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Pigeon Forge Contestants win more than a trip

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By Wayne Lazarus on June 21st, 2010

Categories: Linda's Travel Articles

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee offers rides, entertainment and resort fun, but one of the differences between this little town and other glitzy vacation destinations is its “folksiness” — that sincere, small-town “we’re glad you’re here” attitude. This year, Pigeon Forge has initiated an innovative “Taking Vacation Back” contest with a heart-warming difference from other give-aways.

Instead of simply entering to win a three-day vacation for themselves, contestants nominate a family that could use a little help getting those lasting memories that are the result of time spent together away from routine. A 100-word essay about the family and why they should win the vacation is posted by the entrant on Pigeon Forge’s website. Then readers vote on the family that should win.

SkyZip at DollywoodStarting in April, the prizes get bigger each month with the Grand Prize to be awarded for the month of July. Twenty families won $100 each for gas in April. Then ten families won $2,100 each to help pay utilities for the year in May. In June, five families will receive $6,600 each towards car payments for the year. In July, the Grand Prize winner will receive $15,500 towards rent or mortgage payments for the year. And in each case, the winning family AND the person who wrote the essay nominating them each get a three-day vacation in Pigeon Forge.

There’s plenty to do in Pigeon Forge, from rides or outdoor adventures to shopping and museums. Theaters offer comedy, magic, entertainment and of course, some of the live music that Tennessee is famous for. You can go horseback riding in the mountains (there’s an entrance nearby to the Great Smokies National Park, the most visited park in the national system) or see the area from the air with a helicopter ride. New in Pigeon Forge is the permanent Titanic Exhibit. For those looking for thrills, you’ll have riveting stories for the people back home, fromĀ  zip-lining at Dollywood to sky-diving — indoors. Have you heard about Zorb? It’s an inflated plastic ball that you get inside of and roll down a 750-foot hill. The only location in the country for this exciting ride is in Pigeon Forge.

ZorbCheck the calendar before making your reservations at A number of festivals scheduled throughout the year make for even more entertainment, among them the Smoky Mountain Storytelling Festival, Quilt Fest and Springfest.

(Photos: Courtesy Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism. Used with permission.)

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