Dolly Parton’s Stampede dinner show in Pigeon Forge, which initially opened in 1988, is the first of two locations currently featuring Dolly Parton’s famous show. The dinner attraction features 32 highly trained horses, dozens of cast members, pyrotechnics, special effects, pig 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.
After watching the servers juggle trays of hot soup and pitchers of drinks, I would not be surprised to see the 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 in our entire row what they were drinking. The servers work for tips and the Dolly Parton’s 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, you might expect the food to be low-quality, but it will far exceed your 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 is probably more calories than any human should consume in one sitting. That being said, the meal 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. Can’t get enough of Dolly? Head to Dollywood and enjoy the wonderland of her amusement park.
Dolly Parton’s Stampede is located on the main Parkway in downtown Pigeon Forge, TN. The dinner show is located approximately two blocks past Light #8.
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.