Posts Tagged ‘Pigeon Forge’

Park Volunteer Receives Regional Recognition

Release Date: September 25, 2019

Contact: Jamie Sanders, Jamie_Sanders@nps.gov, 865-436-1203

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is pleased to announce that dedicated Park Volunteer, Jim Goddard, has won the National Park Service Southeast Regional Hartzog Award for Enduring Service. Mr. Goddard will be presented the Award in appreciation of his significant skills, talent, and time which he has shared with the park for well over two decades.

“We are so very pleased to announce Mr. Goddard as this year’s recipient of the prestigious regional Hartzog Award for Enduring Service,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash.  “Jim has provided a tremendous service to the visitors of the Smokies.  He has been instrumental in ensuring that visitors are able to safely navigate the park trail system and in the preservation of the park’s cultural history. His legacy will live on for generations to come and it is an honor to recognize him for his contributions.”

Jim has served continuously as a Volunteer-In-Park for more than 23 years.  His creation of iconic wooden signage allows hikers of all skill levels to safely explore the 850 miles of backcountry trails in the Smokies. He has created signs, performed trail maintenance, and helped restore and preserve fragile cultural resources. Jim’s craftsmanship has been applied to one-of-a-kind replicas of church benches, school desks, and tub mills. He creates custom shelving, educational tools, mile-marker posts, wayside exhibit carts, and display cases which can be enjoyed at park visitor centers and overlooks. Jim also personalizes wooden arrowheads to present to National Park Service employees as they transfer to other parks or leave the service for retirement.

In addition to Jim’s hands-on contributions, he offers services to the park community and to visitors in helping to plan, coordinate, and facilitate popular special events. Due to his stewardship, Jim was selected to serve as one of the official Ambassadors for the 75th Anniversary of GRSM. He assumed that role again in 2016 as part of the National Park Service Centennial celebrations.

This year, the park is pleased to also recognize three additional Volunteers-In-Park for their outstanding service contributions. They are Campground Hosts Clyde and Deborah Whitaker and Herbarium Assistant Janie Bitner.

Each year, Volunteers-In-Park perform a variety of activities at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. These include: providing valuable visitor information, removing litter, eradicating invasive plant species, assisting with cultural demonstrations, participating in special events, providing practical support for visitors along roads and trails, assisting with data collection, maintaining backcountry campsites, helping biologists monitor wildlife populations and serving in the role of campground hosts. The park has well over 2,800 Volunteers who provide many hours of service to the national park every year. To learn more about Great Smoky Mountains National Park Volunteer-In-Park Program visit http://www.nps.gov/grsm/getinvolved/volunteer.htm.

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Dollywood’s Harvest Festival, Great Pumpkin Luminights Return for Fantastic Fall Family Fun

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Tuesday, September 24, 2019) — Family-friendly fall fun is back at Dollywood’s Harvest Festival presented by Humana, thanks to the return of Great Pumpkin LumiNights. Now in its third season, Great Pumpkin LumiNights expands again this year by growing the glow to Wildwood Grove.

An overwhelming guest-favorite since it was introduced in 2017, Great Pumpkin LumiNights recently was named the country’s Best Theme Park Halloween Event in the 2019 USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice travel awards. This year, Great Pumpkin LumiNights includes an expanded footprint into Wildwood Grove, new harvest-themed experiences, food and merchandise; as well as activities that are enjoyable for even the youngest guests.

Dollywood’s Harvest Festival runs Sept. 27- Nov. 2 (closed Tuesday, Oct. 22 & Tuesday, Oct. 29) with park operating hours each day from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m., providing guests more time to enjoy harvest time in the Smokies. Popular pumpkin displays from past events return—like the pumpkin spider, pumpkin dance party and Dolly-inspired displays— while Wildwood Grove joins the fun for the first time with a harvest experience at The Wildwood Tree.

The Plaza at Wilderness Pass again serves as a centerpiece for the event with an area for character interaction, additional displays—and the focal point—a 40 ft. tall pumpkin tree featuring larger-than-life carved pumpkins. Families bask in the glow of thousands of intricately-carved pumpkins as they wander through displays in Dollywood’s Timber Canyon, Wilderness Pass, Wildwood Grove and upper Craftsman’s Valley areas. Beyond the impressive displays, guests can find a number of exciting activities to create thrilling memories together.

“I’m so glad to hear families are just lovin’ Great Pumpkin LumiNights,” Dolly Parton said. “When I was a kid, we’d love to get pumpkins, scoop out all those guts from the inside and carve these beautiful masterpieces—at least us kids thought they were masterpieces! But, it makes me just feel good to know families are able to spend time together exploring during what really is the most beautiful time of year in the Smokies.”

While Great Pumpkin LumiNights lights up Dollywood each evening, the biggest names in Southern gospel music lift their voices each day as part of the Southern Gospel Jubilee. Guests can experience more than 600 individual Southern gospel performances on stages throughout the park during the run of the festival. It’s the largest Southern gospel event in America, fitting for the music icon who got her start singing in churches around the Smokies.

“God truly does turn the Smokies into His own personal coloring book during the fall,” Parton added. “And nothing fits so well with those colorful fall mountains than the uplifting Southern gospel songs that fill the air with powerful praise for Him. I’m proud we’re able to have some of the best Southern gospel singers here during the Harvest Festival.”

Headlining acts include The Martins (Sept. 27-28), The McKameys (Oct. 4-5), Ernie Haase and Signature Sound (Oct. 12-13), The Isaacs (Oct. 18-19), Karen Peck and New River (Oct. 20-21), Gold City (Oct. 27-28) and many more. A complete schedule of artists, show times and stage locations is available at Dollywood.com.

Dollywood celebrates Smoky Mountain crafts all year with the park’s well-known master craftsmen. During the Harvest Festival, however, more than two dozen visiting artisans from across the country provide in-depth demonstrations including woodworking, chainsaw carvings, fiddle-making and more. Guests can find inspirational jewelry, historic handmade games, pottery, hand-painted Christmas ornaments, and even Windsor chairs available for purchase.

Autumn in the Smokies also provides a bountiful harvest of crops that allows Dollywood’s culinary team an opportunity to showcase their skills with a menu full of fall favorites. Guests can find traditional items like cabbage rolls, pierogies, sausage sandwiches, skillet potatoes, apple cider and fried apple pies. A number of new tasty treats also are on the menu, including chicken Applewood pasta, Reuben wontons, candy corn cider and chocolate chip cookie pizza.

For more information about Dollywood’s Harvest Festival featuring Southern Gospel Jubilee and Great Pumpkin LumiNights, please visit dollywood.com, call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD, or download the Dollywood App.

 

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 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 35 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, and has been named a top three US theme park by USA Today on multiple occasions. Dollywood is open nine months a year (mid-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. 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 dollywood.com. Operating days and hours vary.

 Dollywood Media Contacts:

Pete Owens: Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations, (865) 428-9486, (865) 755-7972 or powens@dollywood.com

Wes Ramey: Senior Public Relations Manager, (865) 428-9484, (865) 640-3805 or wramey@dollywood.com

Ellen Liston: Senior Publicist, (865) 428-9629, (865) 919-7001 or eliston@dollywood.com

Amber Davis: New Media and Digital Publicist, (865) 428-9601, (865) 591-1002 or aldavis@dollywood.com

Jennifer Webb: Publicist, (865) 428-9660, (865) 323-7584 or jwebb@dollywood.com

For B-roll, photography and more information, visit the Dollywood Media Room at http://www.dollywood.com/Media/Media-Room

Park Dedicates Dean Stone Bridge

Release Date: September 23, 2019

Contact: Jamie Sanders, Jamie_Sanders@nps.gov, 865-436-1203

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials unveiled a bronzed marker along the Foothills Parkway at the newly dedicated Dean Stone Bridge between Walland and Wears Valley.

“Dean Stone was one of the park’s most dedicated advocates and we are honored to have the opportunity to pay tribute to his tireless efforts in creating support for the completion of the Foothills Parkway,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash.

Authorized by Congress on February 22, 1944, the Foothills Parkway is one of seven congressionally mandated parkways. The newest section, completed in 2018, includes a 1.65-mile section connected by nine bridges. Senator Lamar Alexander and Congressman John Duncan introduced legislation to name the longest of these bridges after Dean Stone in honor of his dedication, advocacy, and persistence in securing support for the completion of the Foothills Parkway. The legislation was passed as part of the Dingell Act (P.L. 116 9) in 2019.

 Stone, longtime editor for The Daily Times in Maryville, TN, was a staunch supporter of the park and served for over 30 years as a Board Member and Chairman of the Governor-appointed Tennessee Park Commission before passing away in 2016.

The completion of the roadway was made possible due to a decades-long partnership among the State of Tennessee, Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT), the Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division (EFLHD) of the Federal Highway Administration, and the National Park Service (NPS) at a total cost of $178 million. Funding for the final paving was provided through a $10 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) VIII grant secured by the Tennessee Department of Transportation along with $15 million from the State of Tennessee and $7 million through the NPS Federal Lands Transportation Program.

The Foothills Parkway now consists of two finished sections at either end of the 72-mile corridor. The western section now extends 33 continuous miles from Chilhowee to Wears Valley, offering a new recreational experience for motorists and cyclists. The eastern section, completed in 1968, extends 6 miles from Cosby to Interstate 40 presenting breathtaking views of Mt. Cammerer.

For more information about exploring scenic drives in the park, please visit the park’s website at https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/autotouring.htm.

 

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Dollywood Earns Three Golden Ticket Awards

Most-honored park wins for best kids area, best guest experience, and best Christmas event

PIGEON FORGE, Tennessee (Monday, September 9, 2019)—Dollywood certainly has earned a number of major accolades in recent years, and the Smoky Mountain theme park won three more on Saturday night during Amusement Today’s Golden Ticket Awards ceremony held at Silverwood theme park in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Dollywood earned finalist placement in seven total categories and won more awards than any other park.

Two categories Dollywood has dominated for a number of years—Best Shows and Friendliest Park—have been retired and replaced with new categories. Best Guest Experience combines the previous Friendliest Park award with the Cleanest Park award into one prestigious new category. On Saturday night, Dollywood became the inaugural winner for Best Guest Experience of any theme park in the world. The park’s expansive new Wildwood Grove also won Best Kids’ Area for the first time, while the Smoky Mountain Christmas festival earned its 12th consecutive win for Best Christmas Event. Dollywood is the only park in the world to ever win the Christmas award.

“I’m so proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish here since we opened Dollywood in 1986,” Dolly Parton said. “First, we’ve been able to provide so many jobs to the great people who live here in the Smokies. Second, I wanted the world to know how beautiful this area truly is. I’ve been able to travel the world and see so many great things, but in the end, the Smokies are where my heart sings. I wanted to give folks the world over a reason to come here and see it for themselves.

“We don’t do what we do to win awards,” she continued. “They are nice, but we do it because we want to provide families an escape to a beautiful place where they can forget about all the things going on in their daily lives and truly enjoy each other.”

According to Craig Ross, President of The Dollywood Company, the addition of Wildwood Grove and Dollywood’s strong heritage of family fun certainly led to the park’s impressive showing. Wildwood Grove’s immersive theme and design, mix of unique outdoor and indoor attractions, as well as the one-of-a-kind Wildwood Tree experience have all combined to create this extraordinary new area.

“Dolly wanted Wildwood Grove to truly reflect the experiences she had as a little girl growing up here in the Great Smoky Mountains,” Ross stated. “As we started to develop the area and she began telling stories—some we had heard and some we hadn’t—we knew kids were going to love exploring the wilderness of Wildwood Grove she had dreamed up. The attractions included in this tremendous land were selected because they reminded her of those same dreams and memories she had from her childhood. The Golden Ticket for Best Kids’ Area reinforces what guests have been telling us since it opened; Wildwood Grove is a place where families can laugh, play and make memories together.”

Pete Owens, Vice-President of Marketing and Public Relations, shared why Dollywood has long been known as one of the most enjoyable theme park experiences in the world.

“Winning the Golden Ticket for Best Guest Experience further solidifies what we’ve known for so long,” he began. “The Dollywood experience provides guests a genuinely friendly, clean and warm environment to create memories they will be able to share forever. From our welcoming hosts and picturesque natural surroundings to our unique attractions, entertainment and food, Dollywood offers an experience that is hard to find elsewhere.”

Dollywood also had Top Ten (finalist) positions in four additional categories:

·   Best Food, second place;

·   Best Park, second place;

·   Most Beautiful Park, third place;

·   Best Wooden Coaster for Lightning Rod, seventh place.

“It has been fascinating to observe the results over the past two decades. I have watched Dollywood ascend from a great regional theme park to a world-famous destination,” said Amusement Today’s Tim Baldwin, Golden Ticket Awards Communications Coordinator. “That continual climb has been the result of offering an outstanding product at all levels — food, shows, innovative rides and a fantastic atmosphere. Dollywood is just the complete package! It has been inspiring to watch the park trying to continue to better itself — and it is succeeding in a huge way. The fact that they are recognized in numerous categories is testimony to that.”

Calculated from an international poll conducted by Amusement Today, the industry’s leading trade publication, the Golden Ticket Awards are the results of a detailed survey sent to a database of experienced and well-traveled amusement park fans around the world in balanced geographical regions. Voters are asked to rate the “best” in a number of categories such as best parks, roller coasters, water rides, kids’ area, food and more.

The Golden Ticket Awards are the most sought after awards in the business of amusements and attractions. The awards have become the subject of much discussion by park aficionados the world over and garnered mentions in such notable media outlets as USA Today and the Chicago Tribune, and by the late radio newsman Paul Harvey. The awards also were the topic of a one-hour Travel Channel documentary.

There are still a number of great opportunities for guests to enjoy what has arguably become the biggest season in Dollywood’s history. Dollywood’s Harvest Festival presented by Humana features the return of an even larger Great Pumpkin LumiNights, which includes new experiences in Wildwood Grove! Additionally, more than 600 Southern gospel concerts take place throughout the festival.

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana, now the 12-time winner for Best Christmas event, features the second year of Glacier Ridge, as well as the first year of Christmas in Wildwood Grove. Now boasting five million spectacular lights, Smoky Mountain Christmas puts guests in the holiday spirit with stunning lights displays, tantalizing food options, traditional shows and fun experiences like the Parade of Many Colors and Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer and friends.

For more information about Dollywood, visit Dollywood.com, call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD or download the Dollywood App.

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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 35 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, and has been named a top three US theme park by USA Today on multiple occasions. Dollywood is open nine months a year (mid-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. 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 dollywood.com. Operating days and hours vary.

Dollywood Media Contacts:

Pete Owens: Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations, (865) 428-9486, (865) 755-7972 or powens@dollywood.com

Wes Ramey: Senior Public Relations Manager, (865) 428-9484, (865) 640-3805 or wramey@dollywood.com

Ellen Liston: Senior Publicist, (865) 428-9629, (865) 919-7001 or eliston@dollywood.com

Amber Davis: New Media and Digital Publicist, (865) 428-9601, (865) 591-1002 or aldavis@dollywood.com

Jennifer Webb: Publicist, (865) 428-9660, (865) 323-7584 or jwebb@dollywood.com

For B-roll, photography and more information, visit the Dollywood Media Room at http://www.dollywood.com/Media/Media-Room

Dollywood’s Great Pumpkin LumiNights Wins USA Today 10Best Award

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Friday, September 6, 2019) — Dollywood’s Great Pumpkin LumiNights has won the 2019 USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice travel award for Best Theme Park Halloween Event, thanks to the votes of park supporters from around the country.

Entering its third season this year, Great Pumpkin LumiNights—part of Dollywood’s Harvest Festival presented by Humana (Sept. 27-Nov. 2)—has become a new Smoky Mountain tradition with family-friendly activities that are sure to please kids of every age. Dollywood stays open until 9 p.m. each evening (closed Oct. 22 & 29) allowing families more time to enjoy the glow of thousands of carved pumpkins throughout the park.

The 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards include nominees chosen by a panel of relevant experts. The public voting happens digitally on the 10Best.com website. After four weeks of voting, the results are revealed. Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights finished second to Dollywood, with Halloween Haunt at Kings Island third. The complete top-10 can be found on the 10Best.com website.

“We knew Great Pumpkin LumiNights was a hit during the first few evenings of the event in 2017,” said Pete Owens, Dollywood Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations. “We received a lot of great feedback from guests about how much they liked it, but also about what we could add and change to make it even better. Last year, we doubled the size of Great Pumpkin LumiNights by putting in a number of new displays, and this year the event grows even larger with the addition of Wildwood Grove, which includes the harvest story experience at the Wildwood Tree.

“Awards like these give us the opportunity to share with the world what our guests already know,” he continued. “The memories made and experiences shared at Dollywood really are unlike anything found elsewhere. We hope new guests will come see why this event has earned the title of best in the country!”

Great Pumpkin LumiNights grows again in 2019, stretching into the newly-opened Wildwood Grove. In addition to the pumpkin displays, the Wildwood Tree tells a Smoky Mountain harvest story multiple times each evening. The Plaza at Wilderness Pass also serves as a main centerpiece for the event with an area for character interaction, additional displays and a 40 ft. tall pumpkin tree.

Families will bask in the glow of thousands of intricately-carved pumpkins as they wander through displays throughout Dollywood’s Timber Canyon, Wilderness Pass and upper Craftsman’s Valley areas. Beyond the impressive displays, guests can find a number of exciting activities to create thrilling memories together.

Dollywood’s Harvest Festival also includes several hundred performances by award-winning Southern gospel artists, making the Harvest Festival’s Southern Gospel Jubilee the genre’s largest event in America. Dollywood guests also can enjoy the spectacular artistry of visiting crafters from across the country or sample the special harvest-themed food items from Dollywood’s award-winning foods team. Each day is a picture-perfect opportunity for families to enjoy the experiences of a Smoky Mountain harvest!

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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 35 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, and has been named a top three US theme park by USA Today on multiple occasions. Dollywood is open nine months a year (mid-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. 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 dollywood.com. Operating days and hours vary.

Media Contacts:

Pete Owens: Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations, (865) 428-9486, (865) 755-7972 or powens@dollywood.com

Wes Ramey: Senior Public Relations Manager, (865) 428-9484, (865) 640-3805 or wramey@dollywood.com

Ellen Liston: Senior Publicist, (865) 428-9629, (865) 919-7001 or eliston@dollywood.com

Amber Davis: New Media and Digital Publicist, (865) 428-9601, (865) 591-1002 or aldavis@dollywood.com

Jennifer Webb: Publicist, (865) 428-9602, (865) 323-7584 or jwebb@dollywood.com

For B-roll, photography and more information, visit the Dollywood Media Room at http://www.dollywood.com/Media/Media-Room

Park Hosts Mountain Life Festival

Release Date: September 4, 2019

 Contact: Florie Takaki, 828-497-1905, florie_takaki@nps.gov

Great Smoky Mountains National Park will host the annual Mountain Life Festival near the Oconaluftee Visitor Center at the Mountain Farm Museum on Saturday, September 14 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Visitors will have the opportunity to experience traditional fall harvest activities on the farm including hearth cooking, apple butter making, blacksmithing, lye soap making, and food preservation. All activities are free and open to the public.

This event preserves the legacy of Appalachian mountainways and is a tribute to the many families who lived on lands that later become the national park. The spirit of cooperation that existed among families and neighbors is reflected throughout the activities. The Mountain Life Festival coincides with our monthly music jam sessions held on the porch of the Oconaluftee Visitor Center from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. every first and third Saturday of the month.

The Mountain Farm Museum is located adjacent to the park’s Oconaluftee Visitor Center on Newfound Gap Road in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, two miles north of Cherokee, North Carolina. The free event is supported by Great Smoky Mountains Association. For more information call the visitor center at 828-497-1904.

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Park Hosts Star Gazing Event at Cades Cove

Release Date: September 3, 2019

Contact: 

Beth Bramhall, Beth_Bramhall@nps.gov, 865-448-4123

Lisa Nagurny, Lisa_Nagurny@nps.gov, 865-448-4104

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is hosting a stargazing program in Cades Cove on Saturday, September 7, 2019 beginning at 7:30 p.m. Park rangers invite the public to escape the city lights and observe the natural night sky for an evening of viewing stars with equipment and instruction provided by the Smoky Mountain Astronomical Society.

Depending on visibility, visitors will experience close-up observations of the planet Jupiter and its moons, a quarter moon high in the sky, and several constellations. With night sky conditions protected in the park, the natural dark sky can be an awe-inspiring experience. In case of rain or cloud cover where night skies are not visible, the program will be cancelled.

All participants should park at the orientation shelter at the entrance to the Cades Cove Loop Road. A park ranger will walk with the group one-half mile to a nearby field to the viewing location at dusk. The Cades Cove Loop Road is closed at sunset to motor vehicles and participants are not allowed to drive to the viewing site or to park along the Loop Road. Participants are expected to walk back to the parking area in the dark. Those planning to attend should wear comfortable walking shoes, dress warmly, and bring a flashlight.

Participants are also encouraged to bring a lawn chair or blanket for sitting, along with binoculars which can be used for stargazing. To preserve the integrity of the telescope lenses, smoking is not allowed near the site. Carpooling is strongly encouraged as parking is limited.

The program is subject to postponement due to rain or cloud cover. If the weather is questionable, participants should call the day of the event to confirm that the program will take place at 865-448-4122 or visit www.facebook.com/SmokyMountainAstronomicalSociety.

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World’s First Cable-to-Rail Zipline Roller Coaster Opens in Pigeon Forge, TN

Media Contact:

Josh Mayberry, Paula Deen’s Lumberjack

Feud Show & Adventure Park

jmayberry@topconcepts.us

(865) 280-1550

 

Family Friendly Adventure Now Open at Lumberjack Square

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. – Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud Show & Adventure Park, in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, has officially opened the Flying Ox, the world’s first cable-to-rail zipline roller coaster.

The one-of-a-kind Flying Ox zipline roller coaster takes riders on a thrilling 1,000-foot-long ride 80 feet in the air above Lumberjack Square in the zipline position. Instead of traveling in a straight line, riders wind, drop, and soar through the air at approximately 15 miles per hour. The Flying Ox combines the thrill of ziplining with the track features of a roller coaster into one family fun attraction.

The new attraction was inspired by the history of the local logging industry. It is just one of several experiences located in the lumberjack-themed adventure park that opened in late 2018. Guests also can enjoy scenic views from the attraction’s 80-foot-tall observation tower.

“With the addition of the Flying Ox, Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud Show & Adventure Park is the only location in the world where thrill seekers can ride a cable-to-rail zipline roller coaster,” said Vice President of Marketing Josh Mayberry. “Lumberjack Square strives to provide a unique experience where guests can watch a lumberjack show then try their hand at some of the competitive events they see performed by the professional lumberjacks.”

Guests can experience a log roll and boom run while secured by harnesses that keep participants from landing in the water. A lumberjack-themed ropes course, speed climb towers, and a simulated free-fall from an 80-foot-tall jump platform are also offered. In the coming months, the park will be adding springboard chop and cross-cut saw attractions.

To engineer the new attraction, Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud partnered with CLIMB Works, the leader in the zipline industry. CLIMB Works is committed to exceeding safety standards and guest expectations.

The guest reviews at Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud Show & Adventure Park have been outstanding so far, and the team is excited to share a unique experience with everyone that visits Pigeon Forge! The park can accommodate groups of up to 400 per hour and is open daily rain or shine. Guests can purchase tickets at the Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud box office on the Parkway in Pigeon Forge or online.

For more information about Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud Adventure Park, please visit https://lumberjackfeud.com/.

About Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud Show & Adventure Park

Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud Show & Adventure Park, recently voted Best New Business by

PigeonForge.com, is a one of a kind entertainment complex offering affordable fun for families

and groups. Showcased by our world-class lumberjacks and our one-of-a-kind adventure park,

the attraction provides the area’s newest entertainment destination. Paula Deen’s Lumberjack

Feud Show & Adventure Park is a must-see on your next family vacation. For more information,

visit https://lumberjackfeud.com/ or call 865-366-3330.

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Additional Information

Josh Mayberry

Jmayberry (at) topconcetps (dot) us

(865) 280-1550

Park Superintendent Recognizes First African American Naturalist

Contact: Dana Soehn, Dana_Soehn@nps.gov, 865-436-1207

On Thursday, August 29, Great Smoky Mountains National Park Superintendent Cassius Cash had the unique opportunity to meet and recognize Dr. Joe Lee, of Jupiter, FL, for his service as the first African American Park Naturalist. Superintendent Cash presented Dr. Lee with a mounted ranger hat in honor of his contribution to the history of the National Park Service.

“We were overwhelmed with excitement when Dr. Lee reached out to park staff last week to share his recollections of working in the park,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “His service fifty years ago broke employment barriers that once discouraged people of color from seeking employment in National Parks. He stepped bravely into unknown territory and paved a path for people like me to follow in his footsteps.”

The Superintendent also presented Dr. Lee with a framed photograph of all the park naturalists working in 1967, including two additional African Americans who are now deceased. Dr. Lee shared memories of his park service journey with high school students, public officials, and the media at an event held today at William T. Dwyer High School in Jupiter, FL.

“I am overwhelmed that officials from the park would come to see me in the twilight of my life and recognize me as a trailblazer by being the first African American Park Ranger Naturalist in the Smokies,” said Dr. Joe Lee. “I have a deep, abiding respect for Superintendent Cash for following up on the call I made about my time as a Park Ranger. Now, I have proof for my grandchildren and their children about my time in the Great Smokies.”

The park has recently embarked in an effort to better understand, share, and preserve the rich history of African Americans who lived in and around the southern Appalachian mountain region, both before and after the establishment of the park. Park officials held two community open house events in early August in Maryville, TN and Waynesville, NC to invite the public to share their personal experiences or family stories in an effort to better understand the collective African American experience in southern Appalachia. PhD Student, Adam McNeil, is the lead research assistant for the project and participated in an oral history interview with Dr. Lee which was captured on film by Great Smoky Mountains Association Videographer Valerie Polk.

The National Park Service (NPS) strives to preserve the history of all people across the nation. Through this important project, the park is uncovering untold stories of African Americans who visited, lived, and worked in this region. The research is supported by Great Smoky Mountains Association and Friends of the Smokies. For more information on how you can be involved, please contact Acting Resource Education Chief Susan Sachs at susan_sachs@nps.gov.

-NPS-

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The NPS commemorated the first landing of enslaved Africans 400 years ago in English-occupied North America at Virginia’s Point Comfort, now part of Fort Monroe National Monument on August 25, 2019. Throughout the next year, parks will host events to recognize and highlight 400 years of African American history and accomplishments. Civic, historical, educational, artistic, religious, and other organizations are invited to coordinate and participate in activities designed to expand the collective understanding and appreciation of African American contributions to the American experience. For more information, visit the NPS website at www.nps.gov/orgs/1892/africanamericanhistorycommission.htm.

The Comedy Barn Theater Celebrates 25 Seasons of Laughs in 2019

Special Anniversary Show on July 30 Highlights Family Fun, Years of Creating Memories

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Wednesday, July 31, 2019) – Twenty-five years of laughs, family fun and clean comedy are being celebrated at The Comedy Barn Theater in Pigeon Forge this year, and a special show on Tuesday night, July 30 commemorated this special entertainment milestone.

Here are the basics if you’ve never experienced what has been awarded the title of Pigeon Forge’s Funniest Show year after year.  This hilarious show combines the talents and fun antics of magicians, comedians, jugglers, ventriloquists, and even members of the audience in a variety of fun routines that offer surprises and laughs galore. Lovable animals take the stage for more family fun, while live country and gospel music as well as Smoky Mountain clogging also take center stage with memorable performances that everyone in attendance will enjoy.

Four original cast members have been entertaining young and old at The Comedy Barn Theater since the first show in 1994, and they each have favorite memories and parts of the act that they find special and offer some of the many reasons why people come to this show – and even more why they keep coming back year after year. Ron Jeffery came to the area 35 years ago to play bass for Hee Haw legend Archie Campbell’s show, then joined the original Comedy Barn cast. Eric Lambert was one of the original comedians, Buddy Cline has been the band’s drummer since that first night, and Charlie King has provided the band with its guitar melodies for all 25 years.  Kathy Kearney, now Executive Assistant to the General Manager at the Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show, also came on board – first selling tickets for the show and then joining the cast in the magician and animal acts.

Jeffery says he knows what makes the Comedy Barn so special.  “The whole place is a family, and everyone has been here so long, everyone gets along. People come in here to see (comedian) Danny (Devaney), to see me and Eric. It’s just such a unique situation that keeps people coming back.” Kearney noted that it’s two very simple ingredients that set this show apart: “Good clean comedy and laughter are what has made it such a favorite throughout the years.”

Cline added that while the show has played for two and a half decades, each night is a different experience. “The audience makes the show so special, because it’s different every night. The people you have up on stage, like Eric, you never know what he is going to do. Even though we have been doing it for 25 years, some person could come on stage (in the audience participation segments) and do it totally different and do something we have never seen before.”

While this show celebrates its 25th anniversary of entertaining Smoky Mountain visitors, the troupe at The Comedy Barn knows that each show is an opportunity to provide special memories for those in attendance. Jeffery says he remembers one couple who came 15 times in one year. “You get to know the guests by name, you get to know their kids, and 25 years later, you get to know their grandkids. It is just amazing how generations of families come to Comedy Barn.” King echoed those comments. “It is awesome to be a part of something this life-changing as far as lots of customers coming back year after year after year after year. We see the same folks come back from Texas, Florida, Georgia, and California just to name a few places. What we have here is very special; it is like no other.”

The cast enjoys their jobs, and it shows on stage – to the audience and to their fellow entertainers. “My favorite thing that I get to do is improvisation (with the audience),” Lambert said, “that freedom to say something that will make everyone laugh from ages three to 90 is what makes this a wonderful, challenging and rewarding job.” King says he just loves doing what he does – playing the guitar – and loves to hear Kendall Manning sing. “And of course, I love Danny and Eric. Those two are absolutely unbelievable – just fantastic comedians.” Cline loves the interaction with fellow original Ron Jeffery on the Hank Snow classic “I’ve Been Everywhere.” “Even though we’ve done the number so much, it’s still fun to play every show (after 25 years).”

This award-winning comedy variety adventure shows no signs of slowing down as it heads into its next 25 years. “I knew that (we) would be here 25 years later,” Lambert said. “The reason is that we always intended for this to be something that took a stand; we built the Comedy Barn on the principles of clean family comedy and audience interactions; those things are eternal.” His co-star Charlie King summed it up similarly. “The night of the first show just seemed like everything worked. Everybody was just happy performing with each other, and we still are. Throughout the years, it’s been easy for us to accept new cast members as they become part of the family. The people that I work with have been so amazing – we are like family.” Jeffery added, “After one week, I had a feeling this was something pretty special.” Kearney summed up why she is still part of The Comedy Barn family after 25 years: “It’s home.”

Millions of new laughs can be heard just ahead as the Comedy Barns heads into its next decades of good clean fun. “It’s our job to make our guests laugh,” Lambert said, “and in 25 years, we have learned very well how to make families laugh.”

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About Great Choice Investments:  Great Choice Investments, LLC, doing business as Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud, Smoky Mountain Opry, The Comedy Barn Theater, and Frizzle Chicken Farmhouse Café, operates dinner show venues, theaters, and restaurants for family fun and adventure in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Our dinner 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 eliston@dollywood.com

Tennille McElroy: (865) 429-7183, ext. 320, (865) 809-0292 or tennille@gcipf.com