At the base of the Great Smoky Mountains, Pigeon Forge “is the perfect backdrop for events,” said Jennifer Smith, sales manager for the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism and the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge. “There are amazing views every season of the year.”
The city’s 232,000-square-foot LeConte Center opened in fall 2013 and features a 100,500-square-foot, column-free exhibit hall and the 12,000-square-foot Greenbriar Hall; both can be divided into smaller spaces. The center also has seven multipurpose rooms, each of which can be halved, for a total of 14 rooms.
Because city officials didn’t want to pilfer business from other venues, the city-owned LeConte Center can host events only for 1,500 or more people. That leaves about 20 different meeting and convention hotels and other properties for smaller functions, Smith said.
Black Fox Lodge opened in December 2016 across the street from the LeConte Center. The hotel has 175 guest rooms and flexible meeting space for 375 attendees in theater seating.
Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa opened in 2015 with 300 guest rooms and suites; its more than 6,000 square feet of flexible meeting space includes a ballroom for up to 170 people.
The former Holiday Inn in Pigeon Forge is undergoing a major renovation and is now the Ramsey Hotel and Convention Center, where planners will find 12,000 square feet of event space.
Pigeon Forge is a tourist town packed with more than 50 attractions and plenty of entertainment for attendees, and local theaters can sometimes be rented out. The LeConte Center sits on the banks of the Little Pigeon River. A four-and-a-half-mile Riverwalk connects the Old Mill district to The Island, an entertainment development where groups will find a Margaritaville resort, restaurants, shops, a Ferris wheel, a ropes course and more.
Just seven miles south, Gatlinburg serves as the gateway to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Gatlinburg Convention Center has 148,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, including the 67,000-square-foot Great Hall, which can be split into three, as well as the 17,000-square-foot Tennessee Ballroom.
A Hampton Inn and a Fairfield Inn and Suites opened last year, joining a Courtyard by Marriott and a Holiday Inn Express, both of which opened in 2016.
Rocky Top Sports World is an indoor-outdoor sports tournament facility, but groups of all types can take advantage of 50,000 square feet of indoor event space and seating for several thousand people.