The Duggar family trip to Pigeon Forge will be featured in a summer episode of “18 Kids and Counting,” which airs on TLC Tuesdays at 9 p.m. (ET/PT). Each episode chronicles the lives of an Arkansas couple, Jim Bob and Michele Duggar, and their 18 natural-born children, who range in age from four months to 21 years. The family includes two sets of twins.
A six-person production crew will document the Duggars’ vacation, including a special treat—a May 8 (Friday) ride on their very own float in the 24th annual Dolly Parton Homecoming Parade, a mainstay tourism event every spring in Pigeon Forge. The City of Pigeon Forge organizes and sponsors the parade to salute entertainment superstar and local hero Dolly Parton.
“Just when you thought Pigeon Forge had everything, along come the Duggars,” said Mayor Keith Whaley, who invited the family to travel from its Springdale, Ark., home to enjoy Pigeon Forge and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The national park is celebrating is 75th anniversary throughout 2009 and will be one of the Duggars’ vacation highlights.
In Pigeon Forge, the family will visit Dollywood and Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede, take in a show at a Pigeon Forge theater and get a special tour of the Old Mill, a working gristmill on the National Register of Historic Places.
The more adventurous family members are expected to ride go-carts on the triple-level course at The Track and to experience Zorb Smoky Mountains, where guests climb inside inflated plastic balls 11 feet in diameter for a heart-pounding downhill roll.
All told, Pigeon Forge boasts more than 40 family-friendly attractions along its five-mile Parkway, making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in America. The city welcomes more than 10 million visitors every year.
“I guess the Duggars will make it 10 million and eighteen visitors this year,” Whaley said, “and counting.”
The Dolly Parton Homecoming Parade starts at 6 p.m. on May 8 near Traffic Light #6 and travels north nearly two miles to Traffic Light #3 in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. Organizers encourage visitors to arrive in Pigeon Forge early in order to acclimate to the city and find Parkway space from which to view the parade.
I usually try to find a little video to close with, so if you aren’t familiar with the Duggar family, here they are.
That’s all for now. I’ll talk to you guys tomorrow. If any of you are near Pigeon Forge, head on out for Dolly’s parade on Friday (May 8). I’ve been there a few years, and it’s always a great parade. Write when you get a chance, talk to you all soon.