts available throughout the park include gingerbread man cookies, red velvet and pumpkin spice funnel cakes.

Smoky Mountain Christmas guests can upgrade a paid one-day admission ticket to a regular 2018 season pass for as low as $30 (plus tax when buying four or more). Ticket purchasers receive credit for the value of a regular one-day ticket ($69) toward the purchase of a 2018 season pass. A season pass purchased during Smoky Mountain Christmas provides unlimited admission to this year’s Christmas festival along with Dollywood’s entire 2018 season. Additionally, for each child’s season pass purchased, families will receive a copy of Parton’s newest children’s album, “I Believe in You.” (A one-day ticket is valid for upgrade on the day of visit only.)

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 more than 30 Golden Ticket Awards; and recipient of 26 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 mid-May 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

For B-roll, photography and more information, visit the Dollywood Media Room at