"Dixie" removed from dinner attraction sign

Credit: Clifford Joyner

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- If you visit Pigeon Forge anytime soon, you might notice some big changes.

Pictures captured by Clifford Joyner show the "Dixie" being removed from the former Dixie Stampede's sign in Pigeon Forge. Local 8's Sevier County Bureau Chief Kyle Grainger confirmed that the dinner attraction's sign was changed to say "Dolly Parton's Stampede."

Earlier this week, Dolly Parton's World Choice Investments LLC., publicized a choice that caused an uproar among Dolly Parton fans: officially taking the "Dixie" out of Dixie Stampede.

"Our shows currently are identified by where they are located," Dolly said. "Some examples are Smoky Mountain Adventures or Dixie Stampede. We also recognize that attitudes change and feel that by streamlining the names of our shows, it will remove any confusion or concerns about our shows and will help our efforts to expand into new cities."

The company said the decision was made as global demand grows for more venues.

"There is interest in several parts of the United States and internationally to host one of our unique dinner attraction shows," Jim Rule, World Choice Investments CEO, said. "We provide spectacular family entertainment at a great value. We continually listen to our guests and our desire to expand coupled with our desire to stay relevant in today's changing world led us to simplify our shows' names."

The name change stirred emotions among fans of the show.

Kristina Davis has worked across from the show for years at the Lodge Mill Creek. She disagrees with the decision to remove "Dixie," and said the word is not a bad representation of the south.

"People might have some negative thoughts about the word 'dixie.' There's a battle of the north and south in there, but it can't be called Dixie Stampede?" Davis questioned. "I don't agree with it. I think it should stay Dixie Stampede, We're in the heart of dixie."

Local Zachary Dunn believes if the show's willing to drop the name, there's probably a good reason.

"There's always a way to rebrand things, make it newer, make it appeal to a different public," Dunn explained. "If it means they're taking the name out to rebrand it and put it somewhere else, then I think that's a great idea because that means more people can see our culture and how fun it is to be in the south."

What do you think about the name change? Share your thoughts on the WVLT Local 8 Facebook page.