When’s the last time you picked up a rotisserie chicken and ate it with your bare hands? And did the same with a slice of juicy pork loin? Oh, and consumed a bowl of creamy vegetable soup without the need for a spoon?
Well, that’s how it is at Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede Dinner and Show, which is staged at locations in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; and Branson, Mo. We attended the show Saturday night in Branson, and it was a finger food feast.
We’ll get to the show part in a moment, but, because we’re The Food Channel, let’s stick with a discussion of the vittles (just trying to get it the spirit of things here, y’all).
You’re seated in an arena with a capacity of 1,100, that’s divided into the North section, where we were, and the South section. Servers are decked out in blue or gray Civil War-era uniforms and they deliver the four-course feast with assembly-line efficiency.
After drinks are served in Mason jars, the first course, creamy vegetable soup, is poured from a pitcher into our crocks, which have a handy ladle. You drink it rather than spoon it.
They call it a four-course feast, which includes soup, biscuits, a 1-pound whole rotisserie chicken, a slice of hickory smoked pork loin, corn on the cob, fresh-cut potatoes and a crispy apple turnover for dessert. If that sounds like a lot, it isâ€”but it’s all quite good. And just when you’re thinking, â€˜man, my fingers are really greasy,â€™ along comes our server, Union soldier Aaron, with a warm wet nap, just in the nick of time.
During peak seasons, Dixie Stampede stages up to 4 shows daily. That’s 4,400 one-pound rotisserie chickens, 1,000 pounds of pork tenderloin, hundreds of pounds of fresh potatoes, ripe corn and tens of gallons of soup each day. Over the course of a year in the three locations, the attraction serves more than 200 tons of rotisserie chicken, 60 tons of pork and 60 tons of potatoes. No one leaves Dixie Stampede hungry. Certainly we didn’t.
All the while you’re stuffing food into your face with your fingers, 32 beautiful horses and dozens of cast members are putting on an amazing show of horsemanship, singing, dancing and comedy. The arena remains dustless, however, as the horses, cattle, and performing piglets are all running around on a moistened white beach sand-covered surface.
The current show, â€˜Gold Rush Jubilee,â€™ tells a story of young America, which begins with a stunning scene as several â€˜wildâ€™ horses frolic across the arena that’s been transformed into a fog-shrouded â€˜prairie.â€™ That bucolic setting segues into a sequence honoring Native Americans that features a ballet-style performance and a haunting recorded song from Dolly Parton.
Cowboys and costumed dance hall girls celebrate the Gold Rush days of the Old West and both men and women riders perform some astounding feats on horseback.
A Civil Competition of North vs. South
There are a number of rousing riding competitions pitting North vs. South, audience-participation segments, and a cute piglet race that has kids of all ages cheering for the little porkers that represent their side of the Mason-Dixon line.
The show ends in a patriotic, flag-waving finale in red, white and blue featuring thundering hooves, flying white doves and Dolly serenading America up on the big screen.
The Dixie Stampede rewards the audience with a feast, a spectacle, and just plain wholesome family entertainment. My number one recommendation: Come hungry.