Press Releases

Pigeon Forge Takes Home Seven International Events Awards

PIGEON FORGE, Tennessee (Oct. 25, 2023)— In recognition of the city’s special events, the Pigeon Forge (Tennessee) Department of Tourism won seven Pinnacle Awards from the International Festivals and Events Association (IFEA) and Haas & Wilkerson Insurance.

New in 2022, the grand opening of Pigeon Forge’s Winterfest Wonders of Light walking trail was the centerpiece of an episode of UpTV’s Small Town Christmas which received the gold award in the Best Full-Length TV Program category. Hosted by Megan Alexander, Pigeon Forge’s Small Town Christmas episode originally aired in December 2022,and is the series’ highest rated episode to date. It is available for viewing on UpTV.

“Pigeon Forge’s Winterfest is the quintessential small town Christmas celebration,” said Megan Alexander. “The Pigeon Forge special events team and the entire town embrace the holiday spirit, and our Small Town Christmas viewers certainly enjoyed being a part of the grand opening of the Wonder of Lights walking trail.”

In the best event/festival category, Pigeon Forge’s Wilderness Wildlife Week was awarded second-best event in the world with a silver Grand Pinnacle Award. The Grand Pinnacle is the highest award given by the IFEA.

“We would like to congratulate all of our Pinnacle winners for their outstanding entries into this year’s competition,” said IFEA President & CEO, Steven Wood Schmader, CFEE. “The IFEA/Haas & Wilkerson Pinnacle Awards Competition recognizes the outstanding accomplishments and top quality creative, promotional, operational and community outreach programs and materials produced by festivals and events around the world. Striving for the highest degree of excellence in festival and event promotions and operations in every budget level and every corner of the globe, this competition has not only raised the standards and quality of the festivals and events industry to new levels, but also shows how event producers can use innovation and creativity to achieve a higher level of success.”

A Mountain Quiltfest claimed two bronze awards in Best Event Program and Best Cover Design, while the Pigeon Forge Chuck Wagon Cookoff received two bronze awards in Best Pin or Button and Best Hat categories. In addition to the Silver Grand Pinnacle award, Wilderness Wildlife Week took home silver in the Best Pin or Button category for its Kids Passport Program.

“We’re honored to be recognized by IFEA in seven categories this year,” said Pigeon Forge Special Events Manager Jon Elder. “The special events team strives to bring quality programming to Pigeon Forge for residents and visitors, and we’re grateful to everyone who continues to participate in them each year.”

The Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism’s next special event takes place on Nov. 9 at Patriot Park with a Veterans Tribute and Winterfest Kickoff Celebration. All veterans are invited and encouraged to attend the free event.

This year’s IFEA awards presentation was Oct. 9 in McAllen, Texas, during the organization’s 66th convention.

To learn more about Pigeon Forge, visit


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 are available at or toll-free at 1-800-251-9100.