Gatlinburg Wine Fest Weekend on April 8-9, 2016! Samplings from over 17 East Tennessee Wineries!

The 4th Annual Gatlinburg Wine Fest Weekend will be held on April 8 & 9, 2016 with some great new offerings for wine lovers! The weekend kicks off at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, April 8 with an Opening Reception at the beautiful new Courtyard by Marriott along with a Wine Tour to three Gatlinburg wineries.

Gatlinburg Smoky Mountain Wine Fest

It’s a wine lovers weekend in Gatlinburg April 8-9! (photo: Gatlinburg CVB)

Gatlinburg Wine Fest Weekend continues Saturday, April 9 at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts from 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. Approximately 17 wineries from across Tennessee will offer samples of their vintages while some of the top restaurants in the Great Smoky Mountains will serve small dish fare. Tennessee sommeliers and chefs will discuss wine and food pairings as part of this fun event. Additionally, guests will enjoy touring the art galleries of Arrowmont  School of Arts & Crafts.

Tickets for Gatlinburg Wine Fest Weekend are $20 per event or $35 for a combo ticket. Purchase online at Gatlinburg CVB.

Pick Tennessee ProductsEnjoy some fabulous Tennessee wines from these participating vintners:  Amber Falls Winery & Cellars, Apple Barn Winery, Beans Creek Winery, Cades Cove Winery, Eagle Springs Winery, Goodwater Vineyards, Grinder’s Switch Winery, Hillside Winery, Keg Springs Winery, Mountain Valley Winery, The Winery at the Old Mill, Paris Winery, Reedy Creek Winery, Sugarland Cellars, Sumner Crest Winery, Tennessee Valley Winery, and the Winery at Seven Springs among others.

The Latest Dolly Doins? A New Resort, New Roller Coaster and a New Show in the Smokies!

What’s the latest Dolly Doins? Well, she’s got a new resort, a new roller coaster, and a new show in the Smokies! Dolly Parton has been doing a lot in the Great Smoky Mountains this summer and all of it ensures vacationers a fresh, new Dolly experience while visiting her beloved mountain home in the Smokies!

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Dolly’s Penthouse Suite at DreamMore Resort in Pigeon Forge. Photo credit: Dollywood DreamMore Resort

Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort is Open!

And it is just as fabulous as the superstar herself! There’s no mistaking that Dolly put her stamp on every detail of the 300-room resort hotel. The Dolly experience begins as you drive up the hill to the resort and are greeted by signs with messages of welcome and inspiration from her. Then you’re greeted by a beautiful and colorful butterfly fountain in front of the hotel’s grand entrance where attentive staff  will happily offer to take your picture in front of the fountain. There’s lemonade, cozy porches with rocking chairs, and other gathering nooks throughout the expansive lobby. The centerpiece of the lobby area is the three-story window that overlooks the beautifully landscaped outdoor pool area with views of the mountains in the distance.

 “The personal touches were also nice to see, from instruments that belonged to Dolly to an impressive wall of her discography. It seems like such a small thing, but I also loved that my bathroom had a makeup remover pad.  It just seemed like something Dolly would have in her bathroom,” said Brittany Jones Cooper, Yahoo travel editor who recently reviewed her stay.

The hotel was designed with families in mind and offers several different room types that include kid-friendly bunk beds and sleeper sofas. There’s also a variety of suites to accommodate families of all sizes. The top floor features the fabulous Dolly Suite, a luxurious penthouse apartment for two, which very much reflects her personal style. Room rates begin at $189 per night. For reservations, call 800-365-5996 or visit dollywoodsdreammoreresort.dollywood.com.

The resort offers a family-style restaurant, Song & Hearth, that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. There’s the DM Pantry for grab-n-go sandwiches and coffee. Other amenities include indoor and outdoor pools with firepits and kid’s play areas, a salon and spa, fitness center, and complimentary shuttle service to the theme and water park.

Ride the World’s Fastest Wooden Coaster, Lightning Rod, at Dollywood in March 2016!

At 20 stories high and at speeds of up to 73 miles per hour, this isn’t your grandfather’s wooden roller coaster! Lightning Rod is based on 1950’s hot rods and will be located in the Jukebox Junction area of Dollywood adjacent to the ever popular Rockin’ Roadway. Riders will be launched at 45 miles per hour and experience 12 drops where you’ll feel that you’re floating out of your seat!  Coaster enthusiasts will note that the ride will last three minutes and 12 seconds. And for those of you who think Dollywood’s other wooden coaster, Thunderhead, is a bit of a rough ride, theme park officials assure the new coaster’s ride will be ” as smooth as glass.” At a cost of $22 million, Lightning Rod is the single largest investment Dollywood has made in an attraction. Wowzie, we cannot wait for this!

Check out Dollywood’s official video for the new Lightning Rod Coaster to debut next spring!

Dolly Parton’s Management Company Buys Lumberjack Feud in Pigeon Forge!

You know if Dolly is around there has to be some music and entertainment close by too. The consummate professional and her management company World Choice Investments bought Lumberjack Feud Dinner Show & Theater in Pigeon Forge earlier this summer. The investment company currently manages Parton’s Dixie Stampede and Pirates Voyage theaters.

According to a press release issued in June, Dolly Parton stated, “We plan to develop a new, exciting version of the Lumberjack show and unveil it next spring. It will include major updates, changes and enhancements that I feel will greatly exceed guest expectations.”

Rose Glen Literary Festival in Sevierville on February 27th! It’s a Celebration of Regional Books and Authors!

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Painting of Rose Glen by artist Dick Ensing

Rose Glen Literary Festival in Sevierville features lectures, workshops and book signings by authors from the Smoky Mountain and Appalachian region.

Sevierville Convention Center
Saturday, February 27, 2016
9:00 am –  3:00 pm

All programs at the festival are free with the exception of the Luncheon ($20 per person); tickets can be purchased through the Sevierville Chamber of Commerce.

Kid’s Corner will offer children’s activities from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. Author Joe Tennis will be featured at Kid’s Corner. Tennis’ books include the children’s (age 8-14) novel Finding Franklin: Mystery of the Lost State of Franklin along with ghost-tales The Marble and Hants of Virginia Blue Ridge Highlands. He’s a writer for Blue Ridge Country Magazine and columnist for the Bristol Herald Courier.

Luncheon Keynote Speaker is Cory MacLauchlin, author of Butterfly in the Typewriter, a biography of author John Kennedy Toole who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1981 for A Confederacy of Dunces. A graduate of University of Virginia, MacLauchlin currently teaches American Literature, Southern Literature and Writing and Research at Germanna Community College in Fredricksburg. MacLauchlin developed a course on New Orleans history and culture at Christopher New Port University and led student groups on rebuilding efforts in the city after Hurricane Katrina. In his spare time, MacLauchlin also teaches courses at a state prison. He believes in the ability of writing to rehabilitate lives.cory-maclauchlin-rose-glen-literary-festival

Other Featured Books and Authors at the 2016 Rose Glen Literary Festival

  • Fresh Water from Old Wells by Cindy Henry McMahon. With a tape recorder and map, McMahon embarked on a mission to learn about her family’s history in the South during the turbulent times of the 1960’s and ’70s. Her research led to her understanding of how the events of the Civil Rights Movement in Georgia shaped her father whose bitterness and violence led to his absence in her life. McMahon’s cathartic journey allows her to release her own pent-up anger and resentment.
  • Bearwallow: A Personal History of a Mountain Homeland (2014) by Jeremy B. Jones. A native of southern Appalachia, Jones teaches creative writing at Western Carolina University. Jones’ essays have been named Notable in Best American Essays in Oxford American, Brevity, and Crab Orchard Review.
  • How to Tawlk and Rite Good: A guide to the language of Southern Appalachia by Sam Venable. Venable is the winner of more than three dozen national and regional writing awards and is the author of 12 books. With legions of regional fans, his humorous take on life in Southern Appalachia will certainly tickle your funnybone.
  • As Sweet as It’s Going to Get by Dawn Coppock. With a career as an adoption attorney, Coppock has spent much of her life as an advocate for children. Her book “Coppock on Tennessee Adoption Law” is an essentail reference for lawyers across the state. Recently, Coppock has been an advocate for the end to mountain top removal coal mining in Tennessee. You can hear her poetry regularly on WDVX’s program “Tennessee Shines.” As a proponent for Southern food, Coppock is also an award-winning pie maker.
  • Bear in the Backseat: Adventures of a Wildlife Ranger by Kim Delozier. This former long-time park ranger with Great Smoky Mountains National Park relives his adventurs dealing with hormonally-crazed elk, homicidal wild boars, befuddled black bears and the nine million tourists that visit the national park each year.
  • Ghost Birds: Jim Tanner and the Quest for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker by Stephen Lyn Bales. Nature writer, photographer, illustrator, senior naturalist at Ijams Nature Center in Knoxville, and Gatlinburg native shares one man’s quest for this illusive bird.
For more information and Luncheon Tickets, contact Sevierville Chamber of Commerce at 865-453-6411.
Check out this impressive video about the history of Rose Glen and its founders who inspired the creation of the Rose Glen Literary Festival.

February Freeze 5K Run and Walk in Pigeon Forge on February 20, 2016! Winterfest Fun Continues!

February Freeze 5K on February 28 2016Don’t miss the 4th Annual February Freeze 5K Run and Walk in Pigeon Forge at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 20, 2016! Gather your family and friends and enjoy the Winterfest lights on the course which begins on Butler Street in the Old Mill Historic District and takes you on the Pigeon Forge Riverwalk Greenway along the beautiful Little Pigeon River.

Registration until February 19 is $25. Race day registration is $30. Runners and walkers who register prior to February 15 will receive an official February Freeze 5K long-sleeve t-shirt; registrations after this date will receive shirts as long as supplies last. The top three male and female participants will receive overall awards with the top three in each age group classification also receiving awards. And don’t worry walkers, you get awards too!

Register online at runsignup.com. Race day registration will be held from 3:45 – 4:45 p.m. at the Race Registration Tent. Proceeds from the event benefit Relay for Life of Sevier County and the American Cancer Society.

 

Bring Out Your Inner Cowboy and Cowgirl at Saddle Up in Pigeon Forge February 17-21

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Grab your cowboy hat and get ready for a roundup of fun during the 16th annual event Saddle Up in Pigeon Forge. From a Western Swing Fiddle or Dance Class to a Buckaroo Roundup or an authentic Chuck Wagon Breakfast, the whole family will enjoy all the singing and storytelling cowboys (and cowgirls) that come to the Smoky Mountains this time each year to share their love the great American West and pioneer spirit!

Tickets are on sale now! For a complete list of all the exciting events and to purchase tickets, visit Saddle Up 2016 Tickets.

Here’s some of the great folks you’ll see and hear at Saddle Up 2016:

  • Kent Rollins – You’ve seen him on The Food Network’s Throwdown with Bobby Flay and Chopped, and now you can enjoy this award-winning chuckwagon cook’s poetry and storytelling.
  • Western Flyers – Their unique and fun music is a blend of classic Western swing, jazz and swing standards, and toe-tapping cowboy songs with a bit of electrifying old-time fiddle tunes thrown in the mix.
  • T.Scott Wilburn & The Shut Up-n-Playboys – Playing the best darn Hillbilly swing and Western turn, these talented musicians will hit the Saddle Up concert stage and perform at Stories & Strings and the Cowboy Dance.
  • Brigid Reedy – This talented 14-year-old is the daughter of poet, photographer and musician John Reedy who taught her to yodel at age two and play fiddle soon thereafter.
  • Sourdough Slim – This award-winning Western entertainer introduces guests to the fantastical era of Vaudeville and combines it with cowboy humor that has made Sourdough Slim a favorite all across America.
  • Andy Nelson – This humorist from Wyoming is a two-time winner of the Western Music Association’s Male Poet of the Year award. Also a second generation farrier, Nelson brings a real authenticity to his cowboy humor.
  • Yvonne Hollenbeck – She’s the most accomplished cowgirl poet in the country who also co-writes songs with many Western entertainers. Yvonne and her husband also raise beef cattle and quarter horses on their South Dakota ranch.
  • And More! For a complete list of Saddle Up entertainers and events, contact Pigeon Forge Office of Special Events at 865-429-7350 or 800-251-9100.

Saddle Up utilizes several venues in the Pigeon Forge area:

LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge, 2986 Teaster Lane, Pigeon Forge
Clabough’s Campground, 405 Wears Valley Road, Pigeon Forge
Blairs Valley Ranch, 2823, 2899 Clabo Road, Sevierville (Wears Valley)
Pottery House Cafe and Grill at Old Mill Square, 3341 Old Mill Street, Pigeon Forge