Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival 2015 in Gatlinburg August 19-23

Gather up your dreams and head for these hills for the Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival 2015 in Gatlinburg on August 19-23.

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Have a little ditty you penned and no one on hand to tell you what it’s worth? Maybe you have a whole book of original songs and a suitcase loaded with dreams to match.  Be in Gatlinburg from August 19-23, 2015 to rub shoulders with hit writers whose dreams have been realized. There will be music in the air and creativity to spare at the annual Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival 2015. Highly successful writers whose works have been snapped up by major recording artists will guide aspiring writers in the ways of the craft and live music will light up the city as the festival turns Gatlinburg into a country, bluegrass and gospel mini-mecca.

Festivities will take place at various venues throughout Gatlinburg. The festival kick-off will be held at the historic Gatlinburg Inn with all workshops being held at Edgewater Hotel. Stella Parton, Dolly’s sister and a carrier of that legendary music gene, will open the festival.

If you’ve never written a song and never plan to, you’ll still love the ambience and live music during the festival. There will be free live music throughout as well as a ticketed concert by EmiSunshine and the Rain, a fresh new act that has graced the Grand Ole Opry stage several times. They will perform on Friday, August 21 at the Brookside Resort Events Center at 8:00 p.m.

Whether you write the occasional song for your family to hear, or have serious career aspirations, you’ll enjoy four days of all things music, creativity and songwriting. You’ll have the opportunity to have your work critiqued, co-write with famous songwriters and gain insider tips from industry movers and shakers.

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Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales June 12 to August 1 in Downtown Gatlinburg

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Back Porch Cloggers perform at The Village on the Parkway. Photo credit: Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales

Gatlinburg’s Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales kicks off its tenth year of entertaining visitors along the downtown Parkway beginning June 12, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. This summer downtown Gatlinburg magically comes to life each evening with an array of costumed musicians, dancers, storytellers, and craftsmen until about 11:00 p.m. This ever-popular street performance festival runs through August 1, 2015.

The performers bring to life traditional Smoky Mountain heritage and culture in a fun and interactive way,” says Marci Claude, public relations manager for the Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, “Gatlinburg is a walking town. Tunes & Tales enhances our visitors’ experience as they stroll the Parkway in the evenings.

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Don’t miss The Weary Travelers! Photo credit: Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales

Some favorite entertainers from festivals past will be back again: The Back Porch Cloggers, an audience favorite, along with talents like Boogertown Gap, The Reunited, The Weary Travelers, and Lost Mill String Band. You’ll want to join them for some of the finest Southern Appalachian old-time music you’ll hear anywhere. We just can’t get enough of the sweet sounds of their mandolins, fiddles, penny whistles, upright basses and banjos!

Be sure to meet the entertaining artisan Spinnin’ Selma and see how she turns natural fibers into yarn and then that yarn into cool bracelets! And then there’s Whittlin’ Joe who masterfully whittles wooden flowers right before your eyes. And don’t forget to say howdy to their good friend Appalachia Anna who will tell you all about growing up in the mountains and how they used to make musical instruments out of everyday things likes spoons, washboards and saws. There’s so many new friends to make during Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales! You’ll run into famous mountaineer Wiley Oakley and lovely ladies Sun Bonnet Sue and Louisa Walker and friends.

Check out Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales on Facebook! For more information on this special event, produced by the Gatlinburg Convention & Visitors Bureau, call 800-588-1817.

“Once Upon a Trunk, a Tale of Vaudeville” Opening Night at Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre on May 16

Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre, the Smoky Mountain’s oldest and most unusual theater, presents a brand new show for the 2015 season.  “Once Upon a Trunk, a tale of Vaudeville” premiers on Saturday, May 16, 2015.

A charming 1890’s style original musical-comedy show about a sweet janitor who opens a dusty old trunk only to find a troop of actors inside who have been stuck there since the golden age of Vaudeville. They drag him into the trunk and put him in the show. It’s a hilarious “backstage” look at Vaudeville!

After our musical-comedy comes our old fashioned sing-a-long (a Sweet Fanny Adams Tradition) full of unrehearsed surprises, and our ever popular Olio and Revue, featuring the “World Famous Classical Paper Dance!”

For more information and tickets visit Sweet Fanny Adams or call 865-436-4038.

Mesmerizing Mermaids in the Smokies Memorial Day Weekend at Ripley’s Aquarium

Mermaids greet visitors at daily shows. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

Don’t miss the mesmerizing mermaids in the Smokies Memorial Day Weekend at Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg! Back by popular demand and for a limited time guests to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies can enjoy live mermaid shows daily at 12:00 noon, 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m beginning Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend.

While you’re in Gatlinburg visiting one of the Top 5 Aquariums in the World, you can enjoy other daily live shows:
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Halloween Crabs at Ripley’s new SWARM exhibit!

9:30 am    Shark Lagoon Dive
10:30 am  Penguin Feeding
11:00 am   Stingray Bay Dive
11:30 am   Marine Science Class
12:00 pm  Live Mermaid Show
12:30 pm  Marine Science Class
1:00 pm    Stingray Bay Dive
1:30 pm    Marine Science Class
2:00 pm   Live Mermaid Show
2:30 pm   Penguin Feeding
3:00 pm   Stingray Bay Dive
3:30 pm   Marine Science Class
4:00 pm   Live Mermaid Show
4:30 pm   Marine Science Class
5:00 pm   Stingray Bay Dive
5:30 pm   Penguin Facts
6:00 pm  Coral Reef Dive
7:00 pm  Stingray Bay Dive
8:00 pm  Coral Reef Dive
9:00 pm  Stingray Bay Dive
10:00 pm Coral Reef Dive

All new for 2015 at Ripley’s Aquarium is the SWARM exhibit featuring over 20 interactives and 12 exhibits with over 1,000 strange and bizarre animals like Halloween Crabs, Blue Blubber Jellyfish, Clusterwink Snails, and Flashlight Fish. And did we mention hundreds of Locusts, Live Crickets and other strange bugs? You can even get a Free Fish Manicure!

There’s nothing like Ripley’s Aquarium Shark Lagoon and incredible Underwater Tunnel! You get up close and personal to some of nature’s most awesome creatures. You can Touch-A-Ray and experience the ultimate Penguin Playhouse!

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies also hosts special programs like Sleep with the Sharks, PJ Party with the Penguins, and a Splash with Stingrays behind the scenes tour. And also don’t miss the Shark-Tastic Saturdays Early Bird Breakfast Tours. Now you know why this incredible place truly is one of the best aquariums in the world and it’s right here in the Great Smoky Mountains!

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Dollywood Celebrates 30th Anniversary with “30 Days of Thanks” in May

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Each day during May, 30 lucky Dollywood guests will win 2016 season passes.

Dolly Parton was in Pigeon Forge last week to announce Dollywood’s “30 Days of Thanks” celebration in honor of the theme park’s 30th anniversary this year. From now until the end of May, park guests can register to win prizes that include a daily giveaway of thirty 2016 Dollywood season passes! Each guest that registers at one of the kiosks placed throughout the park also earns a chance to win the grand prize of a Dollywood Summer Vacation!

The Dollywood Summer Vacation Grand Prize includes!

  • A two-night stay at the brand-new Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort (check-in date of August 7 or 8, 2015)
  • Four 2015 one-day tickets to Dollywood
  • Four 2015 tickets to Dollywood’s Splash Country
  • Four 2015 tickets to Dolly’s Pure and Simple Concert on Saturday, August 7 or 8, 2015 at 7:00 p.m.)
  • A special Meet & Greet with Dolly before the Concert
Entrants in the 30 Days of Thanks sweepstakes must be 18 years of age. Each guest may enter only once per day. Grand prize winner will be contacted on June 1, 2015. For more information on the sweepstakes and about Dollywood’s 30th Anniversary, visit www.dollywood.com.

Dolly’s Pure and Simple Concert | Showcase of Stars Concert Series

Dolly Parton also announced Dollywood’s Showcase of Stars Concert Series that will take place in August and September. The entertainment icon herself will get the party started with four performances on August 8-9, 2015 at 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. at Dollywood’s Celebrity Theatre. Her signature event titled Pure and Simple, will include some of her well-known favorites along with her newer releases. Dolly reported that individual tickets for her concerts are already sold out, but that group sponsorship tickets for 5 or more may still be available.

Kenny Rogers will be closing out the series at one show only on Sunday, September 27 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $50 for general admission and $100 for preferred seating. You must also have an admission ticket for the theme park. For ticket information and to purchase online, visit Dollywood’s Showcase of Stars. Other performance dates and entertainers have yet to be announced.

dolly-parton-imagination-library-heysmokiesTicket sales for the Showcase of Stars Concert Series will benefit Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. The fundraising goal for the concert series is $1 million. Dolly Parton created the Library in honor of her father, who could not read or write, to help foster children’s imaginations and their love of reading. Imagination Library sends free, high-quality, age-appropriate books to over 750,000 children in the U.S. and Canada each month.