Awards & Milestones

Dollywood Earns Three 2019 Golden Ticket Awards

Published September 9, 2019 / Last Updated September 10, 2019

Team Dolly

Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton.

Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman
Senior Editor - Amanda Webb

Most-Honored Park Wins For Best Kids’ Area, Best Guest Experience And Best Christmas Event

Dollywood certainly has earned a number of major accolades in recent years, and the Smoky Mountain theme park won three more on Saturday night during Amusement Today’s Golden Ticket Awards ceremony held at Silverwood theme park in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Dollywood earned finalist placement in seven total categories and won more awards than any other park. Dolly Parton said,

“I’m so proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish here since we opened Dollywood in 1986. First, we’ve been able to provide so many jobs to the great people who live here in the Smokies. Second, I wanted the world to know how beautiful this area truly is. I’ve been able to travel the world and see so many great things, but in the end, the Smokies are where my heart sings. I wanted to give folks the world over a reason to come here and see it for themselves.”

Dolly continued,

“We don’t do what we do to win awards. They are nice, but we do it because we want to provide families an escape to a beautiful place where they can forget about all the things going on in their daily lives and truly enjoy each other.”

Dollywood’s three Golden Ticket Awards include:

  • Best Guest Experience, inaugural winner of this prestigious new category;
  • Best Kids’ Area, for Wildwood Grove, Dollywood’s first win in this category;
  • Best Christmas Event, the only park to ever earn this award, Dollywood celebrates its 12th consecutive win.

Dollywood also had Top Ten (finalist) positions in four additional categories:

  • Best Food, second place;
  • Best Park, second place;
  • Most Beautiful Park, third place;
  • Best Park, fifth place;
  • Best Wooden Coaster for Lightning Rod, seventh place.

The Golden Ticket Awards are the most sought-after awards in the business of amusements and attractions. The awards have become the subject of much discussion by park aficionados the world over and garnered mentions in such notable media outlets as USA Today and the Chicago Tribune, and by the late radio newsman Paul Harvey. The awards also were the topic of a one-hour Travel Channel documentary.

“The Golden Ticket for Best Kids’ Area reinforces what guests have been telling us since it opened; Wildwood Grove is a place where families can laugh, play and make memories together,” said Craig Ross, President of The Dollywood Company. “Dolly wanted Wildwood Grove to truly reflect the experiences she had as a little girl growing up here in the Great Smoky Mountains. As we started to develop the area and she began telling stories—some we had heard and some we hadn’t—we knew kids were going to love exploring the wilderness of Wildwood Grove she had dreamed up.”

Two categories Dollywood has dominated for a number of years—Best Shows and Friendliest Park—have been retired and replaced with new categories. Best Guest Experience combines the previous Friendliest Park award with the Cleanest Park award into one prestigious new category. Pete Owens, Dollywood’s Vice-President of Marketing and Public Relations said,

“Winning the Golden Ticket for Best Guest Experience further solidifies what we’ve known for so long. The Dollywood experience provides guests a genuinely friendly, clean and warm environment to create memories they will be able to share forever. From our welcoming hosts and picturesque natural surroundings to our unique attractions, entertainment and food, Dollywood offers an experience that is hard to find elsewhere.”

About Golden Ticket Awards

Calculated from an international poll conducted by Amusement Today, the industry’s leading trade publication, the Golden Ticket Awards are the results of a detailed survey sent to a database of experienced and well-traveled amusement park fans around the world in balanced geographical regions. Voters are asked to rate the “best” in a number of categories such as best parks, roller coasters, water rides, kids’ area, food and more.

“It has been fascinating to observe the results over the past two decades,” said Amusement Today’s Tim Baldwin, Golden Ticket Awards Communications Coordinator. “I have watched Dollywood ascend from a great regional theme park to a world-famous destination. That continual climb has been the result of offering an outstanding product at all levels — food, shows, innovative rides and a fantastic atmosphere. Dollywood is just the complete package! It has been inspiring to watch the park trying to continue to better itself — and it is succeeding in a huge way. The fact that they are recognized in numerous categories is testimony to that.”

Dollywood’s Harvest Festival

Dollywood's Great Pumpkin LumiNights won USA TODAY's 10Best Reader's Choice 2019 Travel Award for Best Theme Park Halloween Event

There are still a number of great opportunities for guests to enjoy what has arguably become the biggest season in Dollywood’s history. Dollywood’s Harvest Festival presented by Humana features the return of an even larger Great Pumpkin LumiNights*, which includes new experiences in Wildwood Grove! Additionally, more than 600 Southern gospel concerts take place throughout the festival.

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana, now the 12-time winner for Best Christmas Event, features the second year of Glacier Ridge, as well as the first year of Christmas in Wildwood Grove. Now boasting five million spectacular lights, Smoky Mountain Christmas puts guests in the holiday spirit with stunning lights displays, tantalizing food options, traditional shows and fun experiences like the Parade of Many Colors and Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer and friends.

For more information about Dollywood, visit, call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD or download the Dollywood App.

*Dollywood was also crowned winner of another notable award by USA TODAY this past Friday. Dollywood’s Great Pumpkin LumiNights won the 2019 USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice Travel Award for Best Theme Park Halloween Event!

Team DollyDollywood Earns Three 2019 Golden Ticket Awards

13th Annual Fun-Filled “Whoadeo” Kids’ Event At Stampede

Published September 4, 2019 / Last Updated September 4, 2019

Team Dolly

Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton.

Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons
Senior Editor - Amanda Webb
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman

“Whoadeo” is proudly presented by Dolly Parton’s Stampede, Pirates Voyage And Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Shows And Food City Kid’s Club

September 21, 2019 (8:30 AM – 1 PM)

Dolly Parton’s Stampede in Pigeon Forge, TN will host the 13th Annual Fun-Filled “Whoadeo” Kids’ Event. “Whoadeo offers the perfect chance for families searching for great kids activities, festive fall decorations, food, mascots and storytelling. Activities include costume contests, mascot characters from a variety of Smoky Mountain attractions, stick horse competitions and a free outdoor carnival from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Area attractions as well as law enforcement, fire and rescue partners also are part of this special event, adding to the family atmosphere and offering information in an entertaining way.

Celebrity Storytelling Stage

The popular celebrity storytelling stage returns this year highlighting Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Guest storytellers include Knoxville TV personalities, Stampede emcee Jay Teter and his sidekick Skeeter, Pirates Voyage very own Blackbeard and performers from Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud, The Comedy Barn Theater and Smoky Mountain Opry.

Costume Contests & Stick Horse Competitions

Everyone is looking forward to the costume contest and stick horse competition. Children will participate in three age groups: ages 3-5; 6-9 and 10-12. Every Whoadeo participant (ages 3-12) receives a free Stampede admission ticket to the 3:30 p.m. dinner show on Sept. 21. Children may register for the Whoadeo on Saturday, Sept. 21 beginning at 8 a.m. at Dolly Parton’s Stampede located at 3849 Parkway in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

The only requirement to compete in the competition is a stick horse which can be homemade or purchased. Free stick horses also will be provided at the event, while supplies last. Participants will compete in a series of Whoadeo competitions, including a cowboy costume contest, a “parade of stick horses” and “stick horse barrel races.” These contests all will take place inside the Stampede building, offering a rare chance for children to actually participate on the main arena floor. Contestants compete for first, second and third place prizes in each of three age brackets (ages 3-5, 6-9 and 10-12) for each competition – including bicycles and tablets.

Stick Horse Competition Times

  • Ages 3-5 (10 AM)
  • Ages 6-9 (11 AM)
  • Ages 10-12 (12 PM)

*Registration ends 45 minutes prior to each competition.

“This is Food City’s 13th year to join Dolly Parton’s dinner shows for this family-friendly Whoadeo event,” said Steven C. Smith, President/CEO of Food City.  “From returning competitors to first-time participants, this event celebrates creativity in an atmosphere that’s fun for everyone.”

Free Whoadeo Carnival

All children must be accompanied by a parent and/or guardian. Families are invited to attend the free Whoadeo carnival from 8:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. in the Stampede parking lot. Food City will provide complimentary snacks for participating children and Coca-Cola® will provide free soft drinks. Each Whoadeo participant also will receive a Kid’s Club backpack from Food City (while supplies last), a voucher for one free child’s ticket to The Comedy Barn Theater and a complimentary one-day child’s ticket to Dollywood (valid for children ages 3-9 years old).

For more information on the Whoadeo Kids Event, call 865-453-4400 or visit

“Coca-Cola” is a registered trademark of The Coca-Cola Company.

Team Dolly13th Annual Fun-Filled “Whoadeo” Kids’ Event At Stampede

Family Traditions Are Made At Dolly Parton’s Stampede

Published August 14, 2019 / Last Updated August 14, 2019

Team Dolly

Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton.

Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons
Senior Editor - Amanda Webb
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman

Treasured family memories start at Dolly Parton’s Stampede in Branson, MO.

Family memories are among our most treasured possessions – from vacations spent exploring old favorites to new experiences that end up becoming lasting traditions. At Dolly Parton’s Stampede in Branson, MO, we strive to create the perfect experience for family fun and making the perfect memory!

Everyone who visits the Stampede seems to have their own explanation when asked: “what’s the best part of the show?” Dinner is bound to be the answer for many; with a four-course feast that is both plentiful and delicious, this meal is truly one of the show’s biggest stars. The 32 magnificent horses and the talented cast of riders often take #1 on the audience favorite list. From the dazzle of the Roman Ride of Fire to the elegance of “square dancing” on horseback, the equine stars and equestrians bring a wow factor not found in any other show anywhere. There’s also singing and dancing, longhorns and buffaloes, those majestic live animals that once roamed the Great American West. There’s comedy that will make you laugh out loud, some good old-fashioned competition and a patriotic salute including music by everyone’s favorite star, Dolly Parton, that’s a must-see event for families visiting Branson.

Guests should plan to arrive an hour before the main arena spectacular, stroll the beautiful horse walk and meet the 4-legged stars of the show. Then enjoy even more surprises in the Carriage Room. This music and comedy pre-show will have you clapping your hands and tapping your toes to the most fun blend of country and bluegrass music around.

Altogether, Dolly Parton’s Stampede gives your family an experience full of tradition, laughter, amazement and fun that they will cherish a lifetime.

Visit Dolly Parton’s Stampede in Branson, MO


Enter To Win 25 Years Of Memories Photo Sweepstakes From Dolly Parton’s Stampede In Branson, MO


25 Years of Memories Photo Sweepstakes at Dolly Parton's Stampede in Branson, MO!

Team DollyFamily Traditions Are Made At Dolly Parton’s Stampede

Dolly Parton’s Stampede Awarded Four #1 Rankings Among Pigeon Forge Attractions

Published August 13, 2019 / Last Updated August 13, 2019

Team Dolly

Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton.

Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons
Senior Editor - Amanda Webb
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman

Best of Pigeon Forge 2019 awards Stampede with four #1 finishes including Best Overall Attraction

The Best of Pigeon Forge 2019 awards, now in its 5th year, counted thousands of votes cast by the general public. Dolly Parton’s Stampede claimed the top prize in four categories – Best Overall Attraction, Best Indoor Attraction, Best Dinner Theater and Best Show!

Best Of Pigeon Forge 2019

Exciting Pre-Show Entertainment

Your visit to Stampede begins with a stroll along our open-air stables! There, you’ll meet the stars of the show up close, and study the flawless lines of the Quarter Horse and Palomino breeds along the Horse Walk.

When you are ready to go inside, our costumed greeters will welcome you into our world-famous Saloon for a toe-tapping good time with our Opening Act, Mountain Ruckus! In addition to refreshments and fantastic music, the Saloon also offers children the chance to become part of Dolly Parton’s Stampede with our make-over experiences! Kids of all ages can become a Buckaroo or Prairie Princess!

About The Show

After guests have enjoyed the excitement of the pre-show in the Saloon, it’s time for the main event. The award-winning show is filled with friendly North and South competition, thrilling horse riding stunts, spectacular special effects, phenomenal musical productions plus a mouth-watering four-course feast complete with a delicious dessert!

Four-Course Feast

The four-course feast includes a mouth-watering tender whole rotisserie chicken, delicious hickory smoked barbecued pork loin, Original Creamy Vegetable Soup, scrumptious homemade biscuit, hot buttered corn on the cob, tasty herb-basted potato, Stampede’s very own Specialty Dessert and unlimited Coca-Cola®, tea or coffee.

Visit Dolly Parton’s Stampede in Pigeon Forge, TN

Team DollyDolly Parton’s Stampede Awarded Four #1 Rankings Among Pigeon Forge Attractions

Special Anniversary Show Celebrates 25 Seasons At The Comedy Barn

Published July 31, 2019 / Last Updated July 31, 2019

Team Dolly

Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton.

Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons
Senior Editor - Amanda Webb
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman

The Comedy Barn Theater celebrated 25 seasons of laughs during a special anniversary show in Pigeon Forge, TN!

In 2019, The Comedy Barn Theater in Pigeon Forge, TN is celebrating 25 years of laughs, family fun and clean comedy. A special show on Tuesday night, July 30, commemorated this extraordinary entertainment milestone.

Year after year, The Comedy Barn receives the title of Pigeon Forge’s Funniest Show. This hilarious show combines the talents and fun antics of magicians, comedians, jugglers, ventriloquists, and even members of the audience in a variety of fun routines that offer surprises and laughs galore. Lovable animals take the stage for more family fun, while live country and gospel music as well as Smoky Mountain clogging also take center stage with memorable performances that everyone in attendance will enjoy.

Original Cast Members

Four original cast members have been entertaining young and old at The Comedy Barn Theater since the first show in 1994, and they each have favorite memories and parts of the act that they find special and offer some of the many reasons why people come to this show – and even more why they keep coming back year after year. Ron Jeffery came to the area 35 years ago to play bass for Hee Haw legend Archie Campbell’s show, then joined the original Comedy Barn cast. Eric Lambert was one of the original comedians, Buddy Cline has been the band’s drummer since that first night, and Charlie King has provided the band with its guitar melodies for all 25 years. Kathy Kearney, now Executive Assistant to the General Manager at the Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show, also came on board – first selling tickets for the show and then joining the cast in the magician and animal acts.

Jeffery says he knows what makes the Comedy Barn so special. “The whole place is a family, and everyone has been here so long, everyone gets along. People come in here to see (comedian) Danny (Devaney), to see me and Eric. It’s just such a unique situation that keeps people coming back.” Kearney noted that it’s two very simple ingredients that set this show apart: “Good clean comedy and laughter are what has made it such a favorite throughout the years.”

Cline added that while the show has played for two and a half decades, each night is a different experience.

“The audience makes the show so special, because it’s different every night. The people you have up on stage, like Eric, you never know what he is going to do. Even though we have been doing it for 25 years, some person could come on stage (in the audience participation segments) and do it totally different and do something we have never seen before.”

Special Memories

While this show celebrates its 25th anniversary of entertaining Smoky Mountain visitors, the troupe at The Comedy Barn knows that each show is an opportunity to provide special memories for those in attendance. Jeffery says he remembers one couple who came 15 times in one year. “You get to know the guests by name, you get to know their kids, and 25 years later, you get to know their grandkids. It is just amazing how generations of families come to Comedy Barn.” King echoed those comments. “It is awesome to be a part of something this life-changing as far as lots of customers coming back year after year after year after year. We see the same folks come back from Texas, Florida, Georgia, and California just to name a few places. What we have here is very special; it is like no other.”

The cast enjoys their jobs, and it shows on stage – to the audience and to their fellow entertainers. The cast enjoys their jobs, and it shows on stage – to the audience and to their fellow entertainers. “My favorite thing that I get to do is improvisation (with the audience),” Lambert said, “that freedom to say something that will make everyone laugh from ages three to 90 is what makes this a wonderful, challenging and rewarding job.” King says he just loves doing what he does – playing the guitar – and loves to hear Kendall Manning sing. “And of course, I love Danny and Eric. Those two are absolutely unbelievable – just fantastic comedians.” Cline loves the interaction with fellow original Ron Jeffery on the Hank Snow classic “I’ve Been Everywhere.” “Even though we’ve done the number so much, it’s still fun to play every show (after 25 years).”

More Laughs To Come

This award-winning comedy-variety adventure shows no signs of slowing down as it heads into its next 25 years. “I knew that (we) would be here 25 years later,” Lambert said. “The reason is that we always intended for this to be something that took a stand; we built the Comedy Barn on the principles of clean family comedy and audience interactions; those things are eternal.” His co-star Charlie King summed it up similarly. “The night of the first show just seemed like everything worked. Everybody was just happy performing with each other, and we still are. Throughout the years, it’s been easy for us to accept new cast members as they become part of the family. The people that I work with have been so amazing – we are like family.” Jeffery added, “After one week, I had a feeling this was something pretty special.” Kearney summed up why she is still part of The Comedy Barn family after 25 years: “It’s home.”

Millions of new laughs can be heard just ahead as the Comedy Barns heads into its next decades of good clean fun. “It’s our job to make our guests laugh,” Lambert said, “and in 25 years, we have learned very well how to make families laugh.”



Check showtimes and make reservations online at The Comedy Barn

Team DollySpecial Anniversary Show Celebrates 25 Seasons At The Comedy Barn