A last thank you to #PidgeonForge and all the #Brandcation sponsors!

Brandcation group photo courtesy of Loundmouth PhotographyI’m having shoulder surgery tomorrow and don’t have much time to get everything done that I need to. So please excuse this mass post thanking all the wonderful companies who sponsored the Brandcation 2012’s Blog Cabin!

Cabin Fever Vacations

Can you believe that 34 women stayed in one cabin for several days in relative comfort? Sure we had to share bathrooms and beds, and there was no privacy to speak of and I had to change in the laundry room. But the place was clean and spacious. It had a fully stocked, big kitchen with two refrigerators,two fireplaces, great showers, two hot tubs, jacuzzi tubs in two of the bedrooms, and so much more. Plus the view of the Smoky Mountains? Amazing!

Cabin Fever Vacations, in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee offer cabins to fit all sizes of groups. A cabin works better than a motel, especially if you have a large group and lots of kids. It’s also perfect for parents of children or anyone with a special diet or allergies who can’t eat out. (Our cabin was about four miles from a very nice Kroger supermarket, so very easy to stock up with all your favorite healthy foods.) One of our Brandcation bloggers stays at Cabin Fever Vacations every Thanksgiving with family and they cook the entire meal there, too.

You can check them out at cabinfevervacations.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

Lumberjack Feud

If you enjoy watching lumberjack competitions on ESPN, Lumberjack Feud is the dinner theater for you. There’s lots of audience participation, especially for the kids. And the lumberjacks and jills are easy on the eyes to boot. I especially enjoyed the dog competitions, but wished the performers (many who compete professionally) would wear eye protection. It’s scary enough that they’re working with dangerous equipment and I feared for their safety. They also have a really fun gift shop.

You have the option of eating dinner there or just watching the show. You can find more information at lumberjackfeud.com or connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.

Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede

While I enjoyed watching the piggie races, the kids chasing chickens, eating with my hands, and the horsemanship, I can’t wholeheartedly recommend Dixie Stampede. First, I’m bothered about anyone glorifying war, so the whole “North vs. South” part really rubbed me the wrong way and probably explained why there weren’t any African-American faces in the crowd. Second, the Dixie Stampede is more about the Western expansion than the South, so there are a lot of cowboys and Western rodeo riding (barrel races and a patriotic horse riding demonstration that’s a not very good copy of the Westernaires). I found this confusing and thought I was at a rodeo for a second.

Third, I was put off by the bit about the buffalo. While it’s exciting to see live bison close up, the history behind their purposeful extinction as a way to get Native Americans on to reservations and dependent on Uncle Sam, was lost on the crowd. Same with the celebration of the Cherokee nation whose eastern reservation is an hour away from Pigeon Forge in Cherokee, North Carolina. If you remember, the rest of the tribe was forced to walk to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears. It’s sad when Americans don’t know their own history. Or maybe it’s just about bread and circuses – or sweet drinks and biscuits.

Even so, the waiters were terrific, everyone was very friendly, the venue is very clean and organized, the food was tasty, and they were very generous in hosting our group. You can find more information on their website at dixiestampede.com.

Tennessee and Pigeon Forge Tourism Boards

I want to thank both the Tennessee and Pigeon Forge Tourism Boards for coming by the cabin and saying hi and helping our organizers plan the trip. People in Tennessee are super friendly and they’re here to help you plan your next trip. You can connect with them at:

Tennessee Tourism - tnvacation.com, on Facebook and on Twitter.

Pigeon Forge Tourism - mypigeonforge.com, on Facebook and on Twitter.

I love Tennessee and plan to be back soon for a visit to Smoky Mountain National Park and to buy some sorghum. Can’t wait!

Other sponsors

Many of the Brandcation bloggers had sponsors and we got lots of goodies from them like Flashing Blinky Lights, Mom Agenda, Carpet One, Dolphin Organics, Party City, Sportline Pedometers, Cascade Ice Water, Natures One, K’Nex Tinker Toys, Lou Babs & Moogs, Blingles, Trash Pack, Group Gifting, Store Smart, Orbeez, and Fab Kids. There were also other events I didn’t attend like ziplining with Climb Works and a tour of the Hollywood Wax Museum.

If I’ve forgotten anyone’s Brandcation sponsor, feel free to add yours below in the comments.

Image courtesy of Brandy at Loudmouth Photography.

Disclosure: The Brandcation bloggers received special discounts and passes to many of the attractions we visited. All experiences and opinions expressed here are my own.

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