Posts Tagged ‘Smoky Mountains’

Old Forge Distillery Wins Gold at World Beverage Competition

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (February 2016) – Old Forge Distillery, located in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., took home two gold awards at the recent World Beverage Competition in Geneva, Switzerland. It is one of the largest spirits competitions, with more than 10,000 entrants. Judges awarded Old Forge Rum a gold in the “White Rum” category and 1830 Original Coffee Moonshine a gold in the “Flavored Specials Spirit” category.

K0012668347--806009“We’ve always said we wanted to be more than just moonshine, so it’s especially exciting to see Old Forge Rum receive top honors,” said Head Distiller Keener Shanton. “We’ve recently installed a new still at Old Forge which will allow us to experiment even further with different types of spirits, so look for more innovative, award-winning products in the future.”

Old Forge Rum is a 92-proof full-flavored white rum distilled from molasses with notes of spicy nutmeg, caramel and toffee.

1830 Original Coffee is a 60-proof coffee-flavored moonshine, inspired from coffee beans from the nearby Old Mill Restaurant and contains notes of espresso, sweet chocolate and dark cacao.

Both spirits are available for sale at the Old Forge Distillery and area Knoxville stores – Old Forge Rum for $27.99 and 1830 Original Coffee for $24.99.

About Old Forge Distillery

Just a few yards away from where the Old Mill head miller grinds, fills, and ties bags of stone-ground, quality grains lies the Old Forge Distillery. It’s here, in a 100-year-old building made of Tennessee timber, that freshly ground grain is distilled with pure mountain spring water. In addition to its award-winning moonshine, Old Forge has released bourbon, vodka and rum. For more information on Old Forge Distillery (170 Old Mill Ave, Pigeon Forge, Tenn.) including tastings, products and recipes visit



Courtney Sandora


Pigeon Forge Celebrates the American West at 16th Annual Saddle Up

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (January 2016) – Music, storytelling, poetry, dancing and chuck wagon cooking are just a few of the activities that will take place at the 16th Annual Saddle Up in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

The event is Feb. 17-21, 2016, and will be headquartered at the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge.

Saddle Up is a mixture of stage concerts, dinner shows, a competitive chuck wagon cookoff, a cowboy dance and other activities. Also on the calendar are a number of workshops and seminars. Most of the music programs are ticketed, while several other activities are offered free of charge.

R.W. Hampton

R.W. Hampton

Dave Stamey, R.W. Hampton, Western Flyers, T. Scot Wilburn & the Shut Up -N- Playboys, Sourdough Slim and Brigid Reedy will provide the music for the 2016 event, while Andy Nelson, Kent Rollins, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Chris Isaacs and Jay Snider will share cowboy poetry, stories and humor.

The Saddle Up Chuck Wagon Cookoff is Saturday, Feb. 20, at Clabough’s Campground. Chuck wagon cooks prepare lunch for guests and evaluation by a panel of judges. Tickets for the noon lunch are $12.50. Beginning at 9 a.m., visitors can hear Saddle Up entertainers and participate in cowboy-themed activities free of charge.

The weekend concludes with a chuck wagon breakfast and Cowboy Church on Sunday, Feb. 21, at the LeConte Event Center.

Cowboy cobbler in a dutch oven

Cowboy cobbler in a dutch oven

Ticket prices and a detailed schedule are at Tickets are available online and also will be sold at the event.



Donnette Engebrecht




Lonestar, Fireworks, Games Set for July 4 Patriot Festival in Pigeon Forge

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (June 2014) – Tens of thousands of July 4 celebrants are expected to fill Patriot Park in Pigeon Forge for the daylong Patriot Festival. It’s the 24th edition of the free extravaganza.

Country music band Lonestar tops the entertainment lineup, and activity culminates with a gigantic fireworks display that will light up the sky above this Great Smoky Mountains resort town.

Patriot Festival fireworks fill the night sky above the Old Mill in Pigeon Forge.

Patriot Festival fireworks fill the night sky above the Old Mill in Pigeon Forge.

Activity begins at noon with children’s games, and live stage entertainment begins at 1:30 p.m.

The lineup offers the Pigeon Forge Community Chorus, performers from the Biblical Times Theater, the Shelby Huskey Band, the Tim Kellar Band, bluegrass band Adkins & Loudermilk and Sons of Sailors, a Jimmy Buffet tribute band.

Lonestar’s performance will precede the fireworks show, which will begin about 9:45 p.m. The fireworks will be synchronized to music from WIVK-FM in Knoxville.

Lonestar has had nine No. 1 hits on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. Among them are “Amazed,” “No News,” “I’m Already There” and “My Front Porch Looking In.”

Admission to Patriot Festival is free, and free parking and shuttle service are available starting at noon at the city’s parking facility on Teaster Lane. Lawn chairs and blankets are welcome, and a variety of food and beverage vendors will be present. Their proceeds will benefit local charities.



Tom Adkinson, APR





2012 Was Very, Very Good for Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Visitation to Great Smoky Mountains National Park rose to 9,685,828 in 2012. That’s a 7.5 percent jump, making 2012 the biggest year since the 10.1 million visitors in 2000, which remains the record.

Park management credited mild weather last winter and spring as a big factor. Every month in 2012 had more visitors than the same month in 2011.

Clear, cool, tumbling water is a hallmark of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Clear, cool, tumbling water is a hallmark of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

December’s count was 480,527, up from 471,603. That was despite the closure of the Newfound Gap Road between the Sugarlands Visitors Center and Cherokee, N.C., for all or part of six days because of ice and snow. The Christmas and New Year’s holidays brought large numbers of visitors to the park.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, with 800 square miles of natural beauty, is the most visited national park in the United States.

The national park is the primary focus of Wilderness Wildlife Week, a project of the City of Pigeon Forge. It offers eight days of free programming and activities about the park and numerous other outdoor topics.

Wilderness Wildlife Week takes place at the Music Road Hotel and Convention Center.

‘I Can See Clearly Now’

GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK (March 2012) – Visitors to America’s most visited national park will see something quite unusual for the next few months – crews at work opening scenic vistas that have grown up dramatically over the decades since the park was created.

After more than 75 years of forest growth, maturing trees are obscuring some of the park’s most scenic views, and enjoying the Smoky Mountains’ vistas is the No. 1 activity that visitors list.

The National Park Service is rolling back the natural clock by judiciously cutting some trees and trimming or thinning others.

They will work on 34 overlooks from April 1-Aug. 1 along Newfound Gap Road, Clingmans Dome Road, the East and West Foothills Parkway, the Gatlinburg Bypass, Rich Mountain Road, Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Lakeview Drive and Cataloochee Road. No road closures are expected.

The goal of the vista management program is to allow the views to be maintained on a seven-year cycle.

Pigeon Forge, Smokies To Get PBS Exposure

SEVIER COUNTY, Tenn. (February 2012) – Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and Sevierville, three gateway cities to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, are featured in an upcoming episode of the new PBS series “Getting Away Together.”

The episode features some of the area’s most popular attractions: Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP), Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, Dollywood theme park, Dollywood Cabins, Dollywood’s Splash Country waterpark, Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede Dinner Attraction, the Old Mill, River Romp and the Apple Barn Cider Mill & General Store.

The episode follows three generations of the Colgan family from Bedford, Ind. When Peggy and David Colgan were married in 1962, it was Peggy who insisted the couple honeymoon in the Smokies.

The two made a lifelong commitment to return to the area, a commitment the couple has honored each year. Their 50th anniversary is this summer.

The Colgans were selected from more than 250 families who submitted photographs and stories on Facebook last summer. The episode, which features all 12 Colgans, was filmed in August 2011.

“Getting Away Together” highlights the rapidly growing trend of sharing a vacation rental with friends and family.

The series airs on PBS member stations that reach almost 70 percent of the U.S. Episodes also are available at

Sevier County provides entry to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which hosts more than nine million recreational visits each year, the highest visitation of any of the 58 national parks.

‘Wildlife Week’ Draws Guests from 33 States

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (January 2012) – Wilderness Wildlife Week, Pigeon Forge, Tenn.’s, annual salute to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, expanded its reach by attracting visitors from 33 states and the District of Columbia. That’s six more states than in 2011.

In addition, travelers from New Zealand, England and Canada also registered their attendance.

“The international guests were an unexpected treat. More important, however, is that this special event appealed to travelers from so many states. That really validates the reach of tourism during Pigeon Forge Winterfest,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism.

The 22nd annual presentation of Wilderness Wildlife Week offered 288 programs, hikes, excursions and owl prowls from Jan. 7-14.

It began in 1991 to draw attention to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and to attract winter visitors.  It is part of the city’s Winterfest celebration that runs November through February.

Cumulative attendance at the week’s programs totaled 24,630, a record. Snowy weather held that figure to 18,450 in 2011.

Forty-eight hikes and excursions of varying lengths ventured into the national park and attracted 630 participants who collectively hiked 3,705 miles. Hiking mileage has been tracked for eight years, and the total now is 21,223 miles.

“Wilderness Wildlife Week hikes help people burn a lot of calories. We have 57 people who have hiked more than 100 miles with us, 10 who have hiked more than 200 miles, one who has hit 300 miles and two who have recorded 400 miles,” Downey said.

More than 150 experts in wildlife, photography, mountain history, wildflowers and other subjects volunteered their time to lead programs. All of the week’s indoor programs were at the Music Road Hotel and Convention Center.

Dates for Wilderness Wildlife Week 2013 are January 12-19.

Pigeon Forge’s next special event is Saddle Up, a celebration of cowboy poetry, western music and chuckwagon cooking. Dates are Feb. 23-26, and details are available online at or by calling toll-free to 1-800-251-9100.