I.B.M. Ring 58 Hosts
Winter Carnival of Magic
March 3 – 5, 2016
The Hotel Pigeon Forge is located right next to the theater. Guests of the WCM Receive a discount. Be sure to mention the convention when making your reservation.
The Hotel Pigeon Forge is located right next to the theater. Guests of the WCM Receive a discount. Be sure to mention the convention when making your reservation.
Pigeon Forge was originally a hunting ground for the Cherokee. The Cherokee used a footpath known as the “Indian Gap Trail” which allowed the Cherokee to cross the Smoky Mountains from North Carolina to the Great Indian Warpath, now modern day Sevierville.
The Indian Gap Trail brought Europeans to Pigeon Forge. It was used by hunters and trappers from North Carolina, as well as traders from Virginia.
In the 1740s, Colonel Samuel Wear became one of the first permanent Euro-American settlers in the area. He built a fort in the Walden Creek and Little Pigeon River area off what is now Wear’s Valley. The fort, more of a stockade, allowed early pioneers a safe stopping point while passing through the Sevier County area.
The Cherokee signed the Treaty of Dumplin Creek in 1785, ceding the majority of Sevier County to the United States. Once this treaty was signed, Robert Shields, whom had received a tract of land from the Watauga Land Office, built a small fort along Middle Creek. This area is now near Dollywood.
The first “tourists” to the Pigeon Forge area came for the extended revivals held in the Middle Creek area where the current Middle Creek Methodist Church sits. These revivals began in the early 19th century and could last for weeks at a time.
In 1810, the Revolutionary War brought Mordecai Lewis to the area after he obtained a 151 acre land grant along the Little Pigeon River. In 1817, Isaac Love, Lewis’s son-in-law, established an iron forge on the banks of the Little Pigeon River. The town of Pigeon Forge received its name from this forge and the mass amounts of passenger pigeons that flocked to the banks of the Little Pigeon River. In 1830, Love built the Pigeon Forge Mill. In 1841, Love’s son William built the post office and gave the town the name of Pigeon Forge.
Pigeon Forge was home to a health resort in the 1870’s at Henderson Springs. Residents of large urban areas would travel to the area to take in the mountain springs which were thought to have health restoring qualities.
As of the 20th century, the city of Pigeon Forge was fairly isolated. Having no major roads and the closest railroad station being in Sevierville, there was limited access to the area. The big change that brought life to the small community arose with the announcement of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park which opened in 1934. In the 1950’s, improvements had been made to US-441 and led to the establishment of a few campgrounds and lodges. The city officially incorporated in 1961.
Shortly after the city was officially incorporated, the Rebel Railroad was opened in the Middle Creek area. The attraction gave visitors the chance see what it was like to ride a Confederate steam train that was under attack by Union soldiers during the Civil War. In 1964, the brothers renamed the attraction to Goldrush Junction. The attraction was given a Wild West theme similar to the brother’s theme park in North Carolina called Tweetsie Railroad. The brothers later added a log flume ride to Goldrush Junction, which became the most popular ride at the park. The park was sold to the Herschends from Branson, Missouri in 1969 and was renamed to Silver Dollar City.
Pigeon Forge created an aggressive economic plan that focused on tourism in 1982, which included outlet malls, theme parks and live music.
In 1985, famous Sevier County resident Dolly Parton joined with the Herschends to become a partner in Silver Dollar City and the name of the park was changed to Dollywood.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has over 800 square miles of hiking trails, so there really is a trail that’s perfect for every type of hiker.
Easy hikes are great for anyone visiting the Smoky Mountains! Whether you’re looking to hike with your children or you just want a short, relaxing hike in the mountains, an easy hike may be the best way to spend your day.
If you’re a beginner hiker or you’re looking for one of the easy hikes in the Smoky Mountains, this list will help you find the best hike for you. These are our top 10 easy hikes for an adventure in the Smokies:
The Gatlinburg Trail is a nature walk through the woods. The hike is only 1.9 miles one-way from Sugarlands Visitor Center. It runs through the forest along the Little Pigeon River, so you will see views of the water as well as foundations of several old homesites along the way.
The Gatlinburg Trail is the only pet friendly trail on the Gatlinburg side of the national park, and is only one of two pet friendly trails in the entire park.
The Kephart Prong trail is great for kids! Kids can explore the Smoky Mountains on this trail. There’s remnants of the logging era and the Civilian Conservation Corps. The hike is 4 miles round trip and you can expect to see wildlife, like salamanders along the stream. During the spring months, there’s lots of wildflowers and plant life along the trail.
The Elkmont Nature Trail is the perfect easy hike in the Great Smoky Mountains when you’re looking for a short, easy hike for a family. It’s a self-guided nature trail that is a little less than a mile long. This trail is great for learning about the Elkmont area and its rich history.
The Sugarlands Nature Trail is a short, half-mile trail in the national park. It’s the only trail that is wheelchair accessible. You can find this trail about a half mile past Sugarlands Visitor Center, right on Newfound Gap Road. You’ll see remains of homes and a stream running alongside the trail.
This trail begins from the Clingmans Dome parking lot and drops elevation as you hike to Andrews Bald. You’re actually hiking the Forney Ridge Trail which is 1.8 miles one-way to Andrews Bald. If the time of year is right, you can find blackberries or raspberries along this trail.
It’s never too early to start making plans to see the Synchronous Fireflies (and the Blue Ghost Fireflies) that will light up the night sky in late May and early June 2017 in the Great Smoky Mountains. Firefly viewing in the Smokies has become such a popular event that there are now several venues available to enjoy the spectacular shows!
The Synchronous Firefly (Photinus carolinus) and the Blue Ghost Firefly (Phausis reticulata) are two species that are found only in the Southern Appalachian Mountains which include the Great Smokies. And during the short mating season in late May and early June, both firefly species put on quite a show to behold! The male Synchronous Fireflies flash their little green-yellow bioluminescent lanterns in unison for about 6-8 blinks and then they go dark for a few seconds creating a sublime wave of light throughout the forest. The male Blue Ghost Fireflies don’t flash their blue-white lanterns, instead, they glow continuously just a few inches above the ground. The ethereal experience of either nighttime show should be on everyone’s bucket list! National Park scientists mostly use air and soil temperatures to predict the timing of each year’s mating season.
Synchronous Fireflies with Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN
One of the most popular places to view the Synchronous Fireflies is in Elkmont in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This event has become so popular that a free lottery system was instituted this year for the $1.50 parking passes for the eight-day shuttle period to Elkmont. During this time of peak viewing, Elkmont is closed at nighttime with the exception of shuttle users and campers in Elkmont Campground. Dates for the 2017 Lottery and Elkmont Shuttle will be announced sometime in April 2017. HeySmokies will keep you updated, so be sure to check back with us. We’ll provide you all the details of what you need to know to register for the lottery.
Synchronous Fireflies with Discover Life in America in Gatlinburg, TN
For a few nights during peak firefly viewing time, Discover Life in America hosts a fundraising event featuring nightly presentations and field walks at the Norton Creek Sanctuary near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Tickets for the event are $100 each and the event is geared toward persons ages 10 and older.
Synchronous Fireflies in Cataloochee with Cataloochee Valley Tours
Take a Synchronous Firefly Night Walk with Cataloochee Valley Tours out of Waynesville, NC. Small groups of guests are outfitted with safety vests and flashlights for a walk to the tour company’s secret viewing locations! They’ll announce 2017 dates in January. Tour tickets are $60 per person. Tours are from 8:30 – 11:30 p.m. weather permitting.
Blue Ghost Fireflies in DuPont State Recreational Forest near Asheville, NC
DuPont State Forest is located in Cedar Mountain, NC about 30 miles outside of Asheville. Due to the popularity of this location in recent years, some of the trails in the High Falls parking area will be closed during peak viewing season. Because the female Blue Ghosts stay on the ground, many have been killed by visitors wandering off of the designated trails.Fireflies on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Overlooks along the Blue Ridge Parkway are a great place to view starry nights as well as the fireflies in June! Usually, the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center in Asheville offers a family-friendly firefly viewing event.
By now, you’ve probably seen a video of the bear breaking into a car and stealing food. While the video is funny, it should also serve as a reminder that bears in the Smoky Mountains are no joke. Sure, they’re beautiful and quite photogenic, but there are some bear safety steps you should take if you ever encounter one when in the Smoky Mountains.
Did you know that the Great Smoky Mountains National park is one of the largest protected areas in the eastern portion of the country where black bears can live in the wild? There are roughly 1,500 bears in the Smokies which equals about 2 per square mile. The average adult male weighs in around 250 pounds and females tip the scales around 100 pounds.
If you spot a bear in the park, it’s quite thrilling. You’ll reach for your camera and start snapping as many pictures as you can. While you’re caught up in the moment, remember that it can also be a dangerous situation. Bear behavior can be very unpredictable, they are a “wild” animal after all. While most encounters will end without incident, there have been times, although rare, that bear attacks occur. Your behavior can play a key role in calming the situation, should one of these rare attacks happen.
The best way to reduce your chance of an unwanted bear encounter…is avoiding the encounter all together! Be sure to keep your distance and do not try to “surprise” the bear. Odds are, the bears will try to avoid you, so don’t get their attention and draw them in. Here are some more tips on how to avoid an encounter with black bears in the Smokies.
If the bear spotted you and is now very interested in you, there are some strategies you can try that will help de-escalate the situation.
If all else fails and the bear is persistent and continues to follow you, here’s what to do next.
Believe it or not, bears aren’t naturally drawn to humans or our food. Their sense of smell is geared more towards insects, berries, and nuts but they can be enticed by the “new” smells of people food. Remember to dispose of all trash and food scraps in bear-proof containers, or simply take the trash and scraps with you. If you see another visitor attempting to feed the bears, notify a park official immediately by calling 865-436-1230 or stop by the Visitor Center.
Let’s face it, we all love to shop. Guys, even you have to admit you love to shop from time to time, even if it’s for tools. Shopping in Pigeon Forge is certainly a unique experience and one that must be on your “to-do” list when vacationing to the area. From outlet malls to antiques or the big box stores, Pigeon Forge has so much to offer. In fact, there are so many places to shop, it might be a bit overwhelming. Have no fear! We’ve got your Guide To Shopping in Pigeon Forge!
When you want to save money on shopping name brands, you HAVE to make your first stop one of our many outlet stores. You can literally save hundreds of dollars on the clothes you already buy! Here are a few of our favorite outlet stores in the Pigeon Forge area…
Yes, Tanger Outlet Center is technically located in Sevierville, but that doesn’t stop us from making this a “go-to” shopping destination when visiting Pigeon Forge. Tanger has over 100 of the nation’s leading brand names and premium designer labels. It’s like all your favorite places got together decided to make everything up to 70% off! Think about the new wardrobe you could buy at a fraction of the cost at Tanger?! And best of all, even with the HUGE discounts, they offer a coupon book when you arrive at customer service. More savings! SCORE!
If you’re in Pigeon Forge, be sure you stop by the Lodge Factory Store in Pigeon Forge. You can save plenty of money while browsing the best cast iron cookware in the world, straight from Lodge’s Tennessee foundry. They also carry outdoor cookware, kitchen, and camping accessories, as well as factory seconds at great deals.
Boot Factory Outlet is just a few minutes from the entrance to the National Park and Gatlinburg.They have over 20,000 boots in stock but best of all, if you buy 1 pair you get 2 PAIR FREE. Any 3 pairs of boots…no restrictions. Seriously! You can mix and match for the whole family! They carry name brands like Rocky, Justin, Lucchese, Wolverine and more!
We’re going to start off by saying when it comes to “shopping malls” there are really only 2 shows in town. The Island and Tanger Outlets (more about Tanger above). The Island is located just off the Parkway in Pigeon Forge and offers much more than a great shopping experience. With a plethora of places to shop, you can also eat, relax and enjoy some rides! Yep, rides! The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel is located at The Island. It’s a 200 feet tall wheel with an amazing view of the Smoky Mountains. You can also enjoy the fountains and live entertainment. You can truly spend the entire day at The Island.
Who doesn’t love to go antique shopping? Thanks to Pinterest you can find new and creative ways to take old antiques and make them practical for your personal tastes. If antique shopping is right up your alley, then you HAVE to stop by Flat Creek Village Specialty Shops.
Flat Creek Village Specialty Shops sits on 6 acres in Sevierville. They have over 25 unique gift shops that are all decorated in their own themes. They also sell raw local honey, homemade jams, quilts, signs, holiday decor, farm equipment…anything and everything you could ever imagine. It truly is a crafters paradise. You’ll find yourself spending hours and hours and maybe even days at Flat Creek Village Specialty Shops.
Ok, guys, we are talking to you right now. Get ready, because we’re about to blow your mind. After you see some of these places, you’ll be the one asking your wife or girlfriend “Wanna go shopping?” Ladies, don’t worry, you’ll enjoy these just as much but come on, we have to make the guys think that SOMETHING is about them, right?
Smoky Mountain Knife Works is the premier destination for knives in the Pigeon Forge area, maybe even the entire southeast! With thousands of knives to choose from, knife enthusiasts will be in heaven! They carry everything from pocket knives, hunting knives, tactical knives and even hand-crafted knives that are just beautiful!
Also known as “Daycare for Men” Workshop Tools has over 3,000 square feet hand tools and gadgets for the shop or the house. Quality tools at affordable prices. The inventory consists primarily of factory recondition Delta, Ryobi, Skil, Bosch and DeWalt products. Workshop Tools provides real tools at real deals.
There are so many great places to shop in the Pigeon Forge area. We could talk about them for days but instead, we will give you time to actually go shop than just read about shopping.
The 23rd A Mountain Quiltfest is one of the best quilt shows in the country and is set to be held at the LeConte Center from March 21 until March 25, 2017. Every year this show draws in more than 25,000 quilt-lovers from all over the country. They come to celebrate their love of crafting, collecting, and learning about the art of quilt-making. Despite its long run, the show has continued to evolve its offerings for its attendance. If you love quilts, here are 5 reasons you will love this year’s A Mountain Quiltfest.
A Mountain Quiltfest is the only major quilt show in the world that doesn’t require an admission fee! That means you can enjoy the more than 500 quilts on display, discuss quilting with experts, and browse vendors’ wears all without charge. While there are small fees if people would like to take instructional courses, and, of course, you’ll have to pay for any materials you get from the vendors, the lack of an admission fee means you’ll get to save some money.
The lack of an admission charge derives from the initial stipulations of the show’s founders, the Piecemakers Quilt Guild. When the Guild was approached by the Pigeon Forge Office of Special Events in 1994 with the possibility of co-hosting the show, the guild agreed only if the city would guarantee the show would be free of admission. That legacy of generosity continues today.
One of the best parts of A Mountain Quiltfest for quilt-lovers is that you can get expert instruction from world-class quilters for nominal fees. There will be more than 70 different classes offered during the show including machine care and use classes, classes demonstrating new techniques, new Longarm quilting and make and take classes, and much more. The classes offered are designed for people of any skill level along the spectrum, from beginner to expert.
One exciting addition, back from last year, is the opportunity to take computer software classes. Utilizing computers can help improve your quilting experience, and the instructors are patient and happy to teach. Learn how to use embroidery software to take your quilting to the next level, see how to use Microsoft Word to craft labels, legends, and stories, or explore the basics of EQ7. One of the coolest things about the computer software classes is that they are totally free, with open seating. A Mountain Quiltfest can help you take your quilting into the 21st century while grounding you with tried-and-true techniques. You can register for classes here.
While in the past A Mountain Quiltfest has taken place across multiple venues, the move to the LeConte Center has allowed the show to host all of its vendors and classes under one roof! Every year since the show’s conception, new vendors have been added here and there. Attendants might be surprised to see that a number of regular vendors are no longer with the show, but they will be excited to hear that A Mountain Quiltfest has added an unprecedented number of new and exciting vendors to the mix. You’ll be able to easily navigate the vendors, as each booth is numbered and lists the vendor’s name. If you can’t find your favorite vendors from years past, don’t worry, as a large number of new vendors are excited to meet any and all of your quilting material needs. If you need any type of material, tool, or machine for your quilting endeavors, A Mountain Quiltfest is the perfect place for you.
In addition to the awesome quilting vendors at the show, for the first time ever the Lounge Area will also be a dining area! Food Kiosks will be set up in the Exhibition Hall with dining tables, separate from the vendors and quilts. So, if you’re craving a bite to eat while browsing quilts, be sure to head over to the LeConte Center’s Exhibition Hall.
This year, A Mountain Quiltfest will host AQS-certified quilt appraiser, Candace St. Lawrence, who will provide professional quilt appraisals and consultations by appointment for anyone looking to appraise their quilts. She’ll be offering consultations and appraisals every day of the show at varying times. On Wednesday, you can visit Candace at the Antique Quilt Bed Turning Room, where she’ll be providing her expertise on the antique quilts on display. The appraisal fee for the first quilt is $40, with a 10% discount on each subsequent quilt. Attendants can also get a consultation for only $20 / quilt if they wouldn’t like a written appraisal. If you would like to set an appointment up with Miss St. Lawrence, call Lana Bowes, Events Coordinator, at (865) 429-7393 or email her at email@example.com.
|Candace St. Lawrence’s Times For Appraisal Appointments|
|Tuesday, March 21||12:00 pm – 5:00 pm|
|Wednesday, March 22||unavailable for appraisals|
|Thursday, March 23||9:00 am – 5:00 pm with a break for lunch|
|Friday, March 24||9:00 am – 5:00 pm with a break for lunch|
|Saturday March 25||9:00 am – 4:00 pm|
If you’re looking for the best in the world of quilting, you need to look no further than the 22nd Annual A Mountain Quiltfest. The show has consistently been recognized as one of the best in the world, winning several awards through the International Festivals and Events Association. This year A Mountain Quiltfest is offering 20 different categories for quilt competition, including the themed category (this year is Log Cabin Quilts). This means you’ll have all different kinds of quilts to view and enjoy. Quiltmakers will be competing for more than $20,000 in cash prizes, and the show will be offering $40,000 in product giveaways for visitors through the show and the vendors. Be sure to visit all of the vendors to find out what special giveaways they may be offering and to say thank you for supporting A Mountain Quiltfest.
When you think of museums, you probably bring up an image of a marble building with dusty, boring exhibits. The many museums you find in Pigeon Forge turn that concept on its head. They offer interactive exhibits, one-of-a-kind objects, and a fun atmosphere. With so many to choose from, you could take a day trip to the Smokies just checking out museums! But you want the best, so we’re here to help you find the 5 best museum attractions in Pigeon Forge!
The newest museum in Pigeon Forge, Alcatraz East Crime Museum, opened in the Fall of 2016. Since then, it’s been described as “a must see for CSI fans” and garnered a 4.5 stars rating on Trip Adviser. Located at the entrance to The Island, this 24,000 sq. ft. behemoth is designed like a 19th-century prison and inspired by the famous Alcatraz of San Francisco. Inside you’ll be able to explore more than 20 different exhibit areas covering five major themes: 1) history of American crime, 2) consequences of crime, 3) crime scene investigation, 4) crime fighting, and 5) pop culture.
Families who transverse the museum are in for an amazing adventure through American crime. There are lots of interactive exhibits that let you feel like you’re a part of history. The museum is also host to several exclusive artifacts, including the cars of John Dillinger, Al Capone, and even the white Bronco OJ Simpson used to evade police! You won’t leave this museum without learning something new, and there’s something for the entire family to enjoy. Be sure to check out this newest addition to the best museums in Pigeon Forge.
Love Bush’s Baked Beans? Love history? Love dogs? Then you have a perfect museum to visit in Bush’s Baked Beans Visitor Center & General Store. This amazing museum brings visitors fun interactive exhibits that tell the fascinating history of Bush’s Baked Beans. See the journey of the company from the very beginning, grab a photo with Duke, see how much you weigh in beans, and so much more! After you’re done checking out the museum, head over to the Old-Fashioned General Store, where you can grab plenty of assorted candies and Jay and Duke memorabilia. You and your family are guaranteed to love this museum, especially since admission is 100% free!
For those of you who grew up watching the hit TV show The Dukes of Hazzard, you can’t miss out on Cooter’s Place. Ben “Cooter” Jones takes visitors through this tribute to the original show. The museum features original costumes, props, memorabilia, thousands of collectibles, and The General Lee! One cool thing about this museum is that the owner is consistently bringing in celebrity guests, like the famous Daisy Duke herself! When you’re done checking out the museum, you and the family can enjoy Cooter’s themed indoor go-kart track and their 18-hole mini-golf course.
Fans of The King of Rock and Roll shouldn’t miss checking out the Elvis and Hollywood Legends Museum. The museum has been honoring the memory of Elvis Presley for over 35 years. Their recent move to their new location at Walden’s Landing has only made their museum better! Here you’ll enjoy a self-guided audio tour narrated by two of Elvis’ closest friends, Donnie Summer and Ed Hill.
You’ll find plenty of exclusive artifacts from Elvis’ life and the lives of other celebrities through history. Be sure to check out the amazing collection of The King’s automobiles, wardrobe, jewelry, firearms, and other personal items. From the Spring until Fall, be sure to stop by on the weekends for a free concert by one of the preeminent Elvis performers in the Southeast!
You can’t get closer to understanding and experience the story of the Titanic than at the Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge. This museum is a a completely interactive experience, from the staff being decked out in authentic uniforms from the early 1900s to the ticket from the real-life passenger you receive at the start of your journey.
Each exhibit of the museum has an interactive element that helps you fully understand the experiences of Titanic passengers. The museum regularly hosts special events, like Irish Month during March, where they especially focus on the story of the Irish passengers of the ship. At the Titanic, you’ll find one-of-a-kind exclusive artifacts, such as the violin of William Hartley, the musician who famously played as the Titanic went down. There’s always something new to discover at the Titanic!
There is no better way to explore and see all the beauty that nature has to offer this spring than going on a hike at the Great Smoky Mountains.
Before you set off on your adventure, make sure your family is prepared for your hike. Proper hiking shoes are a must, and you may also want to carry along a backpack with a jacket, some water, and snacks depending on how long you plan to be out. If you are new to hiking, pace yourself.
Spring provides a weekly parade of wildflowers and flowering trees. In summer, walkers can seek out cool retreats among the spruce-fir forests and balds or follow splashy mountain streams to roaring falls and cascades.
Here are some of the most popular destination hikes in the park:
One of the most daunting tasks facing hikers is choosing a trail. Start by deciding on what you would like to see. Waterfalls? Old-growth forests? Endless views? Then decide how far you would like to hike. If you haven’t hiked much recently, be conservative. Five miles roundtrip is a good maximum distance for novices.