Pigeon Forge is home to many of East Tennessee’s most visited and loved attractions, from the Titanic Museum and Dollywood to The Wheel at the Island and Parrot Mountain. What the city is most known for are its plethora of theaters and shows. Right now during the holiday season, many of these have Christmas performances that add a touch of magic to the already breathtaking performances. This past weekend we decided to visit the world-famous Dixie Stampede, as well as the newest dinner show on the Parkway, Dolly Parton’s Lumberjack Adventure.
Dixie Stampede will be celebrating its 30th anniversary next year, and the dinner attraction has been a favorite stop for many visitors to the Smokies throughout the last three decades. Whether you’ve had the opportunity to visit in the past or not, we highly recommend making another visit during this Christmas season. Not only does the holiday show add new and unique experiences to the amazing lineup, but the theater recently renovations which transformed the arena into something truly magical.
If you’ve been to Dixie before, you know how large of a part the animals play, especially the horses. Amazing horseback riding and stunts such as the jump through a ring of fire are always our favorite part of the show. The antics of the racing pigs are hard to beat though, as are the miniature pony races held at Skeeter Downs. Who can forget Skeeter and his giant dancing chicken, aptly named Nugget?
While the majority of the show stays the same, there are some major changes and new scenes thrown in throughout November and December. Instead of the audience being divided between the American North and South, it’s the North and South poles who are feuding. The Island of Misfit Toys makes an appearance as giant versions of favorite childhood toys come to life to sing and dance at the stroke of midnight. Everyone’s favorite scene seems to be the recreation of that first Christmas night, complete with goats, sheep, and camels parading the arena.
We would continue to come to Dixie Stampede even if it was just for the food. The dinner is fantastic and just as good as the show, maybe even better! Roasted chicken, corn on the cob, baked potatoes, and delicious cheese biscuits are just a portion of the feast you’ll enjoy. It’s almost like an early Christmas dinner without the ham! If you fall in love with the vegetable cream soup as much as we did, you’ll be delighted to know that you can pick up your own mix in the gift shop so you can enjoy it at home as well.
Lumberjack Adventure is located just up the parkway near The Island. Formerly known as Lumberjack Feud, Dolly purchased the show last year and revamped it. The building and stage was completely renovated, and a much larger parking lot was added as well. We never got the chance to visit when it was known as Lumberjack Feud, but our experience at the new show was fantastic!
Unlike Dixie Stampede, the show arena is much smaller, actually only about half the size. While this may seem like a bad thing, it actually allows everyone to sit much closer to the stage and be immersed completely in the action. By a stroke of luck, we were able to get front row seats, and the actors weren’t more than five feet away from our table.
Also different from Dixie is much of the show’s overall content. Lumberjack Adventure is a stage show, mainly focusing the acrobatics, stunts, and feats of skill performed by the lumberjacks. No horses will be found here, but the hunting dogs and their tricks more than make up for it.
What actually is similar to Dixie is the competition. This time we are split up between two feudin’ families known as the McGregors and the Wheelers. When the local lumber mill falls into disrepair and their way of life they’re used to falls apart, the families decide to have a contest to see which family is better at being lumberjacks than the other. Whoever wins gets to keep the mill. Logrolling, wood chopping, and tree climbing are just some of the high-flying antics you’ll get to enjoy while chomping down on a dinner that is just as good as that over in Dixieland. The coleslaw and pork barbeque are great, as is the peach turnover dessert.
I would say we actually enjoyed the Lumberjack Adventure more than Dixie Stampede, if only we could get some of that vegetable cream soup over there! If you are able to, however, try to visit both of these great attractions. No doubt you’ll return to make even more memories as we have done for the past few years. It may even become a holiday tradition as it has become for so many others. Whichever you decide to visit, remember it’s best to make reservations as early as possible. Both shows fill up very quickly, and every time we have gone they have been completely sold out. Please visit lumberjackadventure.com or dixiestampede.com to make reservations for either of the shows!
Photo: Lumberjacks race to saw through a log during a competition at Dolly Parton’s Lumberjack Adventure.