By Leif Palmer
Posted on July 20, 2017
Once you have checked in to your Pigeon Forge hotel room, it's time to venture out with the family for food and entertainment. Smart folk combine the two events in to a single venue by choosing a dinner theater for both a meal and a show. Good food and quality performances are just part of the experience. In addition, audience members are encouraged to participate during these shows, usually in a friendly rivalry scenario.
Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede-The largest and most well-known dinner theater in the area delivers an upbeat, exciting, and ultimately patriotic show. The venue is a 35,000 square foot indoor horse arena, with dusty dirt floors, and all that you might expect from a rodeo pageant environment. Trick riding and competitions, along with music, dancing, and special lighting effects combine for a visually interesting program with plenty of action and comedy that is completely family friendly. An optional saloon-style bluegrass music pre-show is included in the price of the ticket, and fills the hour prior to the featured attraction showtime. Seats are assigned, so there is no need to wait in line. Dinner includes creamy vegetable soup, a whole rotisserie chicken, barbecue pork, corn on the cob, potato, biscuit, and dessert. Vegetarian and gluten-free menus can be preordered to meet guest dietary restrictions.
Dixie Tips: The rivalry on the floor is between the North and the South; cheer where you are seated. Be aware no silverware is provided. If you prefer, pack some plastic picnic utensils to avoid eating with your hands. I have friends who do just that when they attend. No, I'm not kidding. To-go containers are available on request for whatever part of the meal you can't finish. Check for online deals and packages for savings on ticket prices, especially for large groups and combinations.
Check this link for daily show schedules: https://www.dixiestampede.com/pigeon-forge
Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud-The featured theater of the Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment Group has a high energy, country musical that is self-described as “Feudin', Feastin', Family Fun in the Forge”. This variety show is the type of entertainment that you would expect from a quality theater show-singing and dancing, with some amazing stunts and visual acts intertwined throughout. In this case, bluegrass musicians and clogging dancers set the scene for the well-known mountain family feud with plenty of humor and action to make for an enjoyable show to accompany your meal. A patriotic finale marks the ending with appropriate reconciliation, and good feelings among all. The meal is served table side and family style. Dinner is creamy soup, fried chicken, pulled pork barbeque, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, homemade bread, coleslaw, chocolate mousse and banana pudding. Upon request, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free options are all available.
H&M Tips: By default, this show is funny and cheesy (as evidenced by area billboards). Approaching it with that attitude makes for a really enjoyable experience: prepare to laugh! Take your side as, of course, either a Hatfield or a McCoy. The menu is presented as “all you can eat”, so don't hesitate to ask for second helpings if you are hungry for more. The company actually owns several venues in the area, providing a wide variety of theater performances all day long, from morning, to afternoon matinee, to evening. Check out the combination discount tickets, and satisfy your theater binge at this link: http://hatfieldmccoydinnerfeud.com/buy-tickets/discount-tickets
Dolly Parton's Smoky Mountain Adventures-Dolly Parton Productions purchased the former Lumberjack Feud facility and remodeled it to fit their needs in this more intimate, true theater environment. A variety show is offered that is described as "food, faith, family, rivalry, and romance”. It is loosely framed around the courtship of Dolly's parents and their families to set the stage for competitive dancing, gymnastics, acrobatics, some talented aerialists and stunt acts, and even some resident Labradors to add canine antics. There is technically not a pre show like the Dixie facility, but live bluegrass music is performed in the Bass Mercantile gift shop lobby area prior to the main attraction. Children can experience a mountain makeover to become a Mountaineer or Mountain Princess. Sessions of applied facial cosmetics and costume accessories are available at an additional charge, and advance reservations for this experience are recommended. The dinner includes creamy vegetable soup, fired chicken, pulled pork barbecue, corn on the cob, potatoes, biscuits, and peach pie dessert.
Smoky Mountain Adventure Tips: The rivalry set up for this production is between the "mountain and the holler” folks, or the Parton and Owens families (Dolly's father and mother). Audience members are asked to participate in some of the competition events. Unlike Dixie, a fork is provided, so no need to carry your own (ha). This is the premiere season of this theater venue, and it is not a large-scale rodeo like its co-owned sister facility. Try the newest program in town while visiting.
Show schedules, more information and package savings are available at this link: https://smokymountainadventures.com
There are multiple other theaters, both including dinner and others with a performance only. Start with these productions, and choose which best fits your taste, literally and figuratively. Enjoy!
About Leif Palmer
Leif Palmer loves residing in Pigeon Forge. He is an avid outdoorsman: rowing for exercise on the lake, trail hiking, and free climbing rocks in the mountains. He indulges his arty side by periodically beating up pieces of marble by sculpting. He is always frustrated by his inability to sink long putts, and hates his curly hair (but his wife loves it). Leif has been known to muster enough courage to change a diaper, and hopes his son will become a chip off the old block.