The Dixie Stampede Dinner Attraction in Pigeon Forge, which initially opened in 1988, is the first of three locations currently featuring Dolly Parton’s famous show. The dinner attraction features 32 highly trained horses, dozens of cast members, pyrotechnics, special effects, brief lumberjack competition, pig races, ostrich races, and much more! Since the entire show is centered around a friendly competition between the North and the South, you will be competing with your friends on the other side of the arena. The show is very entertaining and some of the spectacular horse stunts seemed like a combination of a rodeo and Blue Angles airshow presentation.
In addition to the main show, Dixie Stampede has a pre-show that starts approximately 50 minutes prior to the ticketed showtime. The pre-show entertainment, which is in the Dixie Belle Saloon, features a talented Bluegrass and Country band, Mountain Ruckus. During the pre-show, guests can purchase souvenir boot cups (filled with soda) and various snacks. Trust me on this — don’t purchase the overpriced popcorn or peanuts. Once you see the huge portions they feed you during the show, you will thank me.
After watching the servers juggle trays of hot soup and pitchers of drinks, I would not be surprised to see Dixie Stampede table serving become an Olympic sport. It was quite impressive to watch the servers feed the masses assembly-line style and keep hundreds of mason jars filled. The servers use a system to make sure the glasses are always filled with the appropriate beverage – after the initial drink order, the server did not have to ask anyone on our entire row what they were drinking. The servers work for tips and the Dixie Stampede announcer suggests visitors tip 15% of the total ticket price (bring cash).
The quality of the food was surprisingly good and vegetarian meals are available upon request. Due to the number of people being served, I was expecting the food to be low-quality, but it far exceeded my expectations. The meal, which is served without utensils, includes creamy vegetable soup, an entire rotisserie chicken, smoked pork loin, homemade biscuits, corn-on-the-cob, potatoes, and fried apple turnover. The four-course meal included and more calories than any human should consume in one sitting and is one of the best dinner show meals in the area.
Although Dolly Parton does not normally make an appearance, a music video of her singing Color Me America along and the cast performing is the grand finale.
The real stampede is when they open the theater for general seating! Since seating for the main show is first-come, first-served (in your row), make sure to sit close to the red curtains upstairs during the pre-show.
Dixie Stampede is located on the main Parkway in downtown Pigeon Forge, TN. The dinner show is located approximately two blocks past Light #8.