Lumberjack Feud in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., opening on August 26, will feature dinner, entertainment, the on-site Smoky Mountain History Center and lumberjack show. Tickets for the whole package are $39.95 for adults.
Have you heard the latest buzz from Pigeon Forge, Tenn.? Billed as “The Smokies’ Rowdiest Good Time Dinner Show,” the new Lumberjack Feud attraction promises to rev up the city’s reputation for family-friendly fun.
Set to open on August 26, the $10 million, 34,000-square-foot facility honors the region’s logging history through music, video, exhibits and a show that pits teams of lumberjack athletes against each other in more than 10 competitive events.
“The American logger was responsible for building much of this nation,” said Rob Scheer, owner and president of Lumberjack Sports International and the brains behind the attraction. “Lumberjack competitions are a part of Americana that people never see anymore.”
In this case, the feud starts with a feed — a “lumberjack-approved” dinner of barbecued ribs or fried chicken with all the fixins’ — and entertainment, including storytelling characters and chainsaw-carving demonstrations.
The real action, however, takes place after dinner when two teams of professional lumberjack athletes grab their axes, saws and climbing spikes to re-enact a famous local feud through a variety of old-style logging competitions.
As the story goes, the Dawson and McGraw families were friends until the 1930s, when logging restrictions turned them into fierce competitors. Forgoing Hatfields and McCoys-style mayhem, they opted to settle their differences at the Pigeon Forge Lumberjack Jamboree.
The modern-day feud echoes that event with intense competitions, including axe-throwing, log rolling and tree climbing. “Our athletes are like rodeo cowboys,” said Scheer. “It’s very athletic and very dangerous.”
Log-rolling is just one of the events to be showcased at the new Lumberjack Feud attraction.
There will be tree climbing, too ...
It’s also a good fit for the local area, said Tom Adkinson of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism: “The fact that the Great Smoky Mountains were a timbering area is, frankly, lost to history for a lot of people,” he told msnbc.com.
But for Scheer, whose company also operates logging-oriented events around the country, the story extends beyond the local woods. “[Loggers] are part of the American hero lineup, right up there with the cowboy and railroad engineer,” he said.
For visitors who want to experience the full-meal deal — dinner, entertainment, the on-site Smoky Mountain History Center and lumberjack show — tickets are $39.95 (ages 12 and up) and $16.95 (ages 3–11). Show-only tickets are $26.95 and $9.95.
And for those who can’t wait for the attraction to open, a road-show edition is currently making its way across the Midwest. Upcoming shows, which feature the competitive events, but not the food, include Stillwater, Minn., July 21–24, and Hayward, Wis., July 29–31.
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Rob Lovitt is a longtime travel writer who still believes the journey is as important as the destination. Follow him at Twitter.