The Dixie is no more.
One of Pigeon Forge’s signature attractions, formerly known as the Dixie Stampede, went through a rebranding a couple of years back in an effort to change, at least a little, with the times.
Now known as Dolly Parton’s Stampede, the dinner and theatre show still offers a four-course meal – “complete with a delicious dessert!” the attraction’s website enthusiastically claims. It still offers friendly North and South competition pitting a team representing Yankees against a team representing Southerners in horse riding competitions and other events.
The show features some really good bluegrass and country music and comedy provided by Skeeter and Nugget in the vein of television classic “Hee Haw” or Ernest T. Bass from the Andy Griffith Show.
Editor’s Note: In full disclosure, growing up in rural, small town Southern Indiana, there was a neighbor man named Skeeter of whom I was deathly afraid. In fairness, he was very, very sketchy. I fear some residual loathing exists for anyone named Skeeter and that may have colored my enjoyment of the show which other members of my family enjoyed quite a bit.
Ticket prices can vary depending on the time of year, show times, and seating preference. Each ticket includes a meal featuring a whole rotisserie chicken and barbecued pork loin. Vegetarian and gluten free options are available.
Like all of Dolly Parton’s ventures, the Stampede features a talented cast and a well-oiled machine of a show. They’ve played down the Civil War connections of the past, but, as I said earlier the North vs. South vibe is still at the heart of the show.
In my experience the meal was fine, if uneventful but I know people who really rave about it while others turn up their nose. It’s a matter of palette, I think.
Word to the wise, the Stampede is BYOF -bring your own fork. The meal is designed to be eaten with your hands. If find this unappealing, are a germaphobe or a parent whose children need their meal cut up into smaller bites, I recommend bringing your own plastic cutlery with which to eat your tasty herb-basted potato.
Dolly Parton’s Stampede serves a very specific market. If you’ve come to Pigeon Forge for a slice of cheesy, country, family-friendly entertainment, then the Stampede is a must do.
If that’s not what you’re looking for, I think you can, fairly safely, skip it.
If you do go, here are some tips:
*Arrive early. Pre-show entertainment starts 50 minutes prior to the actual start of the show
* Children two and under are free if they sit in a parent’s lap and eat off their plate.
* The show involves live animals, dramatic lighting changes and pyrotechnics. If you have allergies or medical conditions that can be exacerbated by these things, might want to skip it.
* Package deals are available. Check the Stampede website for deals to other shows. The Stampede partners with several other area attractions for build your own combo deals. If you’re planning on doing multiple attractions, might as well save a little money in the process.
Location: 3849 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863