Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls and children of all ages, welcome to …. The circus in the Smokies? Last week we took you on an adventure into the world of the circus and introduced you to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s Greatest Show on Earth. We told you how the circus got its start and stayed with you till the end. Last year, the Greatest Show on Earth rolled up their tents, parked their trains and turned out the lights on their show after 146 years. We promised at the end of the last article that one employee found a bittersweet ending. During the 146 years that the Greatest Show on Earth performed, the circus had only one female Ringmaster. Her name is Kristen Michelle Wilson, and even though her days as a Ringling Bros. Ringmaster came to an end, she’s found her place in another circus right here in our own Great Smoky Mountains. Here she is ringmaster at the newest show at Smoky Mountain Adventures, Dolly Parton’s newest attraction in Pigeon Forge. Come closer and take a look as we pull back the curtain and take you to the circus!
You may remember it being only three short years since Dolly first purchased the former Lumberjack Feud theater with plans to transform it into a new dinner show. 2016 saw the premier of Dolly Parton’s Lumberjack Adventure, a wonderful performance in the vein of its predecessor. Brawny Canadian lumberjacks competed in a high-flown contest to see which side of the theater would win. While the show was loads of fun, it wasn’t without its sense of danger as sharp-bladed axes swung through the air just feet away from visitors. Perhaps it was just a little too much for some guests to handle, because the very next year saw the complete transformation of the entire show once again.
Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Adventures was displayed prominently above the parking lot as guests arrived for the start of the 2017 season. With the new name came an original performance. Gone were the hatchets and flying wood chips, instead replaced with a foot-stomping musical and stunning acrobatics. We traveled back in time to visit Locust Ridge years before Dolly was born, as her parents’ families fought over the local mill, Hatfield and McCoy style. Filled with dance, death-defying stunts, and Dolly’s iconic music, the tale of the feud and love between the Owens and the Partons was a beautiful tribute to the people who shaped our region and Dolly’s early life. It truly was a masterpiece.
It was with some confusion that we saw billboards displaying the new show for 2018, Dolly Parton’s Celebration at Smoky Mountain Adventures. What had become of the spectacle which had garnered our adoration throughout the prior months? Recently we were able to attend a new show, and what a show it was!
Chills raced down our spines as Wilson appeared on stage and announced the coming of the circus to the Great Smoky Mountains with all the vigor and excitement as she did when introducing the next act of the Greatest Show on Earth. In the distance, a circus train is heard approaching, faster and faster until it roars through the theater, thanks to the magic of projectors. What followed was a series of acrobatic performances that took the audience’s breath away. Comedic acts spice up the non-stop action, and visitors should be prepared for a bit of participation on their part. You might want to practice that golf swing in case you’re picked to help with the skunk bucket toss!
Fans of last year’s show shouldn’t be too disappointed, as many of the best elements were passed on to this show, including many of the musical elements. We were most sad to see the exclusion of Dolly’s “These Old Bones,” but the new performances made up for it. After acrobatics and musical numbers exceeded an hour, we had finished our delicious food and were ready for the grand finale. If you’re a fan of the circus at all, it’ll be sure to take your breath away! Be sure to stick around after the show to the cast, who usually will stick around for photos and autographs for their adoring fans. On the way out, be sure to stop by the gift shop and purchase a bag of that delicious vegetable soup mix. Come on, you know it’s irresistible!
To look up showtimes and purchase tickets, visit https://dpdinnershowtickets.com