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Posts Tagged ‘ Sevierville ’

Jessica Lynch Speaks to Pigeon Forge Chamber Members

Friday, September 19th, 2014

Jessica Lynch and crew from upcoming movie Virtuous spoke at the Pigeon Forge Chamber Annual Membership Breakfast.

Speech given on National POW/MIA Recognition Day

Jessica Lynch, a former United States Army soldier and first woman POW, knew her life would change when she entered basic training exactly 13 years ago today, but she had no idea what that change would entail.

On March 23, 2003, Jessica Lynch was involved in an accident that ended with her capture by Iraqi forces in Nasiriyah. Jessica was rescued on April 1, 2003 by a group of special operation troops. She was the first successful rescued American POW since Vietnam and the first ever woman POW rescued.

Today, Jessica Lynch is a mother and a college graduate. She holds a Bachelors of Elementary Education and a Masters in Communication. She recently began work with J.C. Films, a Christian film company created by Jason Campbell.

Jason Campbell began working with Jessica Lynch in the new movie, Virtuous. Virtuous is a modern day take on Proverbs 31. The film tackles the question, “Can a woman in this culture be both righteous in her lifestyle while being rowdy enough to stand up and defend her convictions?”

Virtuous is a multi-plot film focusing on empowering women to live righteously while remaining unapologetic in their beliefs.

J.C. Films has two other movies completed including Finding Faith and Uncommon.

Jessica Lynch is staring in another J.C. Film called One Church set to be released in 2015.

Jessica Lynch and Jason Campbell spoke today to nearly 150 Pigeon Forge Chamber of Commerce Members, sharing their stories. The Pigeon Forge Chamber of Commerce would like to recognize that today is also National POW/MIA Recognition Day. We are grateful to have shared this day with Jessica Lynch.

Virtuous will not be released to the public until February 2015 – However, the movie is being shown tomorrow, September 20, 2014 at Sevierville First United Methodist Church at 4:00 PM.

Sevierville First Methodist Church
214 Cedar Street
Sevierville, TN 37862

NQC 2014: Schedule, Traffic Alerts and Trolley Information

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

The National Quartet Convention starts this Sunday, September 21, 2014

Jake Thomas Road is traffic Light number 5 on the Parkway in Pigeon Forge. The road is between the Welcome Center and Walgreens and connects the Parkway to Teaster Lane, the location of NQC. Jake Thomas Road will be closing Sunday, September 21, 2014 at 2:00 PM. Jake Thomas Road will remain closed until Sunday, September 28, 2014 at 1:00 AM.

The closing of Jake Thomas Road is to accommodate hotel shuttles, trolleys and motor coach loading and unloading for NQC, which is taking place at the brand new LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge.

There are many other ways of accessing the LeConte Center. Light 2A (Christmas Tree Lane), Light 3 (East Wears Valley Road), the Island Drive Light (between Lights 4 and 5), Light 7 (Old Mill Avenue) and Light 8 (Dollywood Lane) will all be open for traffic and to help connect those to Teaster Lane. Veteran’s Boulevard will also be open.

Overflow parking and additional parking will be located at Pigeon River Crossing (2655 Teaster Lane) and Dollywood’s Splash Country (2700 Dollywood Parks Boulevard).  There will be free shuttle service at those locations, as well.

Special Trolley routes have been created for the National Quartet Convention. The Trolleys on these special routes will be identifiable by the sign “LeConte Center Shuttle.” Trolley passes for multiple days will be available at NQC registration. Trolley passes are also available at There are limited quantities available. The Trolleys will begin running the NQC routes on Sunday at 3:00 PM. The special NQC LeConte Trolleys will run Monday through Saturday beginning at 8:00 AM. The last trolley to depart from the LeConte Center at night will be at 1:00 AM.

Outside food and drinks are not allowed at the LeConte Center. Food and concessions are available for purchase inside the event. Pets are also not allowed to enter the LeConte Center.

Not only will events occur at the LeConte Center, but there will also be NQC events at the Music Road Convention Center. Please see the below Schedule at a Glance for more information.

The NQC event has a long established history spanning 50 years and began in Memphis, Tennessee. The founders were J.D. Summer, Cecil Blackwood and James Blackwood of the Blackwood Brothers. Originally, the National Quartet Convention was a three day event, but has since grown. Currently, the event is six days with a bonus day making it seven days long.

Pigeon Forge is proud to be the new home of NQC.

For more information, please visit or call 800-846-8499.


Let’s Talk Trash and Awards

Friday, September 5th, 2014

Have you ever wondered why there are not many recycling containers in Sevier County? Did you know that 60 to 70 % of all waste in Sevier County is recycled for you?

Sevier Solid Waste, Inc. serves Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Formed in 1989 to combat the ever growing amount of waste in the Sevier County area, SSWI built a $6.5 million facility, complete with three digesters to handle the hundreds of thousands of pounds of Municipal Solid Waste, or MWS. Over time, two more digesters were added creating a total of five to manage over 325 tons of MWS per day. On Memorial Day weekend in 2007, the facility burnt down, leaving only the digesters undamaged.

Sevier Solid Waste, Inc. opened the new, multi-million dollar composting facility in 2009. The new plant, located off of Ridge Road, cost $10.5 million dollars. It is the largest MSW facility in the nation. The facility reduces the amount of waste put into landfills by taking all organic waste, such as paper and food waste, and creates grade A compost. This compost is used throughout the Southeastern United States for farmers and to aid in the prevention of soil erosion. This creates 60% to 70% less wastes added to the landfills.

Sevier County boasts the highest recycling rate in the state of Tennessee. With all SSWI recycling efforts, Sevier County has a 70 % recycling rate.

How does it work?

The majority of the waste runs through a system of three-chamber rotary digesters. These digester chambers can hold 75 tons of solid waste, each. That is equal to 150,000 pounds per chamber! The biodegradable material, such as paper, food waste and bio-solids, is broken down by microorganisms. These microorganisms thrive high heat environments and reach 180 degrees Fahrenheit over a three-day span. Over this time, the waste is turned into compost. The material is screened and then put in an aeration floor. The material is turned periodically and continues to compost for four more weeks. The majority of the compost is then sold and is completely safe for the use on gardens and farms as a soil additive.

The inorganic material that will not decompose is separated and put into SSWI’s Class IV landfill.

In August 2014, Tom Leonard with Sevier Solid Waste, Inc. was presented the award for Tennessee Certified Green Hospitality from the Tennessee Hospitality Association and SkyCon.












Labor Day 2014 in Pigeon Forge!

Friday, August 29th, 2014

Labor Day 2014 is here and there is so much to do and see in Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and the National Park! Check out all of the events planned in the area for Labor Day weekend:

Tanger Five Oaks Labor Day Sale: Tanger Five Oaks in Sevierville, Tennessee is having a HUGE Labor Day Sale! The operating hours have been extended on Sunday, August 31, 2014 to 9:00 PM. The sale is scheduled to begin Friday, August 28, 2014 and will end Monday, September 1, 2014. For more information, visit


The Comedy Barn’s Second Annual Kickin’ Chicken 5K Run and Fun Walk: The Comedy Barn’s Kickin’ Chicken 5K Run and Fun Walk is taking place Saturday, August 30 at 8:00 AM. Along with the race, there will be a huge silent auction and door prizes. Be sure to swing by! For more information visit or www.


The Great Smoky Mountain Jeep Invasion: The Smoky Mountain Jeep Club and The Island in Pigeon Forge are presenting the Second Annual Great Smoky Mountain Jeep Invasion. The event will take place in the parking lot for The Island. The event is to benefit Smoky Mountain Service Dogs, which provides service dogs to Disabled Veterans and children with autism. For more information, visit

Sevier County Fair: The Sevier County Fair presents Peace, Love and Fair beginning September 1 through September 6. The fair takes place in Sevierville, Tennessee at the Sevier County Fairgrounds. The hours of operation for the fair are:
Monday, 3 PM – 10 PM
Tuesday – Friday, 5 PM – 10 PM
Saturday, 3 PM – 10 PM
For more information about the Sevier County Fair, visit

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies Tennessee Resident Discount: Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is offering a great deal for Tennessee residents. Now through Labor Day (September 1, 2014), Tennessee residents can visit the aquarium for only $10! Visitors wanting to take advantage of this incredible deal must buy tickets at the Ripley’s Aquarium ticket counter, must be a Tennessee resident and must have a valid Tennessee ID. For more information, visit


Splash Country: The last days of the season for Dollywood’s Splash Country are this weekend! The last day of operations for 2014 is September 1, 2014. Dollywood’s Splash Country will reopen in 2015. For more information, visit

Ole Smoky Presents Jamal Lewis: Ole Smoky Moonshine will have a special guest visiting in The Holler this Saturday. From 1 PM to 3 PM, Jamal Lewis is scheduled to appear at the Gatlinburg Ole Smoky location. Jamal Lewis played football for the University of Tennessee and played professionally for the Baltimore Ravens. For more information, visit


Great Smoky Mountain National Park: The Great Smoky Mountain National Park always has wonderful, educational events scheduled! Visit for a full list of events in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

University of Tennessee Football Game: The first University of Tennessee football game of the season kicks off August 30, 2014 against Utah State at 7:00 PM. For the first time since 2007, the entire stadium is sold out – that’s over 100,000 people! For more information, visit

Rafting and Rhythm Festival 2014

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

The Smoky Mountain Community is incredible – there is a myriad of individuals with big hearts and helping hands.

Mountain Hope Good Shepherd Clinic in Sevierville, Tennessee is the only healthcare ministry in Sevier County that exclusively treats the uninsured residents in the community. The population of Sevier County relies heavily on tourism. With tourism comes primarily seasonal jobs that are not typically full time positions. This leads to many local residents unable to obtain medical insurance through employment. Mountain Hope Good Shepherd was founded in 1999 to provide medical care to those in need. Mountain Hope provides primary medical care, limited dental care and pharmaceutical assistance.

Due to Mountain Hope’s incredible offering of health care at an exceptionally low price, costs do arise for the facility. Each office visit averages a $55 deficit per patient. The organization works heavily off of donations.

In order to help Mountain Hope Good Shepherd, USA Raft, a Pigeon Forge Chamber of Commerce Member, is hosting Rafting and Rhythm Festival 2014 this Saturday, August 23, 2014. Rafting and Rhythm 2014 will have live country and bluegrass music, rafting expeditions, backyard grillers contest, ropes course, kid’s activities, challenges and competitions, storytelling, bonfire, demonstrations, food, arts and crafts and more!

All day, music is free to the public. The musical guests scheduled to perform include Steve Brown and Hurricane Ridge, Claxton Creek, Every Now and Again, Kirk Fleta, Mountain Edge, and Wild Mountain Honey.

The address for the event is 3630 Hartford Rd, Hartford TN 37753.

For more information, check out the Rafting and Rhythm Festival 2014 website and Facebook page.


KIDabra International Conference is coming to Pigeon Forge August 11-15, 2014

Monday, August 11th, 2014

KIDabra International began in 1992 as the International Festival of Children’s Magicians. In August 2005, KIDabra International launched from these conferences to become what it is today. KIDabra International is known as the Association of KIDshow and Family Performers. The conference specializes in an intermediate to advanced focus on performing arts, businesses and careers.

The conference presents different ideas and ways of conveying messages, managing businesses, marketing, DIY show ideas, storytelling tips, and much more. KIDabra allows attendees to view different ideas, styles, viewpoints, theories and real world experience by interacting with other performers from around the country.

Speakers, Lectures and Hosts for KIDabra 2014 include: Terry Evanswood, Rachel Colombini, Donald Dunphy, Max Howard, Barry Hinnant, Kevin Heller, Tommy James, David Kaye, Ken Kelly, Jim Kleefeld, Julian Mather, Todd McKinney, Steve Metzger, Barry Mitchell, Marcela Murad, Todd Neufeld, Danny Orleans, Paul Osborne, John Reid, Michael Rosander, Jan Rose, Gary Shleton “The Kernal”, Ken Scott and The Great Zuchinni.

For information about the upcoming KIDabra conference being held at Music Road, a Chamber Member, visit

SpringHill Suites by Marriott, Pigeon Forge Receives Prestigious Expedia Award

Friday, August 1st, 2014

SpringHill Suites by Marriott in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee received today the prestigious Expedia Insiders’ Select Award for 2014.

Expedia Insiders’ Select is an annual award, recognizing the very best hotels available in the Expedia global marketplace, as judged by the experiences of Expedia customers. Based on nearly 2 million guest reviews submitted annually, SpringHill Suites by Marriott was one of only 650 winners worldwide, and one of only two properties in the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge market to be chosen.  SpringHill Suites along with RiverStone Resorts have been identified by Expedia customers as consistently delivering superior services, an exceptional guest experience and value for money. Earning a place on the Insiders’ Select list is a testament to your ongoing commitment to excellence.


M Gibson Hotels Vice President of Operations, Joeseph Grieco, General Manger, Lori Van Price along with staff receive the Expedia Insider’s Select Award from Expedia representative Joe Donnelly.

For information on the award winning hotels:

SpringHill Suites by Marriott: 865-453-4514 |
RiverStone Resorts: 865-908-0660 |

Happy 6th Birthday, Smoky Mountain Wedding Association!

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Happy 6th Birthday to the Smoky Mountain Wedding Association!

The Smoky Mountain region is the Wedding Capital of the South. Over the years, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville have come together to make weddings in this area memorable. Much of that cohesion stems from the Smoky Mountain Wedding Association.

The Smoky Mountain Wedding Association is a collaboration of various businesses in Sevier County and the Great Smoky Mountain area. These businesses offer products, services or venues specific to the wedding industry. Chamber Members who also belong to the Smoky Mountain Wedding Association are: Angels View Wedding Chapel, Barn Event Center of the Smokies, Bennett’s BBQ, Bluff Mountain Rentals, Brookside Resort, Bullfish Grill, Cabin Fever Vacations, Climb Works Canopy, Fireside Chalets, Friendly Falls Events, Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, Heartland Cabin Rentals, Hidden Mountain Resort, Imagine This Photography, In the Smokies Weddings & Cabin Rentals, Jackson Mountain Homes, Kennedy Concepts, Lumberjack Feud, Mama’s Farmhouse, Mountain Fresh Hospitality, Mountain Valley Chapel, Music Road Resort, Ober Gatlinburg, Park Vista, Rafting in the Smokies, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, Riverstone Resort and Spa, Side-By-Side Entertainment, Smokey Mountain Sounds, Smoky Creek Cabin Rentals, Smoky Mountain Christian Village, Stellar Wedding Services, Sugar Hollow Weddings, Tennessee Riverboat Company, The Alamo, The Island, Titanic Pigeon Forge, Wilderness at the Smokies Resort and Wonderworks.

The Smoky Mountain Wedding Association started six years ago with only five members. As of now, there are 106 members of the Smoky Mountain Wedding Association. All of these members are top notch professional businesses looking to help make weddings magical. Different categories of members include: Accommodations, Bakers, Photographers, Decorations, Ministers, Entertainment, Receptions, Chapels, Clothing, Hair Salons, Venues and much more! The members are a wonderful mix, allowing the bride and groom to have a traditional wedding or non-traditional.

The Smoky Mountain Wedding association meets every two months. Membership has incredible perks, including CO-OPs with national Bridal Magazines. The Smoky Mountain Wedding Association helps member businesses by generating more leads for weddings and business, providing listings and photos on the Smoky Mountain Wedding Association website, affordable advertising opportunities, networking and information on wedding statistics in the area. Smoky Mountain Wedding Association also helps with tourism in the community by promoting couples and their guests to visit the area.

“We (the SMWA members) want to let brides know what many wonderful wedding venues we have here in the Smoky Mountains so that they will have a beautiful and unique wedding they will always treasure” – Olga Wierbicki, SMWA President.

The SMWA website is:

Again, from the Pigeon Forge Chamber of Commerce to the Smoky Mountain Wedding Association, Happy 6th Birthday!


Tax Free Weekend in Tennessee is Approaching!

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Tax Free Weekend in Tennessee is quickly approaching. What does this mean for shoppers? What items are included in the tax free special? What items are excluded? Why does have a tax free weekend?

Tennessee is one of seventeen states in the US that take part in a sales tax holiday – AKA Tax Free Weekend. Each state has certain items that are exempt from sales tax during the sales tax holiday. For example: During Louisiana’s tax free holiday, hurricane preparedness items, firearms and ammunition (up to a certain amount) are tax free. Virginia has a tax free holiday on clothing, school supplies, green appliances and hurricane preparedness items. Not only do these holidays help consumers, but it also helps encourage business investment and development.

The State of Tennessee always has tax free weekend the first Friday of August and ends the following Sunday night. Tax Free Weekend 2014 will begin 12:01 AM on Friday, August 1 and ends Sunday, August 3 at 11:59 PM.

What is considered to be tax free during this tax holiday?

The State of Tennessee allows for these items to be tax free:

  1. Clothing
  2. School Supplies
  3. Computers

There are guidelines for each item.

Clothing ($100 or less per item)

Examples of tax free items during the holiday include:

Belts Hats Pants Socks
Caps Hosiery Scarves Sneakers
Coats Jackets School Uniforms Underwear
Dresses Jeans Shirts
Gloves Neckties Shoes

Clothing items are defined as human wearing appeal for general use. Items that are not included are accessories like jewelry, bags and sports equipment (baseball gloves are not tax exempt).

School Supplies ($100 or less per Item)

Examples of tax-free items during the holiday include:

Binders Erasers Paper Tape
Book Bags / Backpacks Folders Pens Clay and Glazes
Calculators Glue Pencils Paintbrushes and Paints
Chalk Lunch Boxes Rulers Sketch and Drawing Pads
Crayons Notebooks Scissors Watercolors

Specifically excluded are items such as instructional material, including reference books and school computer supplies (compact discs, printers and printer ink).

Computers ($1,500 or less)

During these holidays, computers with a purchase price of $1,500 or less, not for use in a trade or business, are exempt from tax. Laptop computers, if priced at $1,500 or less, also qualify as well as tablet computers. Additionally, there is no requirement that purchases be made only for students. If an item is tax exempt, anyone may make the purchase tax–free.

For purposes of this exemption, a computer is defined as a central processing unit (CPU), along with various other components including monitor, keyboard, mouse, cables to connect components, and preloaded software. While the CPU may be purchased separately, other items must be part of a bundled computer package in order to be eligible. Software beyond what is preloaded with the computer package is not exempt from tax.

The following items are not exempt from tax:

  • Computer parts, such as monitors, keyboards, speakers, and scanners when not sold in conjunction with a CPU
  • Individually purchased software or other software not part of a preloaded software package on the initial purchase of a computer
  • Storage media, such compact disks and USB flash drives
  • Handheld electronic schedulers
  • Personal digital assistants (PDAs) and electronic readers (i.e., Kindle, Nook, etc.)
  • Video game consoles
  • Computer printers and supplies for printers, such as paper and ink

What does this mean for shoppers? It will be a very busy time in the shopping areas here in Pigeon Forge. Tanger Five Oaks, Burkes Outlet in Pigeon Forge, Nike Clearance Outlet, Walmart in Sevierville and other locations will be bustling with many a shopper! Be prepared for delays when seeking out the bargains.

There are numerous shopping locations that will be having big sales and extended hours. Check out our friends at Tanger Five Oaks (, Burkes Outlet in Pigeon Forge (, The Nike Clearance Outlet in Pigeon Forge (, Walmart in Sevierville ( and more for hours of operation and sales during this exciting time!


An Outdoor Playground for All

Friday, July 11th, 2014

The weather here in the Smoky Mountains has been stunning this year! Amazing temperatures, nice breezes and light rain have formed a beautiful and ideal outdoor playground! It is a perfect summer for a picnic in the Smokies. Grab your favorite picnic foods and head down to the creek. Make sure that our cub reporter, Buddy Bear, doesn’t steal your picnic basket!

Park Entrance Sign

The Entrance to the National Park

Did you know that there are eleven picnic areas in the National Park and more just on the outskirts? All of these locations have plenty of room to relax and take in all that the Smokies offer. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park Picnic areas are located at Big Creek, Chimneys, Cades Cove, Deep Creek, Greenbrier, Heintooga, Look Rock, Metcalf Bottoms and Twin Creeks. A few of these locations stay open all year round so the outdoor adventure never has to end! Some of the locations even have pavilions that can be reserved for events. Go to to reserve a pavilion today!

An important fact to remember while visiting the National Park is that feeding bears and other wildlife is illegal. Feeding the wildlife is dangerous for visitors and the animals, alike. When visiting the area, please make sure the picnic area being used is completely cleaned and the garbage is disposed of correctly. This includes the table top and area below the table.

Bear trying to get in a bear proof trash can

Don't Feed the Bears

A great location in the National Park that is close by is Cades Cove. Cades Cove has a myriad of things to do such as biking, hiking, camping, horseback riding, animal viewing, picnicking, and much more! The best time to head on the one way, eleven mile loop in Cades Cove for wildlife viewing is either early morning or late afternoon. Cades Cove Loop is open sunrise to sunset, with the exceptions of Saturday and Wednesday mornings until 10 AM. During that time, the loop is only open to foot traffic and biking.

When visiting Cades Cove, please allot between two to five hours, depending on traffic and the amount of time you wish to hike in the area. When hiking, keep in mind there are many different trails with different lengths. Abrams Falls and Cades Cove Nature Trails are both shorter trails (under 5 miles). Thunderhead Mountain and Rocky Top, both of which are longer trails, begin in Cades Cove.

A Deer spotted by the National Park Entrance

Oh Deer! A Young Deer Spotted by our Blogger in the National Park

The Sugarlands Visitor Center is another great stop when visiting the National Park. The Sugarlands Visitor Center has a free 20 minute video about the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, many animal displays of the wildlife and plant life in the area, maps and a large bookstore. The Visitor Center also has brochures and information on the history of the park. There are a few short hiking trails right beside the Visitor Center that is perfect for families with small children.

The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is a natural playground with so much to see and do. Remembering to enjoy it, along with the vast number of other wonderful attractions, shopping and restaurants. When visiting the area, stop by the Sugarland’s Welcome Center and talk to the Great Smoky Mountains Association. They have a large amount of interesting and fun information about the park. Also, check out the different events offered by the Park Rangers and Volunteers at There are tons of classes and programs offered for Rangers and Future Rangers of all ages!


A Mountain Steam in the Smokies

A Beautiful Mountain Stream in the Smokies