By VICTORIA HENLEY
SPECIAL TO CTFASHIONMAG.COM
Breathtaking views, changing leaves, and snow-covered mountains have made the beautiful Smoky Mountains a sought after holiday season “bucket list spot” for many generations.
However, the musical revues, variety/ dinner shows, and interactive attractions truly make the Smokies a vacation destination like no other.
Let me give you a sneak peek into the best places to visit while you’re in town:
GATLINBURG MUST SEES:
SWEET FANNY ADAMS THEATRE. Founded in 1977 by vaudeville veterans, Pat and Don MacPherson, Sweet Fanny Adams is Gatlinburg’s only musical comedy and entertainment attraction, and the oldest purveyor of professional, live on stage, and original musical comedy in the Smokies.
Led by cast director Chris MacPherson and his sister, general manager Jennifer MacPherson-Evans, the top- notch cast includes Timothy Coleman (who has been with the theatre 33 seasons), Kara Van Veghel, Krisha Brook and Chris Johnson.
Combining nostalgic and zany humor from the classic vaudeville genre with “Saturday Night Live” -esque double entendres and tongue-in-cheek wit, Sweet Fanny Adams truly offers an experience you cannot find anywhere else. Unfortunately, the theatre is coming to a close at the end of 2020, marking its 44th and final season, so now is your final chance to experience the magic of Sweet Fanny Adams.
A livestream performance of the theater’s “Yule Tide Madness” will be available Dec. 19 at 8 p.m. Tickets are available on the theater’s website.
The Smoky Mountains offer a plethora of bucket list locations for after the holidays.
IMPOSSIBILITIES: AN EVENING OF MAGIC, MIND READING, AND MAYHEM offers breathtaking feats of reality-shattering mind reading, and hilarious antics, nestled in the Iris Theater at the foot of the landmark Gatlinburg Space Needle. Master mentalist and magician Erik Dobell has travelled from Las Vegas to South Korea and has performed for top corporate clients including the NFL, Macy’s, and Goodyear. Don’t miss the opportunity to be amazed and astounded by by one of the best shows in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. Each show is audience-interactive and offers a different experience at every single performance.
Box Office: (888) 482-3330
CHRIST MUSEUM OF THE SMOKIES is one of the nation’s foremost inspirational attractions. The museum features incredibly lifelike scenes, telling the story of Christ by utilizing life size figures, music, and special effects. Key scenes from Jesus’ formative years, a viscerally stunning re-creation of “The Last Supper,” the crucifixion and the resurrection, comprise the interactive portion of the museum, and visitors can also view relics, artifacts, and memorabilia, ranging from biblically relevant gemstones, garments, and reading materials featuring prophesies, predictions, and more.
HOLLYWOOD STAR CARS. Lovers of classic cars will rejoice in this museum, which takes visitors on a trip through some of the most famous movies and TV shows through the last 50 years, including the “Ghostbusters” Ecto 1, Bumble Bee, the “Ford vs. Ferrari” race car, the Batmobile, “The Andy Griffith Show’s Mayberry police car, “The Beverly Hillbillies” jalopy, and much more.
Many of the cars are created by George Barris, who has created more famous Hollywood movie and TV cars than anyone.
Be sure to bring along your camera for some envy-inducing photo-ops.
PIGEON FORGE MUST SEES
COUNTRY TONITE. Repeatedly voted the “Best Show in the Smokies” Country Tonite is a high energy variety music show that offers comedy, powerful gospel, classic country, Top 40 hits, and expertly choreographed dance routines. One of the only professional companies in the Smokies to feature youth performers, Country Tonite regularly changes up the show format, launching a brand new show in 2020, complete with Christmas themed performances to brighten your holiday season.
Box Office: (865)453-2003
THEATRE OF THE STARS. Theatre of the Stars truly is “Vegas in the Smokies,” featuring dazzling resident shows like Legendary Superstars (where you can see shockingly realistic tributes to icons like Michael Jackson, Elvis, Conway Twitty, Aretha Franklin, Charlie Daniels, and more) as well as Magic Spectacular Christmas, featuring two powerhouse magicians, Steven Best and Cassandra. This innovative theatre is also known for hosting touring acts, ranging from decorated country artists Ronnie McDowell, Elvis Ultimate Grand Champion Cody Ray Slaughter and “The Voice”:Season 18 winner Todd Tilghman.
BIBLICAL TIMES DINNER THEATRE
The Biblical Times Dinner Theatre offers unique productions, combining a live cast with state of the art holographic and 3 D technology. The theater, which has recently undergone a multi-million dollar renovation, offers the comfort of deluxe, rocking, padded and upholstered theater chairs, while you’re being served a multi-course feast of biblical proportions.
Resident shows include “Hallelujah” and “The Christmas Story” and decorated gospel groups, Christian bands, Dove Award winning artists are often highlighted as special guest performers.
ALCATRAZ. Alcatraz East Crime Museum offers an in-depth look into the minds and crimes of some of the most notorious serial killers in history, including Charles Manson, Bonnie and Clyde, Bugsy Siegel, and more.
Alcatraz East also includes interactive exhibits and kid-friendly question and answer stops, as well as Crack-A-Safe, and Police Line Up, which offer photo ops perfect for the whole family. The new temporary exhibit offers a look into the psyche of arguably one of the most notorious serial killers of all time: Ted Bundy.
PAULA DEEN’S LUMBERJACK FEUD AND ADVENTURE PARK. Paula Deen’s Lumberjack show features real lumberjacks (and lumber-Jills), engaging in real competition throughout a 1.5 hour show with high-octane events, including speed climbing, sawing, and log rollinge. Team up with either the Dawsons or the McGraws , and don’t forget to being all your energy and enthusiasm. If you give your best “Yo-Ho,” you might just win your very own Lumberjack cookie.
Be sure to also check out the Lumberjack Adventure Park while you’re there, where you can experience the Flying Ox, the first of its kind zip line roller coaster, the high woodsmen challenge (a Lumberjack themed ropes course), and Timber Towers, (featuring a unique 80 foot free fall jump), “Log Rolling”, and more.
Victoria Henley hosts Backstage Pass on IHeart Radio and FCB Radio Network. Henley is a former contestant on “America’s Next Top Model.”