A trip to Pigeon Forge, TN has long been an opportunity to pay homage to the country queen herself, Ms. Dolly Parton. But if a visit to Dollywood simply isn’t enough, your family would do well to add an evening at Dolly Parton’s Stampede, an unforgettable dinner show featuring live music, live entertainment, dozens of trick horses, and a generously portioned meal of Southern favorites.
Since 1988, Dolly’s Parton Stampede has been running strong, and the show has continued to evolve and improve over the years. In 2018, Dolly decided to drop “Dixie” from the name of the show, in part to acknowledge cultural shifts in attitudes, as well as to create a more consistent brand as the show prepares to expand beyond the Pigeon Forge location to other venues across America.
While the tickets aren’t cheap, you certainly get a lot of value for the entry price.
Read on for 5 top reasons to check out Dolly Parton’s Stampede, and book your tickets today!
1. Live Music
Unlike some live shows, which offer little more than pre-recorded music in the lobby to entertain you while you wait, Dolly Parton’s Stampede kicks things off with a live pre-show in the “Saloon” that features singers and musicians who will get everyone in the mood for a good time. Solid bluegrass and country performers blend in plenty of family-friendly comedy alongside twangy guitar and banjo licks, setting the stage for a well-produced show that features tons of live talent.
2. Delicious, Plentiful Food
While the clear draw at Dolly Parton’s Stampede is the live show—which features over 30 trained horses, dozens of live performers, plus stunning pyrotechnic displays and amazing set pieces—the dinner and service are top-notch, especially considering the size and scope of the venue. Featuring simple but hearty country fare, we were also pleasantly surprised to learn that visitors can request vegetarian or gluten-free meals upon request. We found the meal satisfying and filling, and were glad we passed on the overpriced snacks offered during the preshow. Totally unnecessary, and your money is better spent on a cool souvenir cup for your soft drink. Throughout the show, expect prompt and attentive service, including the truly impressive feat of servers remembering the drink orders of every single attendee to keep the crowd hydrated and ready to cheer!
3. Stunning Sets and Costumes
Offering a hot meal to enjoy alongside live music, comedy, and incredible trained animals already make for an awesome night, but Dolly Parton’s Stampede kicks it up a notch with their fabulous set-pieces. Come during the Christmas season to enjoy some particularly awesome displays (the “Toy Shop” scene illuminated by black lights is particularly cool). All year round, enjoy the spectacle of sparkly costumes, expansive backdrops, and set pieces designed to pop, boom, and explode, making for a totally dynamic entertainment experience.
4. Animal Antics
The animals are the real stars of the show, especially for children in attendance. Arrive early to enjoy the horse walk, where you can visit some of the stars of the show in their stalls. One small note of caution for anyone with a sensitive nose: Dolly Parton’s Stampede features dozens of trained horses, plus other animal guests which may include pigs, buffalo, or even ostriches, and there’s no real way to mask the scent of that many four-legged friends in one space. The overall effect smells like a clean, but well-used barn, so keep that in mind if you’re more of a city slicker who finds that kind of scent off-putting.
5. Memorable Family Time
Last, but certainly not least, the main reason to visit Dolly Parton’s Stampede is to have a totally unforgettable experience with your family. There are even opportunities to volunteer to participate in the show, which makes for a great photo opportunity and an all-around good time! The show is appropriate for people of all ages, though be prepared to reassure the littlest ones when loud noises occur. In addition, the staff at Dolly Parton’s Stampede are committed to making the event accessible for all, so be sure to call ahead or let them know when you arrive if anyone in your party has special needs or required additional accommodations, and they’ll be sure to make you feel right at home.
A lively evening filled with food, song, dance, incredible displays of animal talent, plus a sense of rollicking adventure and excitement, Dolly Parton’s Stampede is an awesome dinner show attraction for families looking to do something totally different from a typical movie night on the couch. Get ready for an evening you won’t soon forget!