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Tweetsie Railroad back for its 60th anniversary season

Contributed To The Press • Mar 25, 2017 at 9:31 PM

BLOWING ROCK, N.C. — On Friday, April 7, the Blue Ridge Mountains will echo the familiar “tweet, tweet!” of Tweetsie Railroad’s historic steam engines when the theme park opens for its 60th anniversary season.

Guests will experience a Wild West adventure complete with family-friendly entertainment, rides and special events all season long. Guests visiting the park on Saturday, April 15, will even get to spend time with a special guest, the Easter Bunny.

The season at North Carolina’s first theme park will include annual events such as the July 4th Fireworks Extravaganza, Day Out With Thomas, K-9’s In Flight Frisbee Dogs, the award-winning Ghost Train and more. Daytime operations for Tweetsie Railroad will continue through Oct. 29.

For the first time, the theme park will extend its nighttime operations, every Friday and Saturday night, Nov. 24-Dec. 30 to debut Tweetsie Christmas, a special holiday event.

Whether it’s hopping aboard a train pulled by a historic steam locomotive to experience an exciting three-mile Wild West adventure through the Blue Ridge Mountains, panning for gold, meeting cowboys and Can-Can girls, or strolling through an authentic Western town, the park has something for everyone.

Families looking for even more delights can explore amusement rides, gem mining, and the Deer Park Zoo ­ home to more than 90 animals including deer, emus, goats, llamas and miniature horses.

Tweetsie Railroad also offers plenty of live entertainment, including the Country Clogging Jamboree, Diamond Lil’s Can-Can Review and the Hopper and Porter show.

Miner’s Mountain will soon be home to two new shops for guests to enjoy: Miner’s Mountain Ice Cream Shop and Face Paint Parlor. Miner’s Mountain Theater, home to live shows including Hopper and Porter and the Magic Show, has also been renovated and expanded.

The 2017 season will feature a variety of events:

• David Holt and the Lightning Bolts in Concert, Saturday, May 27. Four-time Grammy recipient Holt will give visitors an old-time music experience with a new twist. Come enjoy all-American music and humorous stories at the noon and 3 p.m. shows.

• Day Out With Thomas: The Friendship Tour 2017, June 9-18. Thomas the Tank Engine has come all the way from the Island of Sodor to Tweetsie Railroad. To make sure Thomas is right on time and available to take photos with guests, Sir Topham Hatt will be managing the station during the event. A limited number of tickets are available; buying tickets for this event in advance is recommended.

• Fireworks Extravaganza, July 4. It’s no secret that Tweetsie Railroad has always presented the biggest July 4th fireworks display in Western North Carolina, and this year’s extravaganza will be the park’s most spectacular show ever.

Join Tweetsie Railroad in celebrating its 60th anniversary and America’s birthday with an evening of park rides and entertainment; the park is open until 9 p.m., and the big fireworks show starts at 9:30. Guests can make the night even more special with an optional dinner and a V.I.P. viewing area.

• Cool Summer Nights, July 8, 15, 22 and 29. Cool off in the mountains this summer at Tweetsie Railroad’s Cool Summer Nights. The Wild West entertainment and park rides will be open until 9 p.m.

• Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, July 7-9. Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo are making their first visit to Tweetsie Railroad this summer to enjoy the park and meet their fans. Be sure to catch appearances from the world’s most famous mutant turtles at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

• K-9s In Flight Frisbee Dogs, July 22-29. This team of dogs will perform acrobatic routines. There will be three shows daily at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., plus a special evening show at 7 on Saturdays.

• The Backyardigans, Aug. 4-6 Explore the park and meet your favorite costumed characters from the hit Nickelodeon show, “The Backyardigans.” Pose, hug and take pictures with Pablo, Uniqua and Tyrone during their appearances at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

• Riders In The Sky, Aug. 12-13: Riders In The Sky, America’s Favorite Cowboys, will perform their famous Western music and comedy blend at noon and 3 p.m. each day. The quartet has been together for more than 30 years and has received Grammy Awards for Best Musical Album for Children with the production of “Woody¹s Round Up” from “Toy Story 2” and the companion album for “Monsters Inc.”

• Railroad Heritage Weekend, Aug. 26-27: What do steam locomotives and the Blue Ridge Mountains have in common? A history that goes back to the 1800s. Come celebrate Railroad Heritage Weekend at Tweetsie Railroad with special train rides, performances by the Cherokee dancers, crafts from the Tsa-La-Gi Touring Program and tours of the Steam Locomotive Repair Shop.

This year’s Weekend will also celebrate the 100th birthday of the famous “Tweetsie” locomotive, Engine No. 12.

• Ghost Train, Friday and Saturday nights, Sept. 22­Oct. 28. Tweetsie will host a Halloween celebration the whole family can enjoy. Ghost Train includes trick-or-treating, the Freaky Forest, the Haunted House and more.

The Ghost Train has been named one of the “Top 20 Events in the Southeast” by the Southeast Tourism Society. A limited number of tickets are available; buying tickets in advance is recommended.

• Tweetsie Christmas, Friday and Saturday evenings, Nov. 24-Dec. 30. A new holiday tradition has begun. Celebrate all of the joys of the holiday season when the park transforms into a winter wonderland for Tweetsie Christmas. Enjoy a train ride through an enchanted land of twinkling lights, visit with Santa, see Christmas shows and more. Your family can even pick out a Christmas tree while you’re here.

A limited number of tickets are available; buying tickets for this event in advance is recommended.

Hours and dates of operation vary; check Tweetsie.com before planning your visit. Daytime admission is $45 for adults, $30 for children (ages 3 to 12) and free for children 2 and under. Admission prices for Ghost Train and Tweetsie Christmas are $38 for adults and children.

Tweetsie Railroad is located on U.S. Highway 321 between Boone and Blowing Rock, North Carolina. For more information, visit www.tweetsie.com or call 877-TWEETSIE 877-898-3874.

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