Its that time of year again. The Grand Ole Opry is celebrating another birthday. And, as usual, you are invited to the party.
The 89th birthday celebration at the Grand Ole Opry will fill the Opry Plaza with festivities for all. Join in the fun for all the free activities at the Opry Plaza Birthday Party, October 11th. You’ll be treated to free live music, games and prizes, balloon artist, caricaturist, face painting and even free line dance lessons. The Pucketts Trolley will be available for tours, and you can find treats and beverages for purchase, like cotton candy and kettle corn.
The special birthday concert Saturday afternoon features Craig Morgan, who produced hits like International Harvester and Little Bit of Life. And the Saturday evening concert brings Trace Adkins and Clare Bowen to the stage, along with others.
Join in the celebration in Nashville, October 10, 11 and witness the 89th birthday of the show that made country music famous.
Next time you’re in Memphis, TN, visit the site many credit as being the birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Sun Studio. Stand amid the legacy of revolutionary music recorded within these walls and even get your photo with the actual microphone used by Elvis Presley, when he recorded “Thats All Right” in 1954.
Sun Studio was where Elvis got his start in the recording industry, as well as a number of other legendary artists, including Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis, who had an impromptu jam session there one evening with Elvis. Can you imagine? The historic significance of Sun Studio is evidenced by the later artists who choose to record at the famous site. Artists like Def Leppard, U2, Matchbox 20, Tom Petty and many others come to Sun to record, for the heritage imparted by the only recording studio to be named a National Historic Landmark.
You can experience the legendary heritage of Sun Studio on a guided tour of the facility, where you will hear stories about a number of artists and admire exhibitions of rare memorabilia and original historic recording cuts. In addition to the microphone used by Elvis, there are a number of pieces of Elvis artifacts on loan from the Presley Estate.
After your Guided Sun Studio Tour, drop into the ’50s-style Sun Studio Soda Shop and Record Store for some refreshments and an authentic ’50s atmosphere.
Visit the much romanticized Old South on an Historic Tennessee Tour. The tour departs from Nashville, and includes Civil War history, The Hermitage and the Belle Meade Plantation.
The Hermitage was the home of President Andrew Jackson, and the beautiful mansion is open for touring, fully restored to its 1837 condition and decorated with Jackson’s belongings. The estate consists of gardens, slave quarters, dairy, and distillery, plus the 200 year-old log cabin, that was the Jackson’s home prior to construction of the grand mansion.
The tour continues from there to another palatial estate, The Belle Meade Plantation. With slave quarters, and ten outbuildings used in the operation of the plantation in addition to the mansion, all open for public tours. The Plantation tour closes with a visit to the estate winery for a tour and wine tasting.
Country singer and songwriter Marty Stuart will be performing at the Grand Ole Opry, on September 30. Stuart, an Opry Member since 1992, admits he’s been obsessed with country music since an early age. He joined Johnny Cash’s backup band in the 1980s, and has had a string of hit singles including Arlene, Hillbilly Rock and a remake of Cash’s Cry, Cry, Cry.
The Opry performance coincides with the release of Stuart’s double album, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. Created with his band, The Fabulous Superlatives, The Saturday Night side features rollicking country music, and covers of some country classics by George Jones and Hank Williams. Stuart covered the hits with an intricate balance of the band’s own touch, and honoring the original artists. The Sunday Morning side is all Gospel, built with powerful vocals and ornate harmonies. Both sides promise to give you a “they just don’t make them like this, anymore” feeling.
After the Opry Show on September 30, Stuart will be on hand in the Opry Shop, for photographs and autographing copies of the new release. Be sure to book tickets for this Opry show, and stop in for an autographed copy of Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. While you’re there, you may want to wish Marty a happy birthday as well, the show and album release happen to be on his 56th birthday.
A new show has come to Pigeon Forge. Not just another show, it is a new show, brand new, original idea, completely fresh, unlike anything you’ve ever seen. And once you’ve seen it, you’ll want to see it again.
This one of a kind, amazing show begins with the captivating creation of sand art live, right before your eyes, by a world renowned artist. The imaginative, flowing sand art creation is projected on to a huge hi-definition screen. Then, magically, the scene depicted, comes to life on the stage. From wispy sand drawing to galloping horses and fanciful dancers, even ballet-dancing horses.
Featuring acrobats, dancers, equestrian exhibition, and incredible story-telling, you will be mesmerized by a tale that is told through the scenes, woven together with imagination and artistry. Imagination on Sand is at once powerful and graceful, humorous and romantic, honest and completely imaginary.
A very worthwhile day trip from Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is the two-hour drive to Asheville, North Carolina to visit the Biltmore Estate.
The incredible mansion was commissioned by New York native George Washington Vanderbilt II, after he visited North Carolina with his mother at age 26. The Vanderbilt family had amassed great wealth in steamship, railroad and other various business ventures. So he easily acquired land when he decided to build a country home, and eventually the estate encompassed 125,000 acres.
Built between 1889-1895, the 250-room mansion is the largest privately owned home in the United States. The nearly 180,000 square feet are furnished with oriental rugs, tapestries and antiques dating from 1400 to 1800. Ever the collector, Vanderbilt invested in a number of paintings, including works from Renoir, and a chess set that belonged to Napolean Bonaparte.
The mansion sits on the remaining 8,000 acres of the estate, and has been open to the public for self-guided tours since 1956. Especially of interest are the indoor swimming pool, bowling alley and two-story library.
For 25 years country music radio stations and country music artists have given their time and efforts to help raise funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Through the program radio listeners can call in to make donations to the hospital. Since the Country Cares for St. Jude Kids program began in 1989, it has raised $200 million in pledges to support the hospital.
In celebration of the 25th anniversary of Country Cares for St. Jude Kids, the Grand Ole Opry is hosting a special show on September 23, 2014. The special show will feature a St. Jude patient as guest announcer, and will share photos and videos of special moments from the 25 years of the successful fund-raising program.
Artists performing in the anniversary celebration show include the Charlie Daniels Band, Eric Paslay, the Opry debut of Maddie and Tae, and closing the show with a full 30-minute set, country superstar Brad Paisley is scheduled to perform including music from his newest CD, Moonshine in the Trunk.
Make plans to be in Nashville to be a part of this commemorative show and radio broadcast.
The oldest continuously operated country artist museum in Nashville, dedicated to honoring country music pioneers, is the Willie Nelson & Friends Museum and General Store.
You can easily spend a few hours browsing the displays of hundreds of personal items chronicling the musical history of Willie Nelson and more than 30 other famous country music artists including Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton, Ronnie Milsap, Webb Pierce. They’re always adding more memorabilia to the incredible collection which includes Willie Nelson’s Martin guitar, from his Grand Ole Opry debut in 1963 and his 1979 CMA Entertainer of the Year award.
You’ll find handwritten lyrics, personal diaries, and concert outfits from entertainers like Kenny Rogers and Barbara Mandrell. There’s even Ronnie Milsap’s one of a kind autographed Playboy magazine, printed in Braille!
The General Store is the largest souvenir shop in Nashville with Jack Daniels, Elvis and Johnny Cash merchandise, along with hundreds of other novelty items and t-shirts, mugs, keychains and the like. You’ll easily find just the perfect gifts for anyone on your list, young and old, and probably a few items that you just can’t do without.
No trip to Nashville would be complete if you don’t have the right hat, and Willie Nelson’s General Store has hundreds of western hats from which to choose. Be sure to include this fun museum and store on your next Nashville trip.
The Smoky Mountain Opry is a high-energy production that you must see while in the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area. This show is packed with so much variety, it’s perfect for everyone.
The Smoky Mountain Opry showcases a talented collection of amazing dancers, musicians, singers, aerialists, magicians, jugglers, comedians, even a white lion. It’s a feat they can fit it all into the two-hour stage production. Complete with state-of-the-art special effects including lasers, pyrotechnics, and big screens, the performance covers nearly every musical genre. From Disco to Country, Motown to Broadway and everything in between, you’ll delight to songs from Frank Sinatra, Carrie Underwood, George Jones and the Beatles, just to name a small few. This show has it all, even lions and tigers!
Make sure to include the Smoky Mountain Opry on your next Gatlinburg vacation.
The fall is a perfect time to visit the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge area. The always gorgeous Smoky Mountains are beginning to turn into a kaleidoscope of color as the leaves show their brilliant Autumn colors, the summer heat gives way to cooler temperatures, and the Pigeon Forge Fall Rod Run!
For more than 30 years fall in Pigeon Forge has been ushered in with the help of hundreds of hot rods. September 11th – 13th, Pigeon Forge becomes a city-wide car museum. The weekend of events includes live music, plenty of vendors, and hundreds of cars in an indoor and outdoor car show and swap meet. Hot Rods, Classic cars, Muscle cars, all gathered for your viewing pleasure!
And it all takes place within walking distance of all the great attractions and shows on the strip, so you can enjoy the best of both. Vacations Made Easy has a Gatlinburg Area Weekend Getaway Package just perfect for the occasion. You’ll have your choice of more than 50 hotels for two nights lodging, plus admission to the Dixie Stampede for marvelous dinner and show. A big meal to enjoy while you’re entertained by superbly trained horses and riders, buffalo, and family-friendly comedy.