Dixie Stampede

The Most Fun Place to Eat in the Smokies!

If there is one show that has made itself a stop for visitors to the area each and every year it is Dixie Stampede.  Dixie Stampede became the second big attraction from the owners of Dollywood and Dolly Parton herself.  The show is very simply a competition between the two sides of the audience with a faire amount of horsemanship thrown into boot.  They also happen to serve one of the best meals that you will find in Pigeon Forge.  Dixie Stampede is more than an attraction it is a destination

Dixie Stampede was the first dinner show in Pigeon Forge.  Opening in 1988, it has been in the same location since that point and was one of the attractions that opened up the south end of Pigeon Forge.  Before that point, the Herschend Company, that owns both Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country, decided that dinner show would go along well with the burgeoning attractions in Pigeon Forge.  As Dollywood grew they decided to throw their hat, and the experience that they had with the live shows at Dollywood, into the growing live entertainment field on the Parkway in Pigeon Forge.  From the time they opened, Dixie Stampede has become one of those places that thousands of visitors to the Smokies make part of the trips to the Smoky Mountains.

Dixie Stampede - Pigeon ForgeHere is the premise behind the show.  Once you walk in the door you will realize that you are in an indoor riding arena.  The horseshoe shaped seating area covers three sides of the dirt covered ‘ stage.’  The crickets chirping and the man-made stars in the sky lend to the atmosphere.  Once the action kicks off though you don’t have time to think about the scenery anymore, this high energy show will keep you on the edge of your seat.  Horses, trick riding, games, competitions and plenty of music makes the time fly by.  And the competition is the biggest part of the night.  The idea is that the two sides of the audience are competing.  Throughout most of the year, it is a competition between the North and South, during the winter months it is still the north and south but this time it is the North and South Poles.  And not only is the cast involved in this competition but the members of the audience get brought down into the arena itself.

Dixie Stampede - Pigeon ForgeBut let’s not forget the food.  The food is just as big a highlight as the show.  And because it is Dixe Stampede, the food is as big as the show.  You get a whole rotisserie chicken, pork tenderloin, corn-on-the-cob, potato wedges, creamy vegetable soup, a biscuit and dessert.  I know this sounds like a lot of food, and it is, but if you don’t finish everything they will bring you a doggy bag so that you can take the leftovers back to your hotel or cabin.  The food is amazing and the fact that they can serve more than a thousand people while putting on a multi-million dollar show means that you get to watch two shows in one:  the show in the arena and the show that the servers put on in the audience.

Make sure that you and your family have been to Dixie Stampede.  Make it a tradition, make sure that you have fun eating in the most fun place to eat in the Smokies.

Dixie Stampede
3849 Parkway
Pigeon Forge, TN

Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre

Quicksilver Nonsense!

Sweet Fanny Adams TheatreAre you looking for the oldest live show on the Tennessee side of the Smokies?  Look no further than Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre (SFAT)!  Since 1977, they have been producing and staging brand new works of musical comedy, year after year after year.  They are located in one of the most intimate venues in the Smokies and if you are looking for that something that is completely out of the norm, you are looking for SFAT, you may just not know it yet.

Don and Pat MacPherson opened the Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre, still at its original location, in 1977.  They had been in the movies and on stage as writers, actors and entertainers for years and when their family began to grow they fled to the Smokies to have a haven in which to raise their children.  And now, those same children that grew up in and around the theater are running this madhouse and making people laugh and roll in the aisles.  In fact, sometimes you can catch three generations of MacPherson in the theater.  This wonderful history and the family environment shine through in all their performances.  And if you go more than once, you will find that even the audience has become part of the family.

Something that sets the shows at Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre apart from the rest of the shows in town is the fact that each year, SFAT brings a new show to stage each season.  They write, produce and mount a new show each spring that brings in the funny and the bawdy humor that people have come to expect each season.  Usually they run two shows a week.  One is a brand new production while the second show is a follies-style show.  The original show lasts through the first half of the night.  The follies show is a collection of short pieces that are all tied together, however loosely that may be.  Each season at SFAT gives you the opportunity to experience brand new , live entertainment in a music hall atmosphere.

Sweet Fanny Adams TheatreIf you are looking for Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre, you don’t have to search very hard.  They are located in the middle of Gatlinburg at traffic light #3.  Also at traffic light #3 is a parking garage, so finding parking for SFAT is not very difficult either.  Look for the smiling faces of the people welcoming their guests into a vaudeville theatre, barking to fill the house and you have found Sweet fanny Adams.

Experience tradition in Gatlinburg.  Experience the wonder of a turn of the century music hall right in the heart of Gatlinburg.  Make sure that Sweet Fanny Adams is on your list ‘to do’ while you are in the Smokies.

Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre
461 Parkway
Gatlinburg, TN
(865) 436-4038

Hatfield & McCoy’s Dinner Feud

Everyone loves a dinner show.  You get to see world class entertainment and you get to eat a great meal at the same time.  One of the most successful dinner show locations in the Smokies is the Hatfield & McCoy’s Dinner Feud.  Taking its story from the mountain families of the Hatfields and McCoys, there is lots of comedy, lots of music, lots of dancing and lots of food.  This is the perfect evening in the Smokies – good family fun in the Smokies with great people and great food.

Most people know the story of the Hatfields and McCoys.   Two mountain families that found themselves embroiled in a feud that lasted generations. The show takes a tongue in cheek look at this feud and add a competition between the families to see who can entertain the people at the show more.  Singing, dancing, clogging and lots of comedy are brought to you by one of the best casts in Pigeon Forge.  This multi-million dollar production brings the fun and the glitz of a live show to thousands of families each season.

It is a dinner show so, of course, we have to talk about the food.  Here is what they bring each and every person that comes to show each night:

  • Hatfield & McCoy Dinner FeudFeudin’ Fried Chicken
  • Open Pit Pulled-to-Pieces Pork Barbeque
  • Southern Style Creamy Soup
  • Smashed Mashed Taters
  • Bust Y’er Jeans Pinto Beans
  • Keep It Comin’ Cornbread
  • No Tellin’ What’s In It Coleslaw
  • Granny’s Famous Specialty Dessert

You will have a table full of food.  You will find that you are full by the time you are halfway through with your chicken.  Arrive hungry and prepared to eat because there is no shortage of food at the Hatfields and McCoys Dinner Feud.

And talk about easy to find.  When you first pull into town at traffic light ‘0,’ you can see the Hatfield and McCoys theater at the top of the next hill.  Look for the Titanic and turn before you get to it and you are at the Hatfields and McCoys Dinner Feud.  Call and make reservations so that you get the best seats possible.  Let the courteous staff help you plan your evening and get you prepared for a great night out in the Smokies.  If you have been coming to the area for a number of years, you will know this location and theater as the old home of the Black Bear Jamboree.  The same folks still own the theater and they are still bringing the funny and the talent to the stage each and every show.  Come feud, come eat, come enjoy!

Hatfield & McCoy Dinner FeudHatfield & McCoy’s Dinner Feud
119 Music Rod
Pigeon Forge, TN

Lumberjack Feud Dinner Show

Lumberjack Feud is  now Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Adventures. Information is maintained below for historical purposes.

Lumberjack Feud Dinner ShowOne of the newest entertainment venues in Pigeon Forge, TN is the Lumberjack Feud.  The Lumberjack Feud is one of the first non-musical shows in Pigeon Forge and it’s a dinner show to boot.  Their state of the art theater is located right off the parkway between traffic lights 3 and 4.  The theater is divided into seats for the dinner and show and seats that are just for the show.  As you enter the theater, you get your picture taken with your entire party and then you are escorted to your seats.  You will find that the cast you will see in the show later is helping to seat the audience.  There of course is an opportunity to get plenty of snacks at the concession stand, if you chose not to do the dinner and show, as you make your way to your seats.

As the lights go down and the show starts, you are entertained by Danny Black – the ‘world famous lumberjack of the Smokies.’  Danny is the host for the show and helps move the action along and make sure that everyone is following the plot.  Besides that he is extraordinarily funny, a talented juggler and physical comedian and he masterfully works the crowd.  The crowd interaction starts immediately as well, with people in the crowd being brought onto the stage and made part of the show.

Lumberjack Feud Dinner ShowThe plot is a feud between two logging families in the Smokies.  The show takes place right around the time that the Great Smoky Mountain National Park has been created by President Roosevelt.  The time of logging in the Smokies is almost over and the two families can see that they are not going to be logging in the Smokies anymore so there is a competition to decide which family has the best lumberjacks and lumberjills in the Smokies.

The competition portion is great.  These are professional lumberjacks that are participating in traditional lumberjack sports.  The events that are featured include:  the standing shop, cross-cut saw pull, log rolling and much more.  The hot saw is a crowd favorite.  They fire up the saws, let the engines warm up and then make two of the fastest cuts you will ever see made at a dinner show.  Of course, seeing lumberjack games at a dinner show is a little odd anyway.  They even get their family pets into the action with a series of dog games including a long jump into the pool that is the center of the stage.

Lumberjack Feud Dinner ShowThe main action in that pool is the log rolling event that ends the evening and decides the winner of the nights show.  As you cheer on your family (the audience is divided in two halves to cheer on the different families) two of the lumberjacks take to the log and began to roll against each other.  The feet are flying and the water is splashing and you are waiting for someone to go into the drink.  They do a best out-of-three competition and it really is the highlight of the show.

Make sure that you check out the Lumberjack Feud in Pigeon Forge.  It is brand new, it is completely different and it will make memories for your family that you will never forget.  The facility is amazing; there is a great cast and something completely different from the traditional variety show that you usually see in Pigeon Forge.

Tennessee Theatre

tntheater2On October 1, 1928, a landmark was opened on Gay Street in Knoxville, TN – The Tennessee Theatre.  The first movie they ever played at this grand old theater was The Fleet’s In with Clara Bow.  From that time until today, this theater has been a cornerstone ofthe culture and history of Knoxville and East Tennessee.  Over the years, this venue has brought both the Silver Screen and live shows to the area and to this day is one of the favorite place sin the Smokies to take in a play or a movie.  Tradition and history are the catch words of the day at the Tennessee Theatre.

Knoxville’s Grand Entertainment Palace

From its inception, the Tennessee Theatre dominated the Gay Street area of Knoxville.  On Saturdays kids from around the city flocked to the corner to buy tickets and stand in line to take in the Saturday afternoon serials at the theater.  Throughout the years, movies were opened at the theatre, star studded casts were in attendance at show like Thunder Road – Robert Mitchum was in attendance at this premier.  The theater has been renovated several times over the years.  Each time it has gone through renovations, it has kept that old flare, that fill that it had the day it opened.  Unlike movie theaters of today, the inside of the Tennessee Theatre is a feast for the eyes, a testament to the builders that made this the Grand Palace of Entertainment that it still is.

The Official State Theatre of Tennessee

tntheater1In 1999, the Tennessee Theatre was made the Official Theatre of the State of Tennessee.  This designation, the establishment o the Historic Tennessee Theatre Foundation and the fact that people were donating money to the theatre meant that another, bigger renovation could occur.  The stage was modified to accommodate larger productions, enhancements to the acoustic nature of the theatre, modernized lighting and rigging and updates to the carpet and other decorations in the theatre.  The whole process of this renovation kept the original nature of the theatre in mind, kept the look and feel while making sure that the Tennessee Theatre was able to stay functional and bring in the best that Broadway and artists might have to offer.

Another aspect of the Tennessee Theatre is the Mighty Wurlitzer.  This pipe organ was installed when the theater opened in 1928.  For silent movies this Wurlitzer Organ provided the music and fell of the movie.  For the ‘talkies’ the Mighty Wurlitzer was the pre-show entertainment.  Nowadays, getting to hear the Mighty Wurlitzer played by a professional organist takes place most Mondays at the Tennessee Theatre.  The pipe organ was completely renovated in 2000 and is now a draw all by itself .  Throughout the year, the concerts that are given with th organ fill this grand olde theatre from top to bottom and side to side.

Check out the Tennessee Theatre the next time you are in the Knoxville area.  Visit their website and see what is playing or what Broadway show is in town.  You might get a chance to see a play or a performance that is not coming to your area but you will get to see a show performed in a one of the best theatrical venues that East Tennessee has to offer.

Tennessee Theatre
604 Gay Street
Knoxville, TN

Smoky Mountains Center for the Performing Arts

Places everybody! You’re likely to hear just that, or something similar, if you find yourself in the middle of Franklin, NC.  Coming from one of the side streets just off the main drag that is. The Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts (SMCPA) is a hidden gem in a small, tucked away town in the Smoky Mountains.

Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing ArtsThe Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts is more than just a small, local theater showcasing community talent every couple of months or so. The SMCPA’s vision rivals many of your mid-size city venues with a yearly calendar of performances. For the common theatre “goer”, you’ll find a state-of-the art facility featuring free parking right outside the main entrance, refreshments in the lobby, and a coffee bar with all the trimmings. Ushers greet and direct guests throughout the venue and work as great ambassadors for the city sharing their recommendations on places to eat, stay, and visit.

The SMCPA officially opened its doors in 2009 and since then has seen many notable musical performances from such stars of stage and screen as Kenny Rogers, country music group Little Big Town, Lee Greenwood & Louise Mandrell, Guy Penrod & Lynda Randle, plus worldly-known acts like the Nutcracker Ballet performed by the Russian Ballet Company and the Wizard of Oz. Even movies (this Christmas, The Polar Express and It’s A Wonderful Life) are shown each month to take advantage of the theatre’s wondrous appeal.

The Overlook Theatre Company, from the Franklin community, performs a variety of plays throughout the year in the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts including drama, comedy, and seasonal specials. The theatre can also be rented by individuals for meetings and presentations when available.

The facility includes 1,495 seats with 8 designated locations for wheelchairs or electric chairs. There really isn’t a bad seat in the house as the seats gradually incline towards the back row. It’s 80 feet from the front row to the back. The intimacy of the first few rows is most appealing. You almost feel like you’re a part of the performance, despite the orchestra pit buffering the first row from the stage. The balcony is built neatly over the back rows of the main floor and features its own elevated seating – accessible from the lobby elevator.

The Annie Moses Band (www.anniemosesband.com), who recently returned for a performance at the SMCPA, played to a packed house. The group, made up of 8 family members, a drummer, and a couple of back-up singers, had the sound of a full string symphony complete with a piano player on the baby grand (the actual father of the family), and Annie herself who doubled as lead violin and vocalist. The Annie Moses Band gave a profound performance not only from a musical standpoint but also from their stage presence, costume and make up, and the band’s genuine ability to “play to the crowd.” The theater is hoping for a return engagement for the 2012 season.

Be sure to visit the SMCPA website, www.greatmountainmusic.com and add your e-mail address to their newsletter service. Every registrant is sent a line-up of artists and entertainers as soon as they are booked. Tickets can be purchased on-line as well through the site.

Since the Smoky Mountain Center for Performing Arts is located just a block off of Hwy 441 (Georgia Hwy), adjacent the interchange with Hwy 64, the choices for good food, before or after performances, are close by the venue. From steak houses to diners and fast food, many choices are available within a few blocks. If you would like to make a weekend trip out of your visit to the theatre, several good motels, franchise and private, and B&B’s are within just a mile or two of the venue.

With the Smoky Mountain Center for Performing Arts in Franklin, NC you get a state-of-the-art theatre experience surrounded by great people, enjoying Broadway-type entertainment – like the Annie Moses Band – at a very reasonable price. This is a showcase Franklin, NC and the Great Smoky Mountains community can really be proud of.

Country Tonite Theater

16 Spectacular Seasons in Pigeon Forge

Country Tonite Theater - Pigeon ForgeFor years, during the height of the live theater shows in Pigeon Forge, the variety show was the staple form of entertainment.  Now, you can still see variety show excellence at Country Tonite, right on the Parkway in Pigeon Forge.  Located at traffic light 1 in Pigeon Forge, Country Tonite is easily found  and in fact a short walk from some of the major hotels.  The show boats world-class entertainers and even brings in some nationally known talent in the Celebrity Concert series.  And then there is Christmas at Country Tonite which is one of the best ways to get you and your family into the Christmas spirit.

The main show at Country Tonite is a country music variety show the likes of which you have never seen before.  Packing the theater with more than a thousand people nightly, and bringing enough entertainment to fill a theater twice its size, Country Tonite puts on the best of today’s country music along with some of the great hits from the past.  Dancing, singing, comedy and much more are packed into each and every show.

Country Tonite Theater - Pigeon ForgeBut what happens when you take the variety show greatness that is Country Tonite and mix in a heaping helping of Christmas… you get one of the best Christmas Shows in the area.  Dripping from every corner of the stage, you will fill like an elf exploded in the theater.  Christmas favorites and plenty of good ole country fun are there for the taking at the Country Tonite Christmas show.  And of course, what Christmas Show in the Smokies would be complete without the big guy – yes, Santa makes an appearance in each and every Christmas Show at the Country Tonite Theater.

Of course, if you want something different, each year the Country Tonite Theater hosts a Celebrity Concert Series.  These celebrity artist were the people that made country music what it is today.  They laid the foundation for modern stars.  Each season, celebrities like:  Mel Tillis, Merl Haggard, George Jones, Ray Stevens and many more cause their fans to make a rush for the seats at the Country Tonite theater.  Packing the people in the seats, these stars from yesteryear prove why they are still superstars.  Get your tickets early because these shows almost always sale out.  Just think, while you are on vacation you have the chance to see some of the greats from country music’s history that made that genre of music popular.

Country Tonite Theater - Pigeon ForgeMake sure that you check out Country Tonite will you are on vacation in the Smokies.  See what a variety show should be like.  Experience all they have to offer, whether you are taking in the regular show, their Christmas show or one of the celebrities they work with to bring world class entertainment to the Tennessee side of the Smokies each and every year.

Country Tonite Theater
129 Showplace Slvd
Pigeon Forge, TN

Horn in the West

Horn in the WestHorn in the West,” created by Kermit Hunter, is the nation’s oldest Revolutionary War drama. It tells the story of Daniel Boone and the first people to settle the hills of East Tennessee and Western North Carolina. Since 1952, Horn in the West has told a story of struggle set against the backdrop of the American Revolution. It’s a struggle for freedom, family and country.

Throughout the years, thousands of cast members have taken part in the story. Three key roles – that of Daniel Boone, Dr. Geoffrey Stuart, and the Reverend Isaiah Sims, have come highlight the outdoor drama that takes place every summer at the Daniel Boone Amphitheatre in Boone, NC.

Horn in the WestThe settlers who ventured to the Blue Ridge Mountains seeking freedom and escape from British tyranny is the main crux of play and what the action centers around. Stuart, a British physician of note, is brought to the Carolinas in order to better understand smallpox and the beginnings of this devastating epidemic. Along with Stuart are his wife, Martha, and Jack, their teenage son.

In May of 1771, “Regulators” – a colonial gang, challenge the British authorities with violent resistance. These rebels are eventually captured, along with Stuart, who along with Regulators fought tooth and nail against the British. Now, it’s Stuart who must save his son and take back his family name.

Through scenes of romance, toil, and perseverance, the Stuart Family and the small Western North Carolina community begin to flourish behind the leadership of the doctor, and Rev. Sims. It’s the doctor who wages a friendship between settlers and the Cherokee Indians. With British officials pushing for war between the Cherokee and the settlers, Dr. Stuart’s medical training helps forge a bond between the native Indians and the villagers. Nane’hi, daughter of a Cherokee Chief, and Daniel Boone, also play vital roles in maintaining the freedom of the mountain settlement.

For Stuart it also becomes an inner battle he must wage for the love of a son and his loyalty to his home country of England. In the end, the doctor, Jake, and the entire community start out on the long trek to King’s Mountain. It’s there that the future of a new nation, and a free nation, begin.

Having begun in mid-June and running until mid-August, the Horn observed its 62nd consecutive production season this past summer of 2012.