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Two separate burglaries of the Sevierville Sprint store, located at 699 Parkway, have been reported this month. According to Sevierville Police Department Detectives Kevin Bush and Dweese Milliron, Sprint managers say that a total of over $50,000 in cell phones and a small amount of cash were taken. The stolen cell phones were mostly iPhones and other smart phones.
The first burglary allegedly occurred on April 13, 2013 at about 4:15AM; the second was on April 19, 29, 2013 at about 4 AM. In both instances, it appears that the suspect was a white male wearing a mask and gloves, approximately 6’1” tall and weighing 200 pounds. The suspect made entry into the store by forcing open a rear business door on April 13, and by breaking the front store glass on April 29. The attached video was taken from security equipment on April 29, 2013.
Anyone with information on these incidents is requested to contact Detective Bush or Detective Milliron at 865-453-5507.
The Great Smoky Mountain Lumberjack Feud was one of many local businesses that entered a float to show their support and as a token of gratitude for the sacrifices made by veterans of the Vietnam War.
Thomas Bailey stood quietly at the side of the road on the Parkway in Pigeon Forge leaning on his cane as he watched the Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans parade pass by.
“I never got a welcome home 40 years ago,” Bailey said. “I was never spat on like some Vietnam veterans. But, I came home to indifference. I came home in ’72 and went back to work on the family farm in Paducah, Kentucky. We never talked about my experiences over there to the family or church or anyone. It was like a dirty family secret and I was told to keep quiet about it.”
Bailey and many others like him finally got that long overdue welcome home Tuesday in Pigeon Forge. The Welcome Vietnam Veterans Parade was intended to pay tribute and give some long overdue gratitude to a generation of veterans that fought in the most divisive war in U.S. history since the Civil War a century earlier.
Multitudes of cheering friends, family and well-wishers lined the Parkway as numerous floats from local businesses made their way down from Jake Thomas Road to the Dixie Stampede.
On the roadside stood a kilt clad drummer and next to him stood a woman wearing kilts playing the bagpipes. As the drummer kept cadence, the shrill sounds of patriotic tunes filled the air as the floats rolled past and the venerable old veterans finally got the recognition from a grateful nation forty years after the conflict ended. The parade was part of a three day event to honor the Vietnam veterans for their sacrifices and service.
More than 450 veterans took part in the parade. Many marched in formation as the bagpiper played the songs from their branches of service such as the Marines’ Hymn.
Adrian Cronauer, the Air Force sergeant who was the inspiration for the 1987 film “Good Morning, Vietnam,” and Barry Rice, president of the Tennessee State Council of the Vietnam Veterans of America, served as the parade’s grand marshals. Cronauer laughs at the way the movie portrayed his role in Vietnam which he considers mostly fictional.
“If I had done half the things he did,” said Cronauer, “I would have ended up in Leavenworth.”
The parade featured a variety of military-oriented units, civilian floats and groups honoring the veterans.
One particular float that caught the attention of onlookers was a float that displayed the Vietnam Memorial, the wall inscribed with the names of more than 58,000 servicemen and women who died in the conflict.
Among the parade participants were the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the AMVETS Post 104 Motorcycle Riders Club, Patriot Guard Riders, Tennessee Helping Hearts, the North Carolina Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association and the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapters 596 and 1073 as well as local businesses including Sweet Fanny Adams Theater in Gatlinburg, The Great Smoky Mountain Lumberjack Feud, Smith Family Theater and many others.
Charlie Bob and Jill Smith of the Smith Family Dinner Theater ride along with Boss Hogg.
The Vietnam Wall was portrayed on a veterans float.
The Shoney's Bear rode along in a military style vehicle.
Daisy runs the boom at the Lumberjack Feud as the cast cheers her on. (Photos courtesy of Christine Romano)
When Richard and Teresa Kusmierczyk first saw Daisy, a small Jack Russell Terrier, the couple took the pooch into their home but had their doubts she would live. Daisy and her two siblings had been abandoned and left in the woods by a previous owner that simply wanted to dispose of the dogs. All were near death when they were found. Neighbors adopted Daisy’s siblings and the Kusmierczyks made Daisy a part of their family.
When the couple took her home she was malnourished, infested with fleas and severely dehydrated. But the Kusmierczyks began nursing her back to health.
“She was listless and unresponsive. She weighed nine pounds when we found her,” said Teresa Kusmierczyk. “In the first month she put on five pounds.”
Daisy began to respond to her new owners and her energy level returned. But her new owners had no idea the impact the lovable canine would have on their lives and how she would repay their compassion.
Teresa is confined to a wheelchair. For months she and Richard had discussed getting a service dog to help her when he wasn’t at home. Teresa hit upon the idea to train Daisy to be her service dog. Although trainers told her terriers don’t make good service animals, Teresa was convinced Daisy was up to the task. Less than a year ago Daisy began training to help Teresa with small tasks.
“She has been trained to pick up things when I drop them,” Teresa said. “She is very attentive.”
Anytime Teresa drops something daisy will pick the item up with her mouth and hop up into her lap to return it to her.
Last month, Teresa and Richard met Joey Spurlock, the animal trainer at the Great Smoky Mountain Lumberjack Feud. In addition to training dogs for the popular dinner show, Spurlock trains dogs in a sport known as dock diving. Spurlock told the couple that Jack Russell Terriers make great dock diving dogs. He convinced Teresa to allow him to take Daisy into the pool at the Lumberjack Feud arena where the show’s dogs dive during the show.
Despite her disdain for water, Daisy impressed Spurlock with her dog paddling. He then lifted her up to let her try the boom run. The boom run is an event in which dogs run along logs in the water that are chained end-to-end.
Again, Daisy impressed Spurlock as she bolted across the logs with ease. Impressed with her performance, Spurlock convinced the Kusmierczyks to let Daisy perform in a show.
Thursday night, Daisy made her debut. Spurlock took her into the pool and readied her for the boom run. As a capacity crowd of 1,000 fans cheered, Daisy bolted across the logs. She stopped momentarily when one of the logs moved but quickly resumed her run to the delight of adoring fans that cheered her on.
Afterwards she returned to her happy place, on Teresa’s lap where she was met with dozens of adoring animal lovers that walked up to praise the canine for her stellar performance. Although, Daisy isn’t a member of the Lumberjack Feud’s animal cast, her career may be just getting started.
“I am very happy with her performance,” Teresa said. “We are considering letting her compete in dock diving. Joey seems to think she has potential.”
Daisy and Teresa
In a literary event of Titanic proportions, ten authors of Titanic related books were on hand at the titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge for the inaugural Titanic Authors Book Signing event April 1-7.
The youngest of the authors was 11-year-old Luke Copas, author of “Facts for Kids About the Children of the Titanic.” The book was written to honor the memory of the more than 100 children on board the ill-fated vessel.
Julie Hedgepeth Williams dressed in period attire in remembrance of her great-aunt, Sylvia Caldwell, whom she wrote about in “A Rare Titanic Family: The Caldwells Story of Survival.”
Among other authors on hand were Daniel Allen Butler, author of “The Other Side of the Night” and Allan Wolf author of “The Watch that ends the Night.”
The authors were scattered throughout the museum at tables strategically located from the entrance to the gift shop where Lee Meredith signed copies of his book “1912 Facts about the Titanic.” Meredith has authored several books about the Titanic.
Hundreds of Titanic enthusiasts perused the museum and met with the authors to discuss their books and hear the stories of the survivors and of those that went down with the ship.
11-year-old Luke Copas was the youngest of 10 authors to sign copies of their books at the first annual Titanic Authors Week at the Titanic Museum.
Julie Hedgepeth Williams dressed in period attire in remembrance of her Great Aunt Sylvia.
Lee Meredith has authored several books about the Titanic.
Daniel Allan Butler is the author of "The Other Side of the Night."
The Caldwell family on board the Titanic
Julie Hedgepeth Williams grew up hearing the stories of survival on the Titanic. She was privileged to hear first-hand accounts from her great-uncle who survived the maritime disaster. Those stories are chronicled in her book “A Rare Titanic family: The Caldwells’ Story of Survival.”
The Caldwells are described as rare because of the fact that as few as one in four families survived intact without losing a member. The Caldwells were one such family. What emerges from Williams’ book is a tale unlike any other. Her “Uncle Al,” as she called Albert Caldwell, had a fresh perspective of the catastrophe. He saw the tragedy as a triumph of sorts and as a success story in that so many people survived. His views were a stark contrast to anything written previously. His optimistic perspective explains the allure of the Titanic more than 100 years after it slipped into its watery grave after striking an iceberg.
“Up until the Titanic sank there were never any stories of survival when people were shipwrecked far from shore. It was extremely rare that you read of survivors so far out into the ocean,” said Williams. “On the Titanic there were 700 survivors who were saved because the radio had been invented and the Titanic could call for help. There were 700 stories to be told. The Titanic was carrying the elite of the era. These were society’s wealthy and elite. It would be like many of the stars of Hollywood dying in a single incident today. That added to the allure of the shipwreck.”
Albert Caldwell was a missionary that traveled with his wife, Sylvia, to Siam, where their infant son was born. Due to health reasons, the young couple left Siam and made their way to England, where they boarded the Titanic. Hot on their heels were fellow missionaries that wanted them to return to Siam. They were convinced the couple was attempting to renege on their contract at a great cost to the church. Following the tragic sinking, the Caldwells made it safely to New York, where they were again confronted by the missionaries.
Williams will be among more than 10 authors that will be on hand at the Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge for the first ever Titanic Authors Signing Week. Williams’ book, published by New South Books, may be purchased at the museum or online at Amazon.com or from www.newsouthbooks.com.
More than 10 authors, all of whom have written extensively about the Titanic, will be on hand to sign books and meet with the public.
Williams’ book is a compelling page turner and a first-hand account that will keep the reader ensconced. The book contains rare photos previously unpublished that she retrieved from her family archives.
Albert died when Julie Williams was in her late teens. She and her siblings grew up frequently hearing the Titanic story from him. An audio file of Albert speaking about the Titanic is on Williams’ web page, at: https://sites.google.com/site/raretitanicfamily/listen-to-the-story/audio-of-interest
For more information about the signing visit the Titanic web Site at http://www.titanicpigeonforge.com/.
Two unidentified firefighters display "cookies" they won for competing in a contest of skill at the Great Smoky Mountain Lumberjack Feud.
Firefighters and first responders who took part in battling a massive blaze that swept across more than 400 acres of land last week were recognized at the Great Smoky Mountain Lumberjack Feud Friday night for their efforts.
“We wanted to show our support and appreciation for what they did,” said Rob Scheer, president and CEO of the GSMLF. “How can you not recognize a hero? They rose to the challenge at great personal risk to themselves and, after what they went through, we felt they needed a night out to kick back and relax.”
The fire broke out on March 16 and firefighters were brought in from across the state as well as from bordering states. More than 300 firefighters worked in 12 hour shifts to battle the inferno for more than two days. When the fire was finally extinguished more than 80 homes had been damaged or destroyed.
Dozens of fire fighters enjoyed a night of fun, great food and entertainment compliments of the Lumberjack Feud. When the firefighters and first responders were asked to stand to be recognized by the show’s emcee, ranger Danny Black, the were given a tumultuous applause by a grateful community.
The show is a competition between two families of lumberjacks vying for logging rights in the Great Smoky Mountains. The two families are comprised of actual ironjacks that have competed on the national circuit.
Several firefighters attending the show found themselves drawn into the competition when volunteers from the audience were needed for various competitions. In one such competition Paul Blake of the Seymour Volunteer Fire Department was selected to square off in a pole climbing contest. Blake was fitted with spiked boots and other gear needed for climbing before he climbed more than 30 feet up the pole narrowly edging out his competitor.
“This was awesome,” said Blake. “It’s been a lot of fun. This shows community support.”
Firefighter Paul Blake of Seymour won the pole climbing contest.
Paul Blake is congratulated by lumberjack Andrew Mattison.
As many as 100 firefighters were scattered throughout the theater for a night of fun to recognize them for their service above the call of duty.
An orange glow from a massive fire could be seen for more than a mile.
Dozens of firefighters from several area fire departments are battling a massive fire on Black Bear Cub Way in Pigeon Forge. The massive blaze cast an orange glow that could be seen for more than a mile.
According to fire officials the fire broke out at approximately 4 p.m. as a brush fire then quickly spread to several cabins in the vicinity. Crews are battling to contain the spread of the fire which has destroyed at least six cabins and damaged more than 30 more. Emergency personnel have evacuated nearby cabins and officials say several homes in the area are at risk.
No injuries have been reported and officials are asking that people stay away from the area as several emergency vehicles need access to the road.
East Tennessee's Own Janelle Arthur wowed the judges of American Idol Tuesday
Pigeon Forge's own Janelle Arthur wowed the judges and received a standing ovation from the audience on Tuesday's edition of American Idol.
Arthur sang the timeless Elvis Presley signature song "If I can dream." Her performance drew praise from the panel of judges.
Keith Urban told Arthur her choice of songs was a good one. Nicki Minaj said "It was the best performance of the night."
Randy Jackson told Arthur "I like that you are a throw back. That;s what we need right now, a throwback. Someone who can sing like Patsy Cline,"
Mariah Carey congratulated Arthur on a job well done.
At the end of the night Ryan Seacrest instructed the viewing audience to call in and vote for their favorites. Five of the ten that performed will be eliminated. If Arthur receives enough votes she will move on to the next round of eliminations.
David Acuff Maranda Acuff
Devin Sullivan Daniel Gonzales
Stephen Gross Craig Stevenson
The Sevier County Sheriff’s Office has rounded up suspects in a number of burglaries in the area in three separate arrests.
A Morristown couple has been arrested and charged with burglarizing several rental cabins in Sevier County. According to Sheriff Ron Seals, on Monday Feb. 25th at app. 8:41pm Officer Jerry Huskey was patrolling in the Smokey Cove Cabin Resort and observed a man jump from a balcony of a rental cabin.
The male subject jumped into a vehicle and sped off. Huskey stopped the vehicle and after a search of the vehicle Huskey found three stolen flat screen TV’s that had been taken from area rental cabins. The man was identified as David C. Acuff, 28 of 534 Sunrise Ave Morristown and his wife Maranda A. Acuff, 25 was a passenger in the car. Both were charged with aggravated burglary and possession of Burglary Tools. Both were booked into Sevier County Jail and a bond was set. They are awaiting a March 18th hearing in General Sessions Court.
A Sevier County man is in custody at the Sevier County Detention Center and has been charged in connection with burglarizing 6 homes in the Boyds Creek Community.
According to Seals, Craig Stevenson, age 21, of 2470 Native Dancer Way, Sevierville was arrested on Monday Feb 25, by the Sevier Co. Sheriff’s Office Detective Division after an investigation was conducted into the recent burglaries of homes in the Stables Subdivision.
Detectives developed Stevenson, who also resides in the Stables Subdivision, as a suspect and then found where he had sold several items of stolen property from the burglaries. Stevenson has been charged with six counts of Aggravated Burglary.
Also charged with one count of aggravated burglary was Daniel Gonzales Jr. age 52 ,of 2478 Native Dancer Way who was an accomplice to Stevenson in one of the burglaries. Stevenson is being held in Sevier Co Jail awaiting arraignment before a Judge. Gonzales is also being held pending arraignment. The investigation is continuing and anyone with information is asked to contact Det. Johnny Bohanan the Sheriff’s Office at 865-428-1899
Two Sevier County men were arrested in connection with a home burglary on Meadows Drive. Sheriff Ron Seals states that on Feb 4th,a burglary was reported to the Sheriff’s Office on Meadows Drive in Sevier County.
Officers arrived on the scene and found that someone had entered the home and took several items of value. A TV that was among the missing items was recovered the following day by a citizen that found it lying beside the road in the Gatlinburg area.
Sevier County Detectives investigated the case and developed two suspects. On Sat. Feb 23, the suspects were questioned and gave incriminating statements. The suspects are identified as Devon R. Sullivan, 18 and Stephen R. Gross, 21 both of 2226 Meadows Drive Sevierville. Both have been charged with one count of Aggravated Burglary in connection with the burglary and were arraigned before a Magistrate. A $5000 bond was set and they were booked into jail. An April 5th hearing date has been set in General Sessions Court. Anyone with information pertaining to the case is asked to call Det. Jim Huddleston at the Sheriff’s Office Criminal Inv. Division at 428-1899.
A rare skunk squirrel has been spotted in Sevier County. The small furry animal resembles a skunk and squirrel hybrid and is sometimes referred to as a piebald. It is extremely rare and this may be the first time the animal was reported in Sevier County.
Rare Squirrel. Ducharmy Nuttavatus Species.
Liquor by the vote continues to Stir Debate
Voters in Pigeon Forge will soon go to the polls again to vote on the controversial liquor by the drink referendum after a judge threw out the election results Thursday amid charges of improprieties.
The referendum passed by 100 votes in the Nov. 6 election, but a community group later sued the Sevier County Election Commission and election officials, alleging that voter fraud tainted the results.
Chancellor Tellford Fogerty ruled Thursday that the election must be set aside and voided. Fogerty determined that poll workers made mistakes in determining who was eligible to vote in the election, but found no evidence of fraud.
"Whatever mistakes were made were good faith mistakes, innocent mistakes but nevertheless mistakes," Chancellor Fogerty said in his issuing his ruling.
The court ruled election results were "incurably uncertain." The Sevier County Election Commission came to the same conclusion Wednesday night.
Shortly after the election, an anti-liquor group, the Concerned Citizens and Churches of Pigeon Forge, sued the Sevier County Election Commission. Seventeen poll workers were given depositions which revealed confusion and errors in tallying the votes as well as determining who was eligible to vote.
The judge concluded there was no intentional fraud in the election, a claim made by the plaintiff, Concerned Citizens and Churches of Pigeon Forge (CCCPF). The anti-liquor group brought to the attention of the court that 289 more people voted than there are residents registered to vote. The commission admitted to the chancellor that the vote was faulty
"There was no question errors were made at the polling places, predominately on Election Day," said Dennis Frances, attorney for the Sevier County Election Commission.
A new election will take place within 45 to 60 days for residents to vote on the referendum again.
"This is a case that should be decided by the ballot box, not the jury box, and it's going to be decided shortly," said attorney, Greg Isaacs.
The new election will likely take place around Mid-March, and would be a stand-alone election. The cost of the new election is estimated to be around $4,100.
Looking for a great night of live music entertainment? several of the area’s top songwriters will be participating in a singer/songwriter Writers Night at Crystelle Creek Restaurant and Grill in Gatlinburg, TN Monday, December 17, 2012 beginning at 6 PM. The public is invited.
Heading up this Songwriters Writers Night is John Condrone, an Award Winning Dove and Grammy Nominated Songwriter with #1 songs in Canada, Europe, and Japan. John recently received a hold on one of his songs with Luke Bryan, this year’s ACM “Artist of the Year” and “Male Artist of the Year”. At the same time John was a judge for the Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival’s 2012 Songwriters Competition this past August he got a Selena Gomez cut on Disney channel’s “Wizards of Waverly Place”. Currently on the radio John has a cut with Kate Phillips “Rockin’ Christmas Eve”. Even though John keeps the roads hot between here and Nashville, he lives in Maryville and spends a lot of time writing and playing with regional songwriters here in the area.
“It was easy for me to say yes when Cyndy Reeves from SMSWF asked me if I would help get a songwriters night started in the Gatlinburg area as one of my greatest passions is watching all these writers stand on their dreams and reach for the stars,”reflected Condrone. “There’s nothing better than hearing the songs played in their true original form,” he added.
“The public is invited to come out between 6 – 10 pm to join in on the free entertainment and fun,”said Cyndy Reeves with the Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival. For more information call SMSWF 865-604-9066.
“This is just one of the opportunities we had hoped the SMSWF would spurn for the Gatlinburg business community and the residents themselves to enjoy,” noted George Hawkins, Community and Media Relations Director with the Gatlinburg Visitors and Convention Bureau.
Heather Maples who is a well-known singer/songwriter performer from right here in Gatlinburg will be in the mix along with Karen E. Reynolds, Host and Program Director of ‘Writer’s Block’, a radio program broadcast worldwide showcasing independent artists. Karen is also an award winning singer/songwriter and a critically acclaimed performer and vocalist. Martha Christian, another Sevier County singer/songwriter, is also joining the group. Martha won the last Cabin Fever Series at Hardrock Café in Gatlinburg resulting in a main stage spot at the Nashville Songwriters Festival 2011. Martha released her first CD this year. Two of the winners in the SMSWF 2012 Songwriters Competition: Jonathan Dean who’s song “Can’t Hide Crazy:” won the Grand Prize and David Haley Lauver whose song “America’s Pastime” won in the Lyrics Only Category will also be there. Others in the line up include: Kate Phillips, Brandon Fulson, Sam Hatfield, and Gatlinburg’s own Anna Kelly.
“We hope anyone interested in live music and good entertainment will come on out and support this great group of songwriters at 1654 E. Parkway, Gatlinburg, Monday Dec. 17th 6 PM for a“Songwriters in the Round” invited Condrone.
For more information contact: Cyndy Reeves, 865-604-9066
Lakieta Bagwell, who has sung with Dolly Parton and her family, Lee Greenwood and many others has returned to Pigeon Forge to star in “Christmas at the Smoky Mountain Opry” after a several year hiatus from music due to family medical issues. Fans may remember her from singing at many venues including Dollywood, Southern Nights, The American Music Theater and The Grand Ole Opry.
“This show is such a blessing and I am so happy to be back doing what I love in Pigeon Forge,” Bagwell said.
Some of Bagwell’s most joyful memories revolve around singing gospel as a child in church where her father was the minister. Throughout her career Bagwell has attributed her success to God.
“There is a verse in the Bible that says, ‘Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart,” Bagwell said. “I trust God that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing singing at the spectacular Christmas at the Smoky Mountain Opry Show in Pigeon Forge.
“The Christmas at the Smoky Mountain Opry show has elements that are breathtaking and make it unforgettable,” she said. “There is Toyland, Santa, some of the best world renowned singers and dancers and the funniest comedy around. This is a top quality show from start to finish with something for everyone from old classics to new takes of old classics, a little country and a little jazz.”
Bagwell, started her professional career in 1989 at Dollywood in one of their first production shows, “Smoky Mountain Song.” She was featured in many shows at the park including “Fire on the Mountain” and “Christmas in the Smokies.”
“I wanted to be Dolly as a child growing up,” she said “My aunt was a beautician and my cousin and I would play dress up. I would always put on the blonde wigs and dress up like Dolly. I was really star-struck when I saw her for the first time.
“Dolly came to ‘Christmas at the Smokies’ and I sang ‘Tennessee Christmas’ and Dolly said to me, ‘You have the most beautiful voice and that is the most beautiful I have ever heard that song sung,” Bagwell said. “That was validation to me on a professional level that I was doing what I was supposed to be doing.”
Bagwell’s goal became to sing for the Lord and to make Dolly proud.
“I was in a show at Dollywood called ‘Fire on the Mountain,” and I sang ‘Appalachian Memories,” Bagwell said. “Dolly came to the show one day and she sent word back that I had made her proud.” That was a highlight of my career for me.
“And then one day I had the opportunity to actually perform on stage with her.” she said. “Dolly had made a video with Billy Ray Cyrus and she wanted dancers. I was picked as one of the Romeo Dancers. That was a lot of fun.”
Bagwell eventually formed a band with Parton’s brother Randy, and Parton’s sister, Rachel Parton George and Jimmy Bryant (who is now appearing at the Smith Theater). The Honey Creek country pop group, as they were known, worked on an album with multi-Grammy and Emmy Award - winning composer Mike Post, who is best known for his TV theme songs for such primetime series as “Law and Order,” “NYPD Blue,” “The Rockford Files,” “Magnum P.I.,” “Hill Street Blues” and others. The Honey Creek Group also appeared on the television series, “Prime Time Country,” with Gary Chapman and on a television Easter special with Dolly called “Dolly Parton’s Precious Memories” in 1999. They also opened for Dolly at her foundation concerts. The group eventually went their separate ways. Bagwell then sang back-up at the Grand Ole Opry with Lee Greenwood.
Bagwell went on to perform in Myrtle Beach for a year before returning to Dollywood and then she went on to perform at the Southern Nights Theater. After Southern Nights closed, Bagwell performed both sacred and secular songs for four and a half years at the American Music Theater in Lancaster, Penn., until she got a cyst on her vocal chords and had to leave.
“It is amazing how God works,” she said. “I loved Pennsylvania. I would never have left if I had not had medical problems. God worked it out where I was able to be with my father who became sick with both prostate and mesothelioma cancer and I was able to be with him until he died on Feb. 2, 2011. The cyst on my vocal chords was the Lord’s way to get me back to Tennessee to be with my Dad.”
Bagwell’s vocal cords healed and she is indeed back in Tennessee performing nine shows a week at Christmas at The Smoky Mountain Opry.
“I hope people will come to our show and forget about the economy and the storms and just come and be entertained for a couple of hours,” Bagwell said. “The show is awesome, authentic, superb, breathtaking, sweet, fun, hysterical, and people just feel good when they walk out and they think ‘Joy to the World.’ It is a joy to be here.”
Christmas at The Smoky Mountain Opry Theater will continue until Dec. 31.
More Than 2,500 Santas ran in the second annual Santa Run in Sevierville
Motorists cruising along Highway 66 and the Parkway in Pigeon Forge observed an unusual sight Sunday morning as more than 2,500 Santa Clauses ran along the highway in the second annual Santa Hustle. The record turnout was more than three times last year’s turnout of 800 runners.
The runners were dressed in holiday garb including Santa Tee-shirts, and caps. Some wore complete Santa outfits complete with beards. In the mix were a handful of elves, reindeer and an occasional Grinch in one of the most unique holiday-themed events of the year. Holiday music played as runners stretched and prepared for the marathon in the shadows of 30 foot inflatable Santas and reindeer.
Runners took part in either the half marathon of 13.1 miles or a 5k run/walk and received a Santa hat, beard and a customized shirt to wear while running, and were treated to cookie and candy cane stations along the race course. The stations were manned by volunteers dressed as elves. Following the race, the holiday party continued with a huge after party at the resort, featuring milk and cookies and plenty of holiday music.
“It was a beautiful morning for the race and we enjoyed playing host to such a fun and unique event once again,” said Steve Cruz, General Manager of Wilderness at the Smokies. “The growth from last year to this year was incredible and we are already looking forward to next year’s event, which we anticipate will be even larger.”
Along with their holiday cheer, runners and spectators were asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to Toys for Tots in Sevier County, the chosen charity for this year’s race. Proceeds from entry fees paid by participants will benefit local charities such as Toys for Tots and other charitable organizations that will benefit the less fortunate.
“After hearing of the Toys for Tots shortage here in Sevier County, we wanted to get involved and try to help as many local kids as possible,” added Cruz. “Hopefully our donation along with what was collected from the race will help in putting a nice dent in their current shortage.”
Several Santas meet moments before the big race
A 30 foot Santa welcomed runners
The Hatfields and McCoys were one of many floats entered in the Gatlinburg 37th annual Christmas Parade
As many as 80,000 spectators crowded the streets of Gatlinburg Friday night, for the 37th annual Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade. Spectators enjoyed an unusually warm fall night as more than 100 floats, marching bands and performers marched up the Parkway.
Numerous giant helium balloons including the likeness of Fred Flintstone as well as more than a dozen marching bands from Tennessee, North carolina, Virginia. Georgia and Alabama delighted revelers with Christmas music.
Many local theaters and businesses were represented with beautifully designed floats that reflected their shows and amused the audience. Among the businesses that entered floats were the Dixie Stampede, Sweet Fanny Adams Theater, The Lumberjack Feud, the Hatfields and McCoys Dinner Show and many others. Bringing up the rear of the festive event was the jolly old elf himself, Santa Claus.
Spectators jammed sidewalks and balconies along the parade route to soak up the illuminating glow of Gatlinburg Winter Magic, the City of Gatlinburg’s popular holiday lights program which has received a $1.6 million injection of new displays plus a 100-percent conversion to energy-efficient LED bulbs over the past few years.
It is difficult to determine who is real and who is a hologram in the Biblical Times Dinner Show
The newest and most innovative show in Pigeon Forge is the Biblical Times Christmas Feast. The new show features a talented cast, a hearty feast of Biblical proportions and special effects features featuring holograms that are so lifelike the viewer will be left to wonder whether what they are seeing is real or a hologram?
The first half of the show features the talented cast members performing Christmas carols. The second half of the show is the story of the birth of Jesus as told by the prophet Simeon. The prophet is a hologram. But the quality of the effect is such that many audience members leaned forward to get a better look at the old sage in an effort to see if he was real or not. Throughout the show the cast members reenact the journey Mary and Joseph took to Bethlehem the night of the birth of Jesus.
In more than segment of the show the cast members interact with the holograms making it difficult to determine is it real or a hologram. Animals grazing in a barn setting on Christmas night look so life-like, sparing no detai,l that they appear to be real all the way down to their breath that appears as fog in the frigid night air.
“The holograms are unique to the Smoky Mountains,” said producer Allan Miller. “I had a man tell me he had grew up on a farm and couldn’t tell if the animals were real.”
Dinner is served on trays that attach to the stadium seats. This patented and innovative seating provides a very comfortable place for the audience to eat. The meal includes chicken, pulled pork,turkey salad, bread, vegetables and cake for dessert.
The cast includes veteran performers that have performed around the world.
Ryan Morris was a season seven finalist on American Idol.
Paula Michelle performed with Ray Charles on the Diet Pepsi tour. She has performed in local venues as well.
Dave Spiecker performed in the Miracle Theater, Jukebox on cruise ships and has traveled the world.
Michael Frost is a talented song writer who has released a solo CD featuring some of his own songs.
Jennifer Frost performed at the Sight and Sound Theater in Lancaster, Pa.
Donny Richmond written and recorded and performed 10 #1 Hits in the US Country Gospel genre as well as several #1 hits in more than a dozen other countries. He recorded “Jesus is My Lifeline” with Stonewall Jackson and received CGMA's Legendary Achievement Award at the Grand Ole Opry for his the song. He has earned several Music Association Awards including; Artist of the Decade, Entertainer Of The Decade, and 6 times Entertainer Of The Year
Mark Allen has performed with Tommy James and the Shondells. He has toured with country greats such as Conway Twitty, Jack Green, Moe Bandy and Joe Stamply, Kenny Chesney and John Michael Montgomery.
Biblical Times is well written and professionally performed and is a must see attraction. The show is inspiring and will amaze and the special effects are not to be missed.
For more information call toll Free: (888)908.3327 or (865)908.3327 or visit the web site firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many families often squabble a little during the holidays. But, the Hatfields and McCoys Dinner Show takes squabbling to a new level. These two rival families put the fun in dysfunctional. Some might wonder how a show about a family feud can be turned into a Christmas show. But the creative minds at Fee/Hedrick Entertainment have accomplished that task by creating a fun-filled holiday show suitable for the entire family that is reverent, funny, whimsical and entertaining.
In the Hatfields and McCoys Christmas Disaster Show, the two families have decided to put the feud on hold to celebrate Christmas and enjoy the holidays. It had been a difficult year for the feuding families because one of the McCoy boys has allegedly kidnapped the daughter of Pa Hatfield and eloped with her. The Hatfields allege she was kidnapped. They saw her as she ran out to the McCoy pickup truck and jumped in and screamed “I’m free! I’m free! My family is crazy and I ain’t never comin’ back.”
Despite all this, the two families are putting aside their differences to celebrate the meaning of Christmas. But, they can’t let their competitive spirits sit idle and the two families compete in a Christmas decorating contest in hopes of winning a big cash prize from the mayor. The families are unaware the mayor has rigged the contest and is scheming to take away their farms and build a time share resort.
All is going as planned until the mayor gets a visit from the ghost of his predecessor who gives him a glimpse at Christmas past and Christmas present. In a scene reminiscent of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” The cold-hearted mayor sees the error of his ways and is overcome with the spirit of Christmas.
The families soon discover the mayor has been helping the young newlyweds for nearly a year. The young couple returns home with a surprise of their own. The show features a variety of Christmas carols and holiday tunes that will melt the heart of the surliest of scrooges including a beautifully performed rendition of “Oh, Holy Night.”
There’s something here for everybody and Maw McCoy has cooked up a four course meal that includes a heap of fried chicken, country pulled pork shoulder barbecue, smashed taters, creamy cole slaw, pinto beans, cornbread, creamy vegetable soup and chocolate pudding.
This show is destined to become a holiday favorite in the area and is a must-see. For more information call 800-985-5494 or visit the web site http://www.hatfieldmccoydinnerfeud.com.
The Sevier County Sheriff’s Office is asking the public’s help in identifying two burglary suspects. Sheriff’s Detectives are investigating a burglary that occurred on Nov. 5th where the Victims credit cards, along with other items, were taken and the cards were used in several locations in the county shortly after the burglary. The suspects are identified as a white male and a white female who are driving a two- toned dark silver or gray Chevy or GMC pick-up truck.
Surveillance photos of the two were obtained from a local department store after the two reportedly used the stolen credit cards. Anyone with information is asked to call Lt. Det. Matthew Cubberley at 865-428-1899 or 865-453-4668.
These two surveillance photos were taken of the two suspects.