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American Bus Association taps Pigeon Forge festival as among best in North America

American Bus Association taps Pigeon Forge festival as among best in North America

Posted: Wednesday, October 1, 2008 9:16 pm

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (September 2008)—For the third time this decade, Pigeon
Forge Winterfest, a four-month celebration in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., is on a
list of the top 100 travel events in North America.

The 20th anniversary Pigeon Forge Winterfest for the winter of 2009-2010 is
one of the American Bus Association’s Top 100 Events in North America. Dates
are Nov. 5, 2009-Feb. 28, 2010.  (This year’s event, the 19th one, begins
Nov. 6.)

The ABA announces its list each fall for the upcoming year so tour operators
and individual travelers can use it for travel planning.

Pigeon Forge Winterfest’s prior selections were in 2006 and in 2003, when it
earned the special designation as that year’s Top Event in the U.S.

The Top 100 Events provide excellent entertainment value to tour groups and
individual travelers, according to Peter Pantuso, ABA’s president and CEO.
He called Pigeon Forge Winterfest a “don’t-miss entertainment value.”

Pigeon Forge Winterfest offers visitors an acclaimed array of decorative
light displays throughout the city (more than five million lights), guided
trolley tours, holiday festivities and a series of special activities that
focus on Great Smoky Mountains National Park, outdoor activities, cowboy
poetry and western music.

“Pigeon Forge Winterfest was created to generate business during our slowest
season, and it has succeeded on a grand scale.  The Winterfest months now
are Pigeon Forge’s second-busiest time of the year,” said Leon Downey,
executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism.

The ABA’s Pantuso echoed that message, noting that a motorcoach group can
leave from $6,000 to more than $13,000 in a destination’s economy with just
one overnight stay. Lodging, meals, attractions, shopping, services and
taxes account for those expenditures.

“Pigeon Forge Winterfest is a potential magnet for tourism dollars at a time
when re-energizing domestic tourism is so important to our spirit and our
economy.  The honor gives Pigeon Forge Winterfest an important boost in
visibility among professional tour planners,” Pantuso said.

Hundreds of events across the U.S. and Canada are nominated by state and
provincial tourism offices and by convention and visitors bureaus. Judges
consider each event’s broad appeal, its accessibility to motorcoaches, its
skill in handling large groups and other criteria.

Other Top 100 Events include the Special Olympics World Winter Games in
Boise, Idaho; the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nev.; the National
Cherry Festival in Traverse City, Mich.; the Banff Summer Arts Festival in
Banff, Alberta; the Taste of Charleston food festival in Charleston, S.C.;
and Lobsterpaloosa in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

“There is a huge number of impressive, high-powered events every year in the
U.S. and Canada for the judges to evaluate.  When you read the Top 100 list,
Pigeon Forge is in some great company.  Our community has accomplished a lot
by building Pigeon Forge Winterfest into what it is today,” Downey said.

Pigeon Forge Winterfest also has received the Southeast Tourism Society’s
Shining Example Award as the Southeast’s Festival of the Year three times
and has received numerous awards from the International Festivals and Events
Association.

The ABA ‘s 2009 Top 100 Events list is at www.buses.org. Visitor information
about Pigeon Forge is at www.MyPigeonForge.com or toll-free 1-800-251-9100.

Posted 10.1.08

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