Posts Tagged ‘Wilderness Wildlife Week’

250 Free Seminars, Concerts, Outdoor Excursions Highlight Wilderness Wildlife Week in Pigeon Forge May 8-12

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (April 24, 2018)—Featuring more than 250 free sessions and activities spanning five days, Pigeon Forge’s award-winning Wilderness Wildlife Week is set for May 8-12. The event is headquartered at the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge.

In its 28th year, Wilderness Wildlife Week offers a variety of workshops, lectures, seminars, concerts, hikes and other activities designed to introduce or reacquaint participants of all ages with the great outdoors.

“Wilderness Wildlife Week showcases a diverse range of speakers and experts who share their vast knowledge of life in the Great Smoky Mountains,” said Pigeon Forge Executive Director of Tourism Leon Downey. “From a fishing tournament for kids to an 11-mile hike to Mt. Cammerer, Wilderness Wildlife Week offers something for everyone.”

The Southeast Tourism Society named Wilderness Wildlife Week one of its Top 20 Events in the Southeast for May 2018. Wilderness Wildlife Week also claimed a Gold Kaleidoscope Award—top honors—in the 2018 Southeast Festival and Events Association’s Best Event Program category.

The event’s headline session includes Ken Jenkins, Judy Felts and Friends in a program entitled Heaven and Nature Sing (May 8 at 7 p.m.). Forensics experts Dr. Bill Bass and Art Bohanan (May 9 at 8:30 p.m.) return to discuss forensic cases throughout the Smoky Mountains region, while several historic Sevier County houses of worship are the focus of two outings led by Kathy Gwinn.

Outdoors enthusiasts, nature lovers or those who simply want to learn more about Great Smoky Mountains National Park can choose from lectures about topics ranging from the area’s rich heritage to conservation. Outdoor demonstrations include back country and Dutch oven cooking while workshops focus on basket weaving, photography, fishing, wildflowers and more.

Among the new sessions this year are My Wild Life: From Bears, Panthers and Pandas to People with Ken Johnson, Frontier Life: Women’s Role in Western Frontier Living in North Carolina with the Overmountain Victory Trail Association, The Ragmen of Appalachia featuring Joseph Williams, Ranger Recollections of Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the 1960s with Joe Kelley, The White Caps: The Great Unmasking presented by Don Williams, and a Great Smoky Mountains Association film series.

Hikers of all experience levels can choose from several excursions each day. Highlights include an 11-plus-mile hike to the Mt. Cammerer Fire Tower located less than a mile off the Appalachian Trail (May 11 from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.), a six-hour hike highlighting the People and Places of Cades Cove (May 11 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.), a nearly five-mile Hen Wallow Falls trek that takes hikers through a hemlock and rhododendron forest (May 11 from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.), and, for the second year in a row, the 2.5-mile Cades Cove Loop Road Night Hike (May 10 from 8-10:30 p.m.).

A special kids’ track is offered for younger outdoors enthusiasts where participants can learn more about topics ranging from composting, snakes, and photography. Jenkins, an acclaimed photographer, leads a first-time session entitled Connecting to Nature in which he examines how to engage wildlife and experience first-hand some of the ways to connect to nature and capture its beauty. A children’s Old-Time Scavenger Hunt (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and Kids’ Trout Tournament (8 a.m. to 1 p.m. for children ages seven to 12) both take place on Saturday, May 12.

More than 50 exhibits and vendors, including the not-for-profit Cades Cove Preservation Association and Onsite Heritage Museum, East Tennessee Historical Society, Keep Sevier Beautiful, and Tennessee Trail of Tears, are open daily during the conference beginning at 10 a.m. in LeConte Hall.

This spring celebration of the great outdoors is free and open to the public. For more information, a complete schedule and registration details, visit MyPigeonForge.com.

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.”

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Media Contact:

Trish McGee for the Pigeon Forge Dept. of Tourism

tmcgee@bohanideas.com

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 Receives Eight Kaleidoscope Awards for Special Events

Pigeon Forge Special Events Dept. Coordinator (left) and Pigeon Forge Special Events Manager Butch Helton (right) carried home eight awards from the Southeast Festivals and Events Association awards ceremony in Lexington, Ky., in recognition of the city’s special events.

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (March 2017) – The Pigeon Forge (Tenn.) Department of Tourism claimed eight Kaleidoscope Awards in recognition of the city’s special events during the 14th annual Southeast Festivals and Events Association (SFEA) conference in Lexington, Ky., in February.

Pigeon Forge’s 2016 Saddle Up festival, a celebration of the Western lifestyle, claimed four Silver Awards and one Bronze Award. Saddle Up’s Chuck Wagon Cookoff was recognized with one of the Silver Awards for best event within an event. The outdoor-focused Wilderness Wildlife Week was recognized with one Silver Award and a Bronze Award for best event within an event for Appalachian Homecoming’s Cades Cove Preservation Association Picnic Dinner fundraiser. A Mountain Quiltfest, which features displays and dozens of classes, earned a Bronze Award.

“The quality of submissions continues to increase each year making it more difficult for the judges to select the winners,” noted Brenda Pierce, SFEA executive director.

“Pigeon Forge’s special events are entertaining and educational and give our guests even more reasons to visit,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism. “We are certainly appreciative of SFEA’s award-winning recognition.”

Pigeon Forge’s 2017 Wilderness Wildlife Week takes place May 9-13. For more information, visit www.MyPigeonForge.com.

SFEA is a 501 (c) 6 membership-based organization comprised of festival and event planners, venues, and industry service providers. It was founded in 2009 to strengthen the festival and event industry throughout the southeastern U.S. by hosting educational sessions, networking opportunities, award recognition, and additional events throughout the year; thus, allowing for continued professional growth within the festivals and events industry.

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Media Contact:

Trish McGee

tmcgee@bohanideas.com

615-327-1189

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 MyPigeonForge.com and by calling 800-251-9100.

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Contact:

Tom Adkinson, APR

tadkinson@bohanideas.com

615-341-8796

 

Pigeon Forge Celebrates Great Smoky Mountains, Appalachian Heritage with Transformed Wilderness Wildlife Week

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (April 2015) – For five days in May, 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.

The occasion is the 26th annual Wilderness Wildlife Week, Pigeon Forge’s salute to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Mother Nature and the heritage of the Southern Appalachians. Dates are May 18-22 at the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge.

For its first quarter-century, Wilderness Wildlife Week was a January event, and 2016 marks its move to springtime.

“Moving to spring opens the door to visitors who were reluctant to travel in winter. It also lets us introduce a variety of new programs,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism, which organizes the week filled with more than 250 programs and 40 hikes, field trips and excursions in the national park and surrounding area.

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.

Complementing those programs is a series of hikes in the national park and field trips to destinations such as the American Eagle Foundation’s research and rehabilitation facility

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 MyPigeonForge.com and by calling 800-251-9100.

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Contact:

Tom Adkinson, APR

tadkinson@bohanideas.com

615-341-8796

 

Pigeon Forge Presents Four Months of Festivals, Special Events

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (February 2016) – Pigeon Forge lives up to its nickname of the “Center of Fun in the Smokies” with winter and spring special events that include cowboys, American folk art, a parade with an international celebrity and a celebration of America’s most visited national park. Here’s the lineup of city-sponsored events from February through May.

Saddle Up

Saddle Up is a celebration of the American West featuring western music, cowboy poetry and a highly competitive chuck wagon cookoff. Dates are Feb. 17-21. It is the 16th year Pigeon Forge has brought cowboy culture to the Smokies.

R.W. Hampton at Saddle Up

R.W. Hampton at Saddle Up

Poets and performers such as Dave Stamey, R.W. Hampton, Yvonne Hollenbeck and Chris Isaacs will star in full concerts, small performances and “intimate evening” dinners that include steaks to make any cowboy or cowgirl happy. Events are at the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge and other venues.

The chuck wagon cookoff is Feb. 20, and it features nine cook teams from five states. It’s dutch oven cooking at its best, and Saddle Up guests can buy lunch from the team of their choice. Before lunch, a family-oriented Buckaroo Roundup will teach youngsters how to throw a lasso and maybe how to yodel.

A Mountain Quiltfest

More than 550 artfully designed and carefully stitched quilts will chase more than $20,000 in prize money at A Mountain Quiltfest, an event featuring classes, demonstrations and special activities that has drawn quilters and fans of fabric art to Pigeon Forge for 22 years. Dates are March 15-19 at the LeConte Event Center.DSCN2150

Twenty quilt categories will be displayed, including ones with this year’s special theme – log cabins. A Mountain Quiltfest includes more than 70 classes and lectures about America’s popular folk art taught by world-class instructors. There is a fee for classes, but admission to quilt displays and a vendor mall is free.

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

Dolly’s Homecoming Parade

For 31 years, Pigeon Forge has saluted the area’s most popular singer, songwriter, movie star and philanthropist – Dolly Parton – with Dolly’s Homecoming Parade. This year’s date is May 6.Dolly Parade_low res[1]

Pigeon Forge shuts down half of the Parkway, the main thoroughfare through town, for a small-town parade that would make Norman Rockwell proud. Parton herself leads the parade in a float whose theme is kept secret every year until parade day.

Tens of thousands of Parton’s fans line the Parkway, and she uses a sound system on the float to call out to special friends she spots. The rest of the parade features high school bands, twirlers, equestrian groups, fire trucks, go-carts, clowns and more.

Wilderness Wildlife Week

Wilderness Wildlife Week is Pigeon Forge’s annual salute to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and an array of nature topics. It offers five days of free photography workshops, seminars, art classes, children’s activities, hikes and excursions. Dates are May 18-22.WWW Possum_rr

The major focus is on Pigeon Forge’s next-door neighbor, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited of all American national parks. The 26th presentation of Wilderness Wildlife Week takes on special significance because 2016 is the centennial year of the National Park Service.

Program presenters include professional photographers, botanists, biologists, hiking experts, talented artists and mountain musicians. All donate their time to spread the word about enjoying the beauties of nature on display in the national park and throughout the Southern Appalachians.

Information about all aspects of visiting Pigeon Forge is available online at MyPigeonForge.com or by calling toll-free 800-251-9100.

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Contact:

Tom Adkinson, APR

tadkinson@bohanideas.com

615-341-8796

 

Pigeon Forge Receives 20 International Events Awards

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (September 2015) – The Pigeon Forge (Tenn.) Department of Tourism claimed a record 20 Pinnacle Awards, including six gold, from the International Festivals and Events Association (IFEA).

Wilderness Wildlife Week received nine Pinnacle Awards, including gold for the best educational program and the best community outreach program in the category for projects with budgets less than $250,000. This marks the sixth year the event has received gold for best educational program.

The outdoor-focused event, which moves from January to May in 2016, won silver awards for best green program, best children’s programming, best hat and best new attendee service, as well as bronze awards for best promotional poster, best miscellaneous clothing and best event within an event to benefit a cause.

Gold Pinnacle Awards also were received for best event program and best cover design for the Saddle Up 2015 program guide, best hat for Dolly’s Homecoming Parade and best organizational website for MyPigeonForge.com.

“Having our events recognized year after year by the IFEA is humbling,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism, “especially when you realize that we are competing against major events from all over the world. Our special events staff and family of volunteers are to be congratulated for their work. They are the reason the Pigeon Forge name is associated with award-winning events.”

Additional silver Pinnacle awards were received for best TV promotion and best commemorative poster for Saddle Up. Other bronze Pinnacle awards were for best radio promotion for Patriot Festival, best promotional brochure, best single magazine display ad and best new merchandise for Saddle Up, and best educational program for A Mountain Quiltfest.

“It’s a challenge to keep our special events growing. We literally have to out-do ourselves each year. Pigeon Forge has a reputation for producing outstanding events, and we take a lot of pride in the fact that IFEA recognizes our work,” said Butch Helton, special events manager.

Other winners at the 2015 convention included the McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade in Chicago; the Portland Rose Festival, Portland, Ore., and the Tournament of Roses Parade, Pasadena, Calif.

International events vying for Pinnacle awards included Servus Heritage Festival in Edmonton Alberta, Canada; Geumsan Insam Festival in Geumsan, South Korea; and Ludwig Van Beethoven Easter Festival, Krakow, Poland.

This year’s IFEA awards presentation was Sept. 21 in Tucson, Ariz., during the organization’s 60th anniversary convention.

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Contact:

Donnette Engebrecht

donnette@bohanideas.com

615-341-8768

 

 

Pigeon Forge Turns Wilderness Wildlife Week into Springtime Event

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (August 2015) – Wilderness Wildlife Week, Pigeon Forge’s 25-year-old annual salute to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and an array of outdoor topics, is moving from January to May.

Dates for 2016 are May 18-22 (Wednesday through Sunday), with indoor programs at the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge and outdoor activities nearby in the national park.

Owls always are a hit at Wilderness Wildlife Week programs.

Owls always are a hit at Wilderness Wildlife Week programs.

“Moving to spring opens the door to attract visitors who were reluctant to travel in winter. It also lets us introduce a variety of new programs,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism.

“We especially look forward to using Wilderness Wildlife Week to draw attention to the centennial year of the National Park Service. ‘Find Your Park’ is a big theme of the centennial celebration, and we’re certainly going to help people get to know the Smokies better,” he continued.

Wilderness Wildlife Week is a free event. Experts in numerous fields donate their time to deliver programs about wildlife, botany, nature photography, mountain crafts, Appalachian music and other topics.

Complementing those programs is a series of hikes in the national park. In the 11 years that hiking records have been kept, Wilderness Wildlife Week hikers have logged 3,631 miles on trails in the Smokies. Pigeon Forge provides hike leaders and transportation to and from the trailheads.

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

Wilderness Wildlife Week was inspired by local nature photographer Ken Jenkins, and his popular photography presentations remain on the week’s schedule.

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

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Contact:

Tom Adkinson, APR

tadkinson@bohanideas.com

615-341-8796

 

Pigeon Forge Collects 14 International Events Awards

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (October 2014) – With five major awards leading the way, the Pigeon Forge (Tenn.) Department of Tourism claimed a near-record 14 Pinnacle Awards from the International Festivals and Events Association (IFEA).

Wilderness Wildlife Week received gold Pinnacle Awards as the best green program in the category for events with budgets less than $250,000 and the best children’s programming in the category for projects with budgets less than $1.5 million.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a major focus of Wilderness Wildlife Week.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a major focus of Wilderness Wildlife Week.

The nature-oriented week also won silver awards for the best community outreach program, best new merchandise and best hat, and a bronze award for best outdoor billboard.

Three other gold Pinnacle Awards were received for best new attendee service, best radio promotion and best organizational website for MyPigeonForge.com.

“It’s always gratifying to be recognized by the IFEA Pinnacle Awards, because our events are in contention with some of the biggest and best from around the world,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism. “These awards are a true testament to the time and effort put in by the tourism department’s special events staff and our community of volunteers.”

Other silver Pinnacle awards were received for best cover design for the Saddle Up 2014 program guide and best outdoor billboard for Saddle Up 2014. Additional bronze Pinnacle awards were for best event within an existing event for Saddle Up Stories & Strings, best commemorative poster for Saddle Up and best hat for Dolly’s Homecoming Parade.

“Our special events continue to grow and improve with each passing year, and that’s because of a dedicated staff, a loyal family of volunteers and the support of our city’s administration. When IFEA notices and rewards our efforts, that’s something that really makes us proud,” said Butch Helton, manager of the special events office.

Other winners this year included the Kentucky Derby Festival in Louisville, Ky., the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C., and the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival in Canton, Ohio.

International events contending for Pinnacle awards included Sentosa Spooktacular in Sentosa, Singapore, the Ulsan Whale Festival in Ulsan, South Korea, and Canada Day at Canada Place in Vancouver, B.C.

This year’s IFEA awards presentation was Sept. 29 in Kansas City, Mo.

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Contact:
Tom Adkinson, APR

tadkinson@bohanideas.com

615-341-8796

Pigeon Forge’s Wilderness Wildlife Week Eyes 25th Celebration of the Smokies

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (October 2014) – Preparations are underway for the 25th presentation of Wilderness Wildlife Week, Pigeon Forge’s annual salute to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and numerous outdoor recreation topics. Dates are Jan. 24-31, 2015.

East Tennessee wildlife photographer Ken Jenkins had no idea his suggestion for a winter program about the Great Smoky Mountains would become a much-loved winter event that draws visitors from across the U.S.

The first year of what became Wilderness Wildlife Week was a half-day of programs on a Saturday. It was so successful that it blossomed into a weeklong event in its second year.

It now features 400 programs spread over eight days, including a series of hikes and excursions in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Wilderness Wildlife Week hikes range from easy to strenuous.

Wilderness Wildlife Week hikes range from easy to strenuous.

Wilderness Wildlife Week 2014 had attendees from 41 states. Hawaii wasn’t represented, but Alaska was, event organizers noted.

Total program attendance was 27,800, and almost 550 hikers logged 2,588 miles. New for 2014 was the Southern Trout Fly Fishing Fair, a day of programs about mountain trout, fly-fishing and fly-tying put on by the online magazine Southern Trout, an online magazine. The second Southern Trout Fly Fishing Fair is set for Jan. 31.

Each year offers photography workshops, wildlife lectures, mountain music mini-concerts, crafts classes and special sessions for children.

More than 200 experts – nature photographers, biologists, raptor rehabilitators, social historians, musicians and just plain folks who grew up in the Smokies – donate their time to lead the programs.

Raptors always are a big hit at Wilderness Wildlife Week.

Raptors always are a big hit at Wilderness Wildlife Week.

The Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism organizes the week, and admission is free. Most of the events are indoors at the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge, a city-owned special events facility.

Wilderness Wildlife Week, named 10 times as a Southeast Tourism Society Top 20 Event, is a part of Pigeon Forge Winterfest, which starts in November and goes through February.

Pigeon Forge completes Winterfest with Saddle Up, a celebration of cowboy poetry, western music and chuck wagon cooking, Feb. 18-22.

Information about all aspects of visiting Pigeon Forge is at www.MyPigeonForge.com or by calling 800-251-9100.

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Contact:

Tom Adkinson, APR

615-341-8796

tadkinson@bohanideas.com