GENERAL JACKSON SHOWBOAT’S 25 YEARS OF CRUISING THE CUMBERLAND COMMEMORATED
IN FULL DAY OF ACTIVITIES
Iconic Riverboat’s Silver Anniversary Included Exciting 4th of July Weekend Events
When a milestone marking 25 years is reached, a big celebration is usually had. And that’s exactly what the General Jackson Showboat, owned by Gaylord Opryland Resort & Attractions, did over the 2010 Fourth of July weekend in Nashville, Tennessee, as the iconic paddlewheel riverboat commemorated its “silver” anniversary. From excursion cruises for $8 and an appreciation cruise for Hands on Nashville volunteers, to a free concert and fireworks show, crowds lined up and took part in the big celebration on Friday, July 2, 2010 at Riverfront Park in downtown Nashville. The festivities honoring the General Jackson’s 25th anniversary, sponsored by Coke Zero, were in conjunction with Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau’s annual Music City July 4th: Let Freedom Sing! event.
“This weekend marks a remarkable milestone for us and for Nashville. It was 25 years ago that we launched what has become an icon in Music City—the General Jackson Showboat,” said Pete Weien, senior vice president and general manager of Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center. “And for those 25 years, the General Jackson has been a break from the hectic, everyday world. It is an escape, where, for a few hours, you can simply relax and enjoy life. And we are thrilled that we are still able to offer that experience to all of our guests. Here’s to 25 more!”
The General Jackson Showboat, built by Jeffersonville, Indiana-based Jeffboat, was launched April 20, 1985 and was christened July 2, 1985 in grand style. Crowds gathered on the riverbanks of what is now known as Riverfront Park to watch the 300-foot authentic paddlewheeler make its majestic appearance into Music City. That event, commemorated by some of Nashville’s most popular and well-known stars, including Grand Ole Opry icon Porter Wagoner and Thelma Gaylord, of the family who owned and directed the then Opryland USA Themepark, started a tradition in Music City that, 25 years later, is only beginning.
Aboard the afternoon excursion cruises, guests were able to enjoy a cruise for the same price as cruise tickets in 1985, the first year the boat set sail. These cruises offered complimentary birthday cake and punch for all and entertainment by one of the boat’s popular bands. Also, an onboard exhibit gave guests the opportunity to glimpse unique artifacts from the boat’s 25-year history, including the original model boat; photographs from early shows; a whistle given to country legend Porter Wagoner, who assisted in the christening; and a congratulatory letter from Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen.
That night, a video showcasing the importance of the General Jackson to riverboat history was shown. Storme Warren, host on Great American Country (GAC) TV, then took the stage to introduce country music heartthrob Chuck Wicks. Wicks took the charts by storm with his top 5 debut single “Stealing Cinderella” in 2007, caught the nation’s attention when he appeared on ABC’s smash hit Dancing with the Stars in 2008 and is currently experiencing success with his newly released follow-up album. He and his band jammed away on the outdoor stage for more than hour, entertaining the crowd of more than 4,000 with new and cover songs. Following Wicks’s performance, a fireworks show officially kicked-off the Fourth of July weekend in Music City.
“We were proud to celebrate one of our city’s most popular attractions by partnering with Gaylord Opryland to create an event for the entire city to enjoy,” said Butch Spyridon, president of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau. “This was the perfect extension of our July 4 event and a great way to kick off the long weekend.”
Photos from the 25th anniversary celebration are available by clicking on the links below.
To book your tickets aboard the grand paddlwheeler, please call 615-458-3900 or click here.
Chuck Wicks Concert
Chuck Wicks Meet-and-Greet
Crook & Chase—Celebrity Captains
Hands on Nashville Appreciation Cruise
Heritage Hall Exhibit
Lelan Statom—Celebrity Captain
Philip Gibbons—Celebrity Captain