Press Releases

Pigeon Forge, Dolly Parton Team Up for 2024 Pigeon Forge Family Challenge

Five families vie for top honors in YouTube series featuring competitions at popular attractions in the Great Smoky Mountains vacation destination.

PIGEON FORGE, Tennessee—Jan. 22, 2024—Dolly Parton is keeping a big secret about Pigeon Forge. The entertainment legend and Pigeon Forge’s hometown gal knows which one of five families was crowned the grand champion of the 2024 Pigeon Forge Family Challenge.

Parton was on hand to help announce the grand champion and will appear in the final episode that airs in March 2024.

“All five families are winners in my book because they truly squeezed every ounce of fun and great times out of the Pigeon Forge Family Challenge,” Parton said. “Everybody enjoyed the family fun and great attractions that we offer in Pigeon Forge, and they made lifelong friendships and sweet memories that they’ll have forever.”

Others can discover the grand champion and see the competition unfold when the seven-episode series airs on Pigeon Forge’s YouTube channel. The series was filmed at several locations in Pigeon Forge in August 2023. Knoxville broadcast journalist and Tennessee native Beth Haynes served as host. The first episode, which introduces the five families, airs the week of Jan. 29. Subsequent episodes will be released on Feb. 6, 13, 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 also 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.

“The Pigeon Forge Family Challenge proved itself to be an ideal setting to showcase the variety of attractions Pigeon Forge has to offer while also shining a spotlight on how much fun families have while visiting our destination,” said Pigeon Forge Executive Director of Tourism Leon Downey. “Dolly’s involvement took the challenge to the next level for the families and us!”

The five families featured in the 2024 Pigeon Forge Family Challenge are the:

  • Bethunes—Jenn and her husband Kyle and their three children Ben, (12), Molly, (10), and Eli, (8), are Tampa Bay, Florida, natives who have spent the past three years traveling the country in a renovated bus;
  • Boldens—Dayna and Ernest and their two children Aria, (9), and Bryce, (4), are from Atlanta, Georgia;
  • Nichols—Ashlee and her husband Brett and their three children Laikyn, (10), Lennyn, (8) and Brexton, (5), are from Boerne, Texas;
  • Daniels—Rosalynn and Harvey and their three children Harper, (9), Harvey IV, (5), and Hollis, (3), also are from Atlanta, Georgia, and
  • Falins—From Las Vegas, Nevada, Sandi and her husband Jimi and their three children Nixon, (14), Skylar, (13), and Ryder, (10), have traveled the country for the past eight years in their RV.

The Nichols and Boldens were first-time visitors to Pigeon Forge, while the Bethunes, Daniels and Falins knew the lay of the land from previous family vacations.

The Pigeon Forge Family Challenge put each family through the paces as they displayed their skills, enthusiasm 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 Country Tonite Theater 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.


B-roll available for download here.

Image 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