The 11th Annual Saddle Up! Festival took place in February in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. This four day event was the popular highlight of Pigeon Forge’s Winterfest, offering visitors a trip back in time to the Western era. Cowboys and cowgirls alike flooded Pigeon Forge February 24th through the 27th, captivating both tourists and locals with Western poetry, music, shopping and of course, food!
The festivities kicked off Thursday evening with a dinner and concert by The Quebe Sisters Band. The three sisters began their trio at ages 7, 10, and 12 and quickly captivated audiences with their fiddles and vintage style three-part harmony. Audiences enjoyed the unique music along with a delicious dinner at Mama’s Farmhouse Kitchen. A select lucky
40 visitors were able to snatch up tickets to the Intimate Evening with Wylie & the Wild West, who offered a truthful and honest look at country music. As Wylie is the voice of the famous “Yahoo!” yodel and was recently featured on the Late Night Show with Conan O’Brien, tickets to his show were sold out within days. Held at the Partridge Restaurant, guests enjoyed a delectable dinner of turkey and dressing, glazed ham, and crab stuffed tilapia – yum!
Once the ball began rolling, the events on Friday quickly fell into place. A concert was held at the Smith Family Theater, featuring Gary & Jean Prescott, Ray Doyle, Chris Isaacs and The Quebe Sisters Band at the 1PM show, and Yvonne Hollenbeck, Chris Isaacs, Brenn Hill and Wylie & the Wild West at the 4PM show. Here, guests were wooed by the sights and sounds of traditional country music straight out of Wild West! The Western Marketplace at Belz Outlets also began Friday, offering visitors a chance to shop until they dropped!
The most anticipated event of Saddle Up! began on Saturday morning – the Chuckwagon Cookoff! Six authentic chuckwagons rolled into Pigeon Forge ready to show off their treasured and delicious one of a kind recipes. For the competition, each chuckwagon team had to prepare chicken-fried steaks, potatoes, beans, bread, cornbread and fruit cobblers. Then, they were judged on the individual food categories, as well as the authenticity of the wagons and their setups. Visitors enjoyed the one of a kind food and loved the samples of cornbread champion cook Kent Rollins offered. The Buckaroo Roundup was also held Saturday, where visitors rode a mechanical bull and listened to cowboy poetry.
Finally, the events began to wrap up Sunday morning. Guests were treated to an early Sunday morning breakfast chuckwagon breakfast and a non-denominational cowboy church service. When all was said and done, every guest and visitor had an excellent time. Western culture in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee is a once a year experience – if you missed this year’s event, make sure you check out the twelfth annual Saddle Up! next year!