Sevier Co. snow slows Dollywood traffic; Smokies visits stay abo

Sevier Co. snow slows Dollywood traffic; Smokies visits stay about the same

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Dollywood says attendance suffered a bit because of the cold weather, but there were still plenty of visitors on Monday. Dollywood says attendance suffered a bit because of the cold weather, but there were still plenty of visitors on Monday.
"It's supposed to be spring break. No snow," said park visitor Karen Stovall. "It's supposed to be spring break. No snow," said park visitor Karen Stovall.
Stovall said the snow made the scenery even more beautiful. Stovall said the snow made the scenery even more beautiful.

By SAMANTHA MANNING
6 News Reporter

SEVIERVILLE (WATE) - Spring may have officially started just a few days ago, but it certainly didn't feel like it outside on Monday.

East Tennessee saw unusually late snowfall and cold weather, with temperatures well below average.

Dollywood says attendance suffered a bit because of the cold weather, especially Sunday when it was cold and wet.

But with Knox County Schools taking spring break this week, then Sevier County Schools taking it next week, the park says it isn't too worried about not having enough customers.

Even on Monday families still came out to enjoy the amusement park.

Despite the snowfall, Dollywood's Festival of Nations carried on with music and performances from different countries.

Many spring breakers and other visitors came prepared, dressed in hats and gloves. The amusement park opened this weekend, just in time for the cold wet weather.
 
"We expected it to be much warmer than this today," said Dollywood patron Jian Zhu.
 
Park spokesman Pete Owens says while they don't have exact numbers yet, they know Sunday had a lower attendance rate than usual because of the unseasonably cold weather.
 
"It was very clear when you walked around the park there were fewer people here than we expected," said Owens.
 
But Friday and Saturday did much better, in part, because Dolly Parton herself was in town for opening weekend.

Some of the rides weren't in operation Sunday because they can't be turned on when it's colder than 40 degrees outside.

On Monday, many of them like The Barnstormer were up and running again, though they could be temporarily shut off again if the temperatures start to dip.

Still, many parkgoers said the weather wasn't enough to put a damper on their good time.
 
The same was true for visitors in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The Smokies saw around two inches of snow during the weekend's snowfall. The park even had to close Newfound Gap Road because of the icy conditions.

But still, the park says the unseasonably cold weather isn't keeping visitors away.

"It's supposed to be spring break. No snow," said park visitor Karen Stovall.

Stovall traveled all the way from Little Rock, Ark. to spend some time with friends enjoying the majestic Smoky Mountains. She said the snow made the scenery even more beautiful.

"Got snow on the mountain, got to go see the snow," she said.

The park said it didn't see much of a drop in visitors over the weekend despite the winter weather. In fact, the park's spokesperson says many hikers prefer the colder temperatures.

"For anyone thinking about hiking in these conditions we do ask they have proper gear," said spokeswoman Dana Soehn.

"Love it. First time I've been here in the snow," said visitor Kris Roberts.

Roberts is visiting from Alabama and says he visits the Smokies all the time. But he's never had a visit quite like this one during the spring time.

"I tell you it's just amazing. Beautiful and not really that cold either," he said.

The Smokies are expected to see more snowfall through Tuesday.

Sevier County was under a Winter Storm Warning until 6 p.m. Tuesday. The storm could bring anywhere from two to six inches of snow.

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