Wilderness Wildlife Week

Wilderness Wildlife Week in Pigeon Forge Tennessee has become the largest event of its kind in the nation. If you love the outdoors, then you must attend this event in Pigeon Forge.

If you love the outdoors, then Wilderness Wildlife Week in Pigeon Forge is your dream event. Don’t let the “Wildlife” part fool you…this event covers all aspects of the Great Smoky Mountains and the great outdoors worldwide. The event has grown from a single-day “get-together” to a multi-day expo with numerous classes, vendors, activities, and more. There are hikes, field trips, photography contests, and several classes presented by a long list of experts. Many of the classes and activities are designed for children, so this event is perfect for the entire family. There are various levels of hikes ranging from beginner to expert. These hikes are guided by experts of the area and they’ll show you the best places to explore through the Great Smokey Mountains. I first attended this event in the late ’90s and it amazes me every year to see the number and quality of classes & activities grow. The people that you meet and the things that you learn are simply priceless. Perhaps that’s why this event is free of charge!! That’s right…you can attend the classes and experience Wilderness Wildlife Week for free. Like I said, if you like anything about the outdoors, then you owe it to yourself to attend the Wilderness Wildlife Week in Pigeon Forge, TN.

Highlighted events for 2013:

*Photography Contest featuring 7 divisions:

– Amateur
– Professional
– Wildlife
– Landscapes/Seascapes
– Youth & Young Adults (ages 17 and under)
– Great Smoky Mountain Landmarks
– Nature’s Wonders in Black & White

Also new to the contest is the implementation of the Judges’ Choice Award.

*Cades Cove Heritage Track – Experts in the history of Cades Cove bring the past back to life with their historical presentation.

*Echoes of the Smokies! Wilma Durpo presents the history of the Great Smoky Mountains.

*Smoky Mountain Heritage Track – A guided history of Pigeon Forge, Sevier County and the Great Smoky Mountains.

January 12-19,2013

Music Road Hotel & Convention Center in Pigeon Forge

Official website:
Winterfest Wilderness Wildlife Week

For a brochure outlining all the activities of Pigeon Forge Wilderness Week, call 1-800-WINTERFEST or the Pigeon Forge Office of Special Events at (865) 429-7350.

Titanic’s 3rd Annual Ice Carving Competition

When most people think “talent competition”, they’re probably thinking about some American Idol-related singing contest. But when places like the Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge thinks talent competition, they think ice-carving. It’s one of the most wondrous events in the Smokies pitting people with real carving skills to the test.

On the billboards and ad banners it’s the 3rd Annual Professional Ice Carving Competition at the Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge. The first two have been a rousing success similar to most of their big events like fireworks at Thanksgiving and the past year’s anniversary celebration. This year’s ice carving spectacular is Saturday, January 19th from 9am-3pm and chances are that it will be just as big of an event as it was the past two years, if not bigger.

You’ll bear witness to some of the world’s-most celebrated and decorated ice sculptors as they chisel 250-pound blocks of ice into fantastic designs featuring local animals and designs, and other popular images. This FREE one-day family event will take place on Titanic’s outdoor entertainment center. Professionals and amateurs alike will be competing for cash prizes.

The Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge is dedicated to the 2,208 passengers aboard the Titanic when it made its maiden voyage in 1912. The museum in Pigeon Forge features over 400 artifacts that came directly from the remains of the Titanic herself.

For more information, please contact the Titanic Museum Attraction at 800-381-7670.

Wilderness Wildlife Week to Feature 304 Events in 2013

Just 22 years ago when the first Wilderness Wildlife Week was held in Pigeon Forge, there were 4 events scheduled, on a Saturday. This coming year (Jan. 12-19, 2013), 304 events will make up the 8-day happening. Amazing how things have changed.

Yes, you did read that right, that’s 304 different FREE workshops, lectures, panel discussions, mini-concerts, hikes and excursions. And all in the name of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and highlighting its variety of outdoor life and adventure.

Most programs featured during Wilderness Wildlife Week are indoors at the Music Road Hotel Convention Center. For those looking to experience the outdoors, there are 44 hikes and excursions scheduled during the week. From a photo trek in Cades Cove to a four-mile walk through the Elkmont historic district to a strenuous 11-mile hike to Mt. Cammerer, these excursions run the gamut of outdoor adventure in the Smokies.

This year’s keynote speaker is Sam Venable of the Knoxville News Sentinel. He will be speaking on Jan. 12 about “How To Tawlk and Rite Good: An Introduction to the Native Tongue of Southern Appalachia.”

If you’re planning on being in town for Wilderness Wildlife Week, expect something new each day. In all, there are 142 new programs for 2013. Topics range from the “Wonderful Waterfalls of Tennessee,” “Being Bear Smart,” “Searching for Panthers in the Smokies,” “Wild Hog Management in Great Smoky Mountains National Park” and “Advanced Possomology” (songs and stories about possums presented by folklorist Doug Elliott). Other notable programs include workshops surrounding the heritage of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Children can come and have a great time this year as 19 specific programs are planned to get kids involved in the park. An outdoor photography gets children interested in the animals of the Smokies, a beginner’s hiking tour, the importance of owls and knowing how to act if you encounter a bear are just a few of the fun events for kids during the 23rd annual Wilderness Wildlife Week in Pigeon Forge.

One of the more popular events each year are the nature photography workshops instruction on taking pictures and editing images can be gathered from a handful of the region’s most accomplished photographers. Those aren’t the only experts that will be featured this coming year during Wilderness Wildlife Week. Over 200 leading voices in the fields of nature photography, biology, social history, and music, as well as a number of local who grew up around the park make up an exciting week.

In 2012, 33 states, Washington, D.C., Canada, England and New Zealand were represented during the Pigeon Forge event. It’s been named a Southeast Tourism Society Top 20 Event on 10 separate occasions.

For additional details on Wilderness Wildlife Week, including schedules and hike information, visit mypigeonforge.com/wildlife or call 1-800-251-9100.

2013 Pigeon Forge Calendar of Events


23rd Annual Wilderness Wildlife Week (Jan. 12 – 19) – An entire week of nature programming including hikes, seminars, and workshops. Music Road Hotel & Convention Center.

3rd Annual Professional Ice Carving Competition (Jan. 19) – Titanic Museum Attraction, 9 am – 3 pm. Watch the world’s most celebrated ice sculptors chisel 250-pound blocks of ice into fantastic designs. This free one-day family event takes place during Pigeon Forge Winterfest in Titanic’s outdoor entertainment center. Professionals and amateurs will compete for prize monies. For more information, call 800-381-7670.


Sweetheart Month at Titanic Pigeon Forge (Feb. 1 – 28) – Experience love the entire month of February as we tribute romance and lasting love of couples everywhere.

Saddle Up! (Feb. 21 – 24) – Participants enjoy cowboy entertainment and activities. The award-winning Stories & Strings program returns. Register to experience three other concerts, a chuck wagon cookoff, and The Cowboy Dance. Finish out the event with Cowboy Church on Sunday.


Smoky Mountain Springfest (March 12 – June 2) – Marks the beginning of springtime throughout the Smoky Mountains. Experience the brightest spring blooms and buds. Celebrate the melting of snow and the arrival of green grass and home-spun spring-themed events and activities. Smoky Mountain Springfest is March 12 – June 2, 2013.

A Mountain Quiltfest (March 12 – 16) – Each year Quiltfest welcomes over 20,000 visitors from around the country to the Pigeon Forge area. Quilting enthusiasts bring their work to Pigeon Forge and compete in a world-renown, multi-category quilt show.

Great Smoky Easter Arts & Crafts Show (March 29 – 31) – Unique handcrafted gifts and products produced by members of Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community are placed on display and offered for sale as they host their annual Easter show at the Gatlinburg Convention Center.


The 6th Annual Mountain Man Memorial March (April 19 – 20) – One of the largest Gold Star Family recognition ceremonies in the southeast. The Mountain Man Memorial March begins on Friday, April 19th at 8:00 pm. in front of Ripley’s Aquarium where the Gold Star Family Ceremony will take place.

Spring Grand Rod Run (April 19 – 21) – TBA in Pigeon Forge, TN. 1-800-241-4444

63rd Annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage (April 23 – 27) – An annual five-day event in Great Smoky Mountains National Park consisting of a variety of wildflower, fauna, and natural history walks, motorcades, photographic tours, art classes, and indoor seminars.

Princess Tea Party at Titanic Pigeon Forge (April 27) – Space is very limited, and reservations are required. Call 1-800-381-7670.


11th Anniversary Yellow Mustang Show (May 3 – 5) – at The Inn at Christmas Place.

Dolly Parade (May 3) – 6 pm on the Parkway in Pigeon Forge, TN. Dolly has been holding her annual Dolly Parade here in Pigeon Forge. This event kicks off Springfest in the Smoky Mountains and usually draws about 50,000 Dolly lovers and spectators from all over the country. It’s fun, it’s free, and you get to see Dolly herself.

28th Annual Dolly Parade (May 10) – The one and only Dolly Parton rides atop a spectacular float as the Grand Marshal of her annual namesake parade. Join the merriment at 6:00 pm on the Parkway as festive floats, marching bands, and local celebrities pass by. Dolly Parade Photo Gallery

Shrine FunFest Parade (May 11) – 9 am on the Parkway in Pigeon Forge, TN

Annual F-100 Supernationals & All Ford Show (May 16 – 18) – located at Grand Hotel & Convention Center. For more information, call (865) 465-9644 or visit www.f100supernationals.com.

Bloomin’ BBQ and Bluegrass (May 17 – 18) – Enjoy great food and world-class bluegrass music in downtown Sevierville, TN.


Pontiacs in Pigeon Forge (June 7 – 9) – See some of the most gorgeous Pontiacs around. Be sure to attend the 13th Annual show June 7-9, 2013.

All Chevy Supernationals (June 14 – 15) – TBA For more information, call (423) 465-5855.

Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales (June 21 – August 10) – A special time in Gatlinburg, TN featuring costumed musical performers, storytellers and artisans performing throughout the streets.


Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales (July 1 – 31) – A special time in Gatlinburg, TN featuring costumed musical performers, storytellers and artisans performing throughout the streets.

4th of July Midnight Parade (July 3 – 4) – This is the 38th annual parade and billed as “First July Fourth Parade in the Nation!” Parade starts at the stroke of midnight the night of July 3rd in order to officially begin Independence Day on July 4th.

Patriot Festival (July 4) – at Patriot Park in Pigeon Forge, TN.

Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair (July 19 – 28) – Come to Gatlinburg Convention Center and see over 150 booths featuring some of the nation’s finest arts and crafts. Artisans demonstrate their skills offer their original artworks for sale. Enjoy live country & bluegrass. 10:00 am to 6:00 pm daily, Sunday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.


Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales (August 1 – 11) – A special time in Gatlinburg, TN featuring costumed musical performers, storytellers and artisans performing throughout the streets. Enjoy performers through August 11.

Kidabra (August 6 – 9) – The International Association of Family & Kidshow Performers Annual Convention – Registration required. Free Kids Show periodically during convention – call for schedule. Grand Finale Public Show is Friday August 9, 2013 – 8:00 pm admission. (336) 492-7870


Shades of the Past Rod Run (September 6 – 7) – For more information call Dan Draper at (865) 995-2009 or visit www.shadesofthepast.com

Grand Fall Rod Run (September 12 – 15) – Grand Resort Hotel and Convention Center in Pigeon Forge, TN. View the 2012 Fall Grand Rod Run Photo Gallery.


Circle Yer Wagens (October 5 – 6) – Volkswagen Show and Swap Meet at Sevier County Fairgrounds. For more information, call (865) 453-0770.

Dollywood’s ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

If you’re into musicals, and especially Christmas musicals, you’re going to love Dollywood’s version of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. This magical story surrounding Santa Claus’ Christmas Eve visit is set to some familiar holiday tunes and the choreography  will leave you speechless as you enjoy Dollywood’s rendition of a true Christmas miracle.

Featuring a 12-member cast and a 4-piece band, no holiday corner or crack is left unattended to as the cast tells the wondrous  “Twas the Night Before Christmas classic set to music and song. The stage is located at the Rivertown Junction area of Dollywood and shows run at 4:45, 6:45, and 8:15 pm throughout Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas festival.

Stepping through the park gates, you know it’s Christmastime at Dollywood. You’re met by a giant snowman standing beside a larger than life candy cane stands guard as you approach the turnstiles. Thousands of colorful lights adorn The Emporium, the bakery, and the Showstreet Palace. Yes, Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas is underway!

As you walk through the park it is difficult not to feel the chill in the air, even though it may be 70 degrees outside. Reindeer, elves and dozens of other colorful characters line the walkways throughout the park and icicles fall from brightly lit trees.

Just below Dollywood’s Celebrity Theater a Christmas Tree decorated with blue lights and snowflakes replaces the water in the fountain that run the rest of the year. A short distance away you will find one of Dollywood’s most popular Christmas attractions, The Carol of the Trees. This light and music celebration is nestled on the lake between Aunt Granny’s all-you-can-eat holiday buffet and the now still waters of the Smoky Mountain River Rampage.

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas runs through the end of December. The big change will be in the actual hours as Dollywood’s Christmas in the Smokies festival mainly occurs during the evening hours. Show dates and times can be found on Dollywood.com. And as alway, if you purchase a 2013 Season Pass, you’ll get into next December’s Dollywood Christmas in the Smokies for FREE.

Dollywood’s Parade of Lights

To say Dollywood’s Parade of Lights is “electric” would be putting it very mildly. You could go through a handful of adjectives to describe the annual Christmas event that’s really become a show-stopper, again literally, every December.

The Parade of Lights is probably an event you would compare to Disney World has its Electric Light Parade, but on a much smaller scale. And though Dollywood’s version is much smaller, it’s still big on fun and allows for great memories that will last a lifetime. You’ll see a lot of recognizable characters from Dollywood as well as Christmas-time friends you’ll recognize from as far back as your childhood. It’s a great event that the whole family will enjoy.

Of course, these are just a few of the things to keep you and your family busy during this annual Christmas event. Dollywood’s rides, restaurants and Santa’s Workshop bring you plenty of holiday magic, too.

A one-day admission to Dollywood costs about $60. However, if you plan on going more than once or plan on returning in 2011 you can buy a season pass good for the remainder of 2010 and 2011, all for less than two one-day admissions. You will also find more specials online.

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas includes not only the Parade of Lights, but over 4 million shining Christmas lights hung all over the Pigeon Forge theme park. It is a winter wonderland. Most of the same shows you’ve enjoyed in years past are back this year including Dolly Parton’s all-time favorite Christmas in the Smokies. So make plans to come be a part of Dollywood’s Parade of Lights and enjoy Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas with your family and friends.

Dollywood’s Christmas in the Smokies

Dollywood’s Christmas in the Smokies live show is one of the highlights of the Pigeon Forge theme park’s Smoky Mountain Christmas every year.

The show will bring back all your Christmas memories in one fabulous show. The holiday musical Christmas in the Smokies is a production apart from the rest of  Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas. Christmas in the Smokies features a 12-member cast of actors and actresses performing those holiday favorites heard in hometowns across the country.

Along with the annual presentation of Christmas in the Smokies, Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas will drape the popular theme park in millions of Christmas lights, operate a giant Santa’s workshop, holiday rides for the kids, and shops and restaurants decorated tot he “nines” in Christmas attire. Dollywood should seem like a twinkling wonderland to most, at least that’s the goal.

Come be a part of Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas and the millions of Christmas lights that shine throughout the park during the month of December.

“I’m thrilled that my Smoky Mountain Christmas festival won its third Golden Ticket Award for Best Christmas Event, and it means the world to me that families get to enjoy the smiles and squeals of the little kids — and the big kids, too — as they spend the holidays together at Dollywood,” said Dolly Parton, following the announcement of the Golden Ticket Award last year. Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas is annually recognized as one of the best holiday events in the south.

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas includes more than 20 rides and attractions in its winter wonderland, including the Thunderhead and Mystery Mine roller coasters.

You should also know about the dining opportunities at Dollywood during the holidays including a number of special buffets. Diners at Aunt Granny’s restaurant are joined by the Coca-Cola Santa each operating day through Dec. 23. In addition to oven-roasted turkey, pulled ham, cornbread dressing and other familiar favorites, new items offered only during Smoky Mountain Christmas include the Spotlight Bakery’s 25-pound pies in four holiday flavors — cranberry walnut, brown sugar pecan, white chocolate, and oatmeal and cranberry apple pies — each available by the slice.

Dollywood’s Appalachian Christmas

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain String Band is back this year with their presentation of an Appalachian Christmas at Dollywood. Come hear some of your favorite holiday tunes and Christmas melodies at the Back Porch Theatre at Dollywood.

The annual Smoky Mountain Christmas festival at Dollywood, which includes Dollywood’s Appalachian Christmas, is a month-long Christmas spectacular set against the backdrop of the Smoky Mountains. Guests will be privy to nearly 4 million Christmas lights and over 20 rides and attractions, including Wild Eagle after dark. Celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas in the Smoky Mountains during the 7-week festival that goes until Dec. 30.

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Miniature Railroad debuts at this year’s Smoky Mountain Christmas. Guests can see this at the Wings of America stage area in Craftsman’s Valley. This model train display is 1,000 square feet of electric fun. In all, it’s 6 model trains running over bridges and around a working waterfall.

“Singing Christmas carols, eating great food and enjoying the company of family and friends is what the holidays are all about,” Dolly Parton said. “My Smoky Mountain Christmas festival at Dollywood is that special place where folks can do all of that while they make their memories and celebrate their own traditions with the ones they love. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year.”

In addition to An Appalachian Christmas, Dollywood’s stages are set for holiday performances like Christmas in the Smokies, Christmas with the Kingdom Heirs, Dollywood’s Christmas on Ice!, O’ Holy Night, and ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. Come see Carol of the Trees, The Polar Express 4D Experience and the nightly Parade of Lights (through Dec. 23). Santa’s Workshop will be open until Dec. 23.

Dollywood’s Carol of the Trees

It’s a fact that there is no shortage of Christmas lights in Pigeon Forge this year, especially when you take in the millions of lights that make up the town’s Winterfest celebration each year. While it’s truly an amazing sight, there’s just something about Dollywood’s Carol of the Trees that makes it stand out among all the lights in the area every year.

Carol of the Trees begins at dusk among the millions of Christmas lights hung in and around Dollywood. Look for the trees surrounding Rivertown Lake as they take center stage in the evening. Thousands of lights on the trees join lighted toy soldiers and more in a celebration of music and lights. It’s a 15 minute show that you don’t want to miss at Dollywood.

During the Carol of the Trees show, holiday lights are synchronized with Christmas music and really creates a holiday show for the senses as some would say.

Dollywood’s Carol of the Trees is a part of Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas (Nov. 10 – Dec. 30), an annual event put on at Dollywood that features  over 4 million Christmas lights and includes shows you’ll remember from years past. Of course, one of the most talked about is Dolly Parton’s all-time favorite Christmas in the Smokies. Dollywood is a safe and fun place to bring the kids or the whole family this Christmas season. Stop by and take in a few, or even all of the performances put on by Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas.

New Years Eve in Pigeon Forge, or Gatlinburg

There are a couple of options for those of us who will be spending New Years in and around Pigeon Forge, Tn.

If enjoying fireworks is what you’re longing for this New Year’s, trot on over to Gatlinburg for its annual New Year’s Eve festivities downtown. The space needle in the middle of downtown is the place to be around 11 p.m. as many vendors hand out free party favors such as streamers, whistles, hats, and funny glasses to you and thousands of your new, closest friends. The action builds up until midnight when the ball drops at the top of the space needle and fireworks fly into the night as New Years comes alive in Gatlinburg, TN.

If your lucky enough to secure one of the balconies from one of the hotels on the opposite side of the street from the space needle, you’ll be privy to an exceptional fireworks display. There are also some parking garages located nearby that are good viewing spots if you can get up top. In essence, just make sure you can clearly see the top of the space needle and you’ll be fine. Park along River Road or on either end of town if you’re planning on leaving town that night… just stay away from downtown. The closer you are to the space needle, the more likely you’ll stay the night. Besides, that might be more fun anyway!!!

More Gatlinburg info:
Local Phone: (865) 430-4148
Toll-Free: 1-800-588-1817

Have a blast and HAPPY NEW YEAR from all of us in Pigeon Forge, TN!