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Dollywood's National Southern Gospel & Harvest Celebration kicks off October 3 with music awards ceremony
By Jeaneane Payne

Amidst a background of the Great Smoky Mountains in all their glory of fall colors, the annual National Southern Gospel & Harvest Celebration will kick off on October 3, 2012 with the Southern Gospel Music Association Induction Ceremony/Singing News Fan Awards.

This year's recipient of the James D. Vaughan "Impact Award" will be the Oak Ridge Boys. When told of the news, Duane Allen lead singer for the Oaks said, "It is a huge honor for The Oak Ridge Boys to be presented with the James D. Vaughan Impact Award. Southern style gospel music is the foundation of harmony which is the sound of The Oak Ridge Boys. We all grew up loving the great gospel quartets and gospel music. We are very humbled to have been chosen to receive this award and look forward to its presentation at Dollywood October 3rd." Duane Allen, William Golden, Richard Sturban and Joe Bonsall will be appearing in person to accept this award.

oak ridge boys
This year's recipient of the James D. Vaughan "Impact Award" will be the Oak Ridge Boys. Photo courtesy of Triumphant Quartet.

sorghum making dollywood
Sorghum molasses making demonstration by Mark Guenther.
triumphant quartet
The Triumphant Quartet will be performing at the Harvest Celebration. Photo courtesy of Triumphant Quartet.

Groups that will be performing during the Awards show are: Perry's, Booth Brothers, Legacy Five, Triumphant Quartet, Greater Vision, Brian Free & Assurance, Inspirations, Karen Peck & New River, Gold City and the McKameys.

There will also be concerts held in various venues throughout the park. Groups performing are: The Florida Boys, Punches Family, Triumphant Quartet, Diplomats, Proclaimers Quartet, Chuck Wagon Gang, Dixie Melody Boys, Archie Watkins & Smoky Mountain Reunion and Tribute Quartet.

The Harvest Celebration will continue through November 3 with some of America's finest artisans exhibiting their work. Featured art includes landscape art by Terry Chandler, quilts, native style wooden flutes, jewelry, dulcimers, textile crafts, spinning and weaving, wood working, chainsaw carvings, and native American pottery.

Special demonstrations will include sorghum making, rug hooking, basket weaving, chair making, storytelling, and woodworking. David Fortna from Pennsylvania will be displaying his handmade historic games.

The crisp, cool mountain air will whet your appetite for great Southern cooking on the Dollywood premises. Roasted corn, barbecue, fried chicken, pinto beans, cornbread, and hot apple cider.

Aunt Granny's offers a tasty breakfast buffet until 10:45 a.m. with a selection of bacon, country sausage, fried bologna, biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs, potato casserole, grits, Gelgian waffle sticks, and various fruits and cereals. For a lunch or dinner buffet, prepare yourself for fried chicken, fried fish, Salisbury steak, baked spaghetti, chicken & Dumplings, green beans, pinto beans, cooked cabbage, turnip greens, macaroni & cheese, buttered noodles, mashed potatoes and gravy, and lots more, including a variety of desserts.

No fall festival is complete without breaded onions. The Backstage Restaurant serves up some great gourmet breaded onions with three dipping sauces. For the crab lovers, you can get a hot crab dip with fried flatbread. Filling the air with that favorite aroma is the restaurant's smothered skillet potatoes topped with cheddar cheese, scallions, sour cream, and bacon. Other items on the menu include burgers, beef and chicken sandwiches, and lots more.

You will get lost if you dare enter the Big Skilletâ„¢ Tater Patch. Turkey leg and red bliss potatoes? Yes, ma'am. Discover for yourself all of the wonderful menu items at the Patch.

One of the favorites at Dollywood is watching as corn is popped -- right in the kettle. Kettle corn is a favorite snack in the Smoky Mountains.

Several other food stops are available to satisfy your hungry appetite.

Dollywood Theme Park is open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily except Thursday, throughout the fall celebration. All concerts are free with park admission.

Published September 26, 2012

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