The show's opening features a rousing new overture highlighted by video projections of stampeding horses on the floor of the 30,000-square-foot arena. Several of Dixie Stampede's show segments have been re-envisioned to include the new video technology, the most breathtaking of which comes during the show's patriotic conclusion.
Set to the moving "Color Me America!," written and performed by Parton, the entire arena floor is filled with the image of an American flag blowing in the breeze as a dozen horses and riders present the nation's colors in a display of perfectly choreographed pageantry.
"When I wrote 'Color Me America!,' I never dreamed the song would be brought to life quite like this," Parton said. "When that giant American flag fills the arena, you just swell with pride. Between the finale and a few other surprises we've worked into the show, I just know families will be talking about Dixie Stampede all the way home."
Guests are encouraged to arrive a little early and enjoy a leisurely stroll alongside the open-air stables, where they can meet the stars of the show — Dixie Stampede's Quarter Horses and Palominos.
Beginning an hour prior to the main show, costumed Belles welcome guests into the two-level Dixie Belle Saloon, where peanuts, popcorn and old-fashioned fruit juice drinks (all non-alcoholic, of course) served in souvenir boot mugs are available for purchase. Following pre-show entertainment by the country and bluegrass band Mountain Ruckus, visitors are ushered into the arena and seated on one of two sides — the North or the South.
Over the next hour and a half, a cast of talented performers and a team of skilled riders lead the show's 32 magnificent horses through Roman riding, buckboard and barrel races, and other tricks, all in the name of Dixie Stampede's friendly rivalry between the arena's North and South sides.
The 2014 show marks the return of two fan-favorite segments: miniature horse races and the bucket brigade competition, a wet and wild test of teamwork and coordination that's just one of several events that calls audience members to step up and bring home a victory for their team.
One of the show's highlights is its signature four-course meal, consisting of creamy vegetable soup (available as a take-home mix in the gift shop), a homemade garlic cheddar biscuit, whole rotisserie chicken, hickory-smoked barbequed pork loin, corn on the cob, herb-basted potato, an apple turnover for dessert and unlimited beverages. Vegetarian meals are available upon request.
Be prepared to get a little messy — guests eat with their fingers — but servers will bring by a warm, moist towel at the end of the meal.
Tickets range from $50.11 to $61.14 for adults and $24.72 to $35.76 for children ages 4-11 depending on the date, time and seating selected. Children 3 and younger are admitted free if they sit in a parent's lap and eat from their plate. Be sure to bring along a little extra cash to tip the hard-working servers.
Shows are performed daily; for show times and reservations, call (800) 356-1676 or visit www.dixiestampede.com.
"Christmas at Dixie Stampede" opens Nov. 4 and will continue through Jan. 3, 2015.