Our family of six recently headed to Sevierville for spring break and decided to check out Dolly Parton’s Stampede. We have four kids who seem to eat as much as a football team and the prospect of whole chickens, pork loin, made-from-scratch biscuits, potato wedges, corn on the cob and creamy vegetable soup made us even more eager to experience everything Stampede has to offer.
Our family is unique because in addition to multiple ages and stages of life represented, we also have different abilities. Our eleven-year-old daughter is functionally blind and we are always on the lookout for family experiences that feel inclusive for her. Stampede is a wonderful show that includes tons of visual elements, but we observed many great auditory and kinetic elements that made Lola feel included, too. The audience is asked to stomp their feet instead of clapping—mostly because hands are occupied with eating whole chickens!—but the result is much louder than simply clapping. Additionally, the stadium seats literally vibrate when the audience stomps. This is a wonderful element for a visually impaired child to experience. The emcee of the night, who is charismatic and fun, also describes every event in detail. If the pigs are coming out for a race, you know exactly what’s happening without having to rely on sight! Lola was a full participant in every moment and that made the experience even more special for our family. She also loved meeting the performers and petting the horses at the end of the show—all of the kids did, in fact!
Aside from feeling highly-inclusive, we also loved that the show entertained our seven- year-old just as much as it entertained our [sometimes moody] preteen. It was a joy to see them both crack up at the lively jokes and watch with wonder as the buffalo roamed the arena in the midnight lighting.
I mentioned food at the onset on this post and I’ve got to mention that once again because it was delicious! Our youngest daughter is still talking about the creamy vegetable soup. Drinking it straight from the cup made it even tastier! Every belly was full and every face satisfied by the end of the evening and the warm apple turnover was like a big cherry on top. Stampede was an absolute hit for our family. We’ll be talking about this memory for years!