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2018 has been one for the books in the Smoky Mountains! With so many new events, attractions, restaurants, and announcements, it can be hard to keep up with everything that happened. To help you remember, we’ve highlighted 5 things you may have forgot happened in the Smoky Mountains in 2018!
1. Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud Opened
In July 2018, Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud officially opened! The classic show reopened with a new venue and new entertainment. The show takes place in a unique outdoor space and features world-class lumberjack athletes who compete against each other in a variety of events. There will be ax throwing, chopping, sawing, speed climbing, log rolling, and more. Guests even have the opportunity to participate in their own competitions, and there’s a special intermission event just for kids!
For more information about Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud, read our blog, “New in Pigeon Forge: Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud — Now Open.”
2. Dollywood Announced Largest Expansion Ever
One of the biggest things that happened in the Smoky Mountains in 2018 was Dollywood announcing its largest expansion ever, Wildwood Grove! Dolly Parton visited Dollywood to make the announcement and even performed her song, “My Tennessee Mountain Home.” In 2019, families will get to experience the magic of Wildwood Grove at Dollywood. This new area has 11 different themed experiences, including new rides! Wildwood Grove will be located just off the beaten path of Timber Canyon and combines the natural beauty of the Smokies with imagination.
For more information on Wildwood Grove, read our blog, “All the Details: New Wildwood Grove Expansion at Dollywood.”
3. Blake Shelton Opening Ole Red in Gatlinburg
Another big event was news that Blake Shelton is opening an Ole Red restaurant and entertainment venue in Gatlinburg! Shelton said that Gatlinburg is one of his favorite places and the perfect spot for his next Ole Red venue. This makes the third location for the venue, with others in Oklahoma and Nashville. Ole Red will be filled with both good music and good food. There will be a special grand opening event for Ole Red in March 2019, where Shelton and other guests will perform.
For more information on Ole Red, read our blog, “Blake Shelton to Bring Ole Red Restaurant to Gatlinburg.”
4. Bear Visited Ripley’s Theater
We bet you remember the bear that was spotted walking on top of Ripley’s Moving Theater in Gatlinburg! In July, a black bear was seen in downtown Gatlinburg walking on the roof of the theater. Visitors crowded around the theater to observe the scene. There have been a number of other black bear sightings throughout Gatlinburg this year, including one at a Gatlinburg restaurant and one playing with a pumpkin in The Village!
To watch a video of the bear walking on Ripley’s Moving Theater, check out our blog, “Bear Spotted Walking on Ripley’s Moving Theater in Gatlinburg.”
5. Ripley’s Believe It or Not! in Gatlinburg Reopened
One thing you may have forgotten happened in 2018 is that Ripley’s Believe It or Not! got a makeover. The Gatlinburg attraction was completely redesigned with new exhibits for visitors to enjoy. Experience the strange and unusual from all corners of the world. You can see the world’s tallest man, shrunken heads, a two-trunked elephant, and so much more! There is even a tribute gallery to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which includes exhibits on Synchronized Fireflies and the Tallest Underground Waterfall.
For more information on the newly designed Ripley’s Believe It or Not! in Gatlinburg, read our blog, “Ripley’s Believe It or Not in Gatlinburg Reopens with New Design and Exhibits.”
Things to Do in the Smoky Mountains
These are just some of the most incredible things that happened in the Smoky Mountains in 2018. We’ll be sure to keep you updated on all the new and exciting things to do in the area! In the meantime, check out more things to do in the Smoky Mountains.