PIGEON FORGE (WATE) – Sevier County was filling up Friday, as tourists arrived to celebrate Memorial Day weekend in the Smokies. One very popular spot was the Island in Pigeon Forge.
It’s the first weekend they’re open for business. New attractions like Margaritaville Island Hotel, Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen and a ropes course for kids were among the many places attracting large crowds.
Donya Lovett and her husband got married in Pigeon Forge 21 years ago. Every time they come back to visit, they say there’s a new spot for them to check out.
“So we’ve never been to the Island before,” explained Lovett.
The big draw for her was Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen.
“I love Paula Deen and saw that she had a store here, so I wanted to come and check out all the things she had,” she said.
A group of moms from Ohio were doing some tasting at Ole Smoky Moonshine.
“We don’t have any kids, we don’t have any husbands. Heck yeah we’re drinking moonshine,” said an elated Rose Harrod.
The Island is just another addition to the growth Pigeon Forge has seen the last few years.
“We have a lot of change, a lot of loyal customers. 70 percent or more come back, so we have new products for them. We had $1 billion in spending in just Pigeon Forge last year. Year to date we’re trending up,” explained Pigeon Forge Mayor David Wear.
Tourists like Lovett amazed at how the place just keeps growing.
“Every time we come, we see something different that we haven’t seen before,” she said.
There is a free Easton Corbin concert Friday night at the Island at 7 p.m.