Leave it to Dolly Parton to create a memorable performance. The Dixie Stampede dinner and show has been a packed house since the day it opened in Branson. The Branson location is the third venue in the franchise, which was founded by Dolly Parton in 1988 in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
However, for a franchise show it retains many location specific characteristics. The Branson location features an opening act that plays bluegrass and more country western style music than the Pigeon Forge location which features a hillbilly band. Performers are also all sourced locally.
Each edition of the Dixie Stampede dinner and show package starts an hour before the scheduled performance time when patrons are escorted into the area known as the Carriage House. The local opening act performs in the Carriage House until the show and dinner are ready. At that time guests are taken into the main arena for the meal and the show.
The Dixie Stampede is a mix of North vs. South and `How the West was Won'. Done in the style of a revue show, the different elements blend into each other to create the overall down home feel. Live animals are used in the performance. There are 32 horses, ostriches, pigs and other animals used for races, tricks and stunts.
The performers play the part of Southern belles and gentlemen for the North vs. South elements of the show and cowgirls and cowboys for the Wild West portions. Singing, dancing and humor are incorporated into all aspects of the show. The performers get very close and are interactive with the audience.
The meal is a four course affair, designed to be eaten without needing utensils. Patrons who love a down home meal may want to sit a bit back from the arena, as the proximity of the performers to the audience means that the dirt kicked up by the horses can get all over front row sitters. However, this right-in-your-face element only contributes to the popularity of the show. It generally sells out each night in the summer so advance reservations are recommended.