Go back in time to the days of the Wild West at Saddle Up! in Pigeon Forge! This annual Smoky Mountain festival boasts a boot-stompin’ good time with a full round-up of cowboy entertainment and activities for the entire family to enjoy.
Typically scheduled for the third week of February, Saddle Up! has been an annual tradition in Pigeon Forge for more than 15 years. Along with cowboy hats and boots galore, at Saddle Up! you’ll find Western-themed entertainers, musicians, and storytellers. Past events on the Saddle Up! schedule have included all of the following:
- Cowboy concerts
- Dinner shows
- Chuck wagon cookoffs
- Symposiums and workshops (featuring cowboy songs and poetry, western dance, western video/photography, historical presentations on the American cowboy, and even Western cooking)
- Cowboy-themed activities (such as roping, storytelling, and more)
- Special cowboy church services
Presenting the cowboy-style concerts and shows for Saddle Up! each year are a variety of legendary historians, comedians, and musicians who specialize in all things Wild West. Prepare to be educated and entertained at Saddle Up! by such performers as Red Steagall, Ray Doyle, Brenda Gail, Andy Nelson, Joyce Woodson, and Don Edwards.
All large concerts and gatherings for Saddle Up! typically take place at the event’s headquarters, which is the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge (read more about this venue below). In the past, other presentations have taken place at various locations throughout Pigeon Forge, including the The Old Mill Square, Stages West, and Clabough’s Campground.
As far as cost, many Saddle Up! events are free to the public, making it easy to check out what the festival is all about without dipping into your Pigeon Forge vacation budget. Other events, such as dinner concerts and special workshops, do require tickets. These can be purchased at the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge the week of the event.
Quick Facts about Saddle Up!
What: One of the largest celebrations of the American West in the nation!
When: Every third week of February (Wednesday through Sunday) beginning at 10 a.m.
Where: Various locations, with its headquarters at the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge
How Much: Depends on the event—some are ticketed, some are free
Who: All ages!
About the LeConte Center
Located at 2986 Teaster Lane in Pigeon Forge, you can find the LeConte Center right off the Parkway just minutes from the one-stop attraction The Island and the historic Old Mill. The center opened in October 2013 and has quickly become one of the top event venues, not only in the Smokies but also in the entire Southeast.
If you’re wondering how the LeConte Center got its name, your first visit won’t leave you wondering for long—that’s because this venue offers breathtaking views of the 3rd-highest peak in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Mount LeConte. And thanks to 1,600 available spaces at the LeConte Center, parking is made easy, and the LeConte Center even offers a complimentary tram that will carry you to its main entrance.
Other Annual Events at the LeConte Center
The LeConte Center is not only the headquarters for Saddle Up in Pigeon Forge, but also for many other annual events. Check out the list below with events ranging from car shows to quilting competitions. No matter what time of year you visit the Smokies, you’ll find something fun, unique, and safe for the entire family!
Great Smoky Mountain Jeep Invasion—For Jeep owners and enthusiasts, don’t miss the annual Great Smoky Mountain Jeep Invasion each August, where you’ll enjoy the Jeep Show with more than 2,500 vehicles and 5,000 guests.
Fall Grand Rod Run—In September, you can catch one of the best car shows in Pigeon Forge, the Fall Grand Rod Run. With a variety of classic cars, door prizes and awards, and a huge swap meet, this event is a must-see!
National Quartet Convention—This week-long festival with nearly 300 gospel artists, 500 exhibitors, and 40,000 attendees from 40 different states takes place in late September or early November in Pigeon Forge and is one of the largest gospel music events in the nation.
A Mountain Quiltfest—Quilt enthusiasts of all skill levels are invited to the LeConte Center each March when A Mountain Quiltfest offers a variety of classes and big prizes for winners of the festival’s quilting competitions.
Spring Grand Rod Run—The month of April holds another huge car show in Pigeon Forge, the Spring Grand Rod Run. Hot rod owners from around the nation travel to the LeConte Center for this exciting event with a variety of vendors and competitive prizes.
Wilderness Wildlife Week—Get a behind-the-scenes look at the flora, fauna, and history of the Great Smoky Mountains with Wilderness Wildlife Week at the LeConte Center and in the national park. This event features numerous workshops, guided hikes, exhibits, and classes that tell the unique story of the Smokies.