Knoxville Journalist, Multimedia Storyteller Beth Haynes Hosts 2024 Pigeon Forge Family Challenge

Competition showcases five families and five attractions in the popular family vacation destination with a special appearance by Dolly Parton.

Images and b-roll available for download here.

PIGEON FORGE, Tennessee—Longtime Knoxville journalist Beth Haynes is the host of the 2024 Pigeon Forge Family Challenge, a multi-episode series airing on the popular vacation destination’s YouTube channel and featuring a special guest appearance by entertainment icon Dolly Parton.

Haynes is a familiar face in East Tennessee after 20 years co-hosting WBIR-TV’s longtime Live at 5 at 4 afternoon news and lifestyles show.

Haynes’ extensive background in storytelling and sharing the stories of a community and its people prepared her for hosting duties. In her role, she guided five families through five challenges to determine the grand champion of the 2024 Pigeon Forge Family Challenge. Along the way, she was an encourager who helped showcase each family’s story, shone the spotlight on the individual participants’ personalities and provided a cohesive voice to tell their stories and that of the attractions featured in the five challenges.

The series was filmed at several locations in Pigeon Forge in August 2023. The series debuted on Feb. 6. The final episodes air Feb. 20, 27 and March 5. Episodes also are available for viewing at The grand champion family will be revealed in the seventh and final episode which will be released on March 5. The 2024 Pigeon Forge Family Challenge grand champion family won $5,000 and a return trip to Pigeon Forge.

“Beth’s career earned her a permanent place in the hearts and homes of East Tennessee,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism. “As our Pigeon Forge Family Challenge host, she brought not only professionalism and enthusiasm to the challenge, but she also approached the project as a journalist who could connect our families to our audience.”

“Hosting the 2024 Pigeon Forge Family Challenge certainly gave me an opportunity to try something new while relying on my extensive background as a storyteller and my knowledge of Pigeon Forge and the many attractions the destination offers,” Haynes said. “The five families were delightful to work with and together, we created a series that I know folks will find engaging and exciting.”

Haynes is a native of Athens, Tennessee, and a graduate of the University of Tennessee Knoxville. She and her family reside in Knoxville where she remains a trusted voice and community advocate in East Tennessee. She uses her platforms to raise awareness and spotlight the people and places that make the region special.

The Pigeon Forge Family Challenge put each family through the paces as they displayed their skills and agility in five contests. The Island in Pigeon Forge is the backdrop for the introductory episode where the five families come face to face for the first time. One episode finds the families on the lawn of the Mountain Mile where they rolled around in a 12-foot in diameter water-filled orb from Zorb Outdoor Gravity Park. Another installment features the families at the historic Old Mill where pancakes were the key to their success. An episode at the Lumberjack Feud Adventure Park tests the families’ athleticism, while another filmed at got the families on stage and in step. Of course, they visited Parton’s Dollywood theme park in an episode where knowledge was the featured attraction.

The winning family in each competition was awarded the most points, and the family with the greatest cumulative points was named the 2024 Pigeon Forge Family Challenge grand champion.


Additional Pigeon Forge Family Challenge b-roll available for download here.

About Pigeon Forge: Pigeon Forge is located in East Tennessee, approximately 35 miles from Knoxville and McGhee-Tyson Airport. Two-thirds of the nation’s population east of the Mississippi River lives within a day’s drive, making it an easily accessible family vacation destination. The city’s neighbor is Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most-visited national park in the U.S. It also is home to Dolly Parton’s Dollywood theme park, Tennessee’s most-visited ticketed attraction. More information about all aspects of Pigeon Forge is available at or toll-free at 1-800-251-9100.

Media Contact:  Trish McGee, [email protected] or 865-453-8574