Paula Deen Announces Tour Dates; Florida Included

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Paula Deen is going on tour, y'all. And she's stopping in Florida.

Paula Deen Ventures has just announced that the cook and entrepreneur will set out on a 20-show nationwide tour, starting in June 2014. Although dates are still being announced, several Florida cities are listed, with Orlando and Clearwater being the closest to South Florida. Executive producer of the show is Gordon Elliot, who is also creator of ABC's The Chew.

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Paula Deen Live!, a 90-minute interactive show, features interactive cooking demonstrations, games (expect musical chairs and the dating game), and stories by both Deen and her husband, Michael Groover, who has a fan base in his own right. As Deen herself puts it, "My husband, Michael, will be with me, and the crowd just loves him. He's an integral part of the show. And he will put me in my place in a New York minute! We have so much fun bantering back and forth with each other."

Paula Deen tells our sister blog, Short Order, that the tour is basically a love letter to her fans. "When I step out onstage, it's the most amazing feeling, y'all. I feel so alive when I walk on that stage, and I love that kind of adrenaline rush. By going on tour, I can see all my amazing fans in different cities across the United States."

The tour starts on June 21 in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, which will be the home of the Southern cooking queen's new endeavor, Paula Deen's Family Kitchen, a restaurant and retail operation scheduled to open late summer 2014. Located at The Island in Pigeon Forge, the 20,000-square-foot restaurant has a projected design, construction, and yearly operation budget of nearly $20 million. Pigeon Forge, considered to be the gateway to the Smoky Mountains, is also the home of Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville Hotel and Dolly Parton's Dollywood theme park.

The tour and restaurant are just the start of a host of new projects for the lady. Although she's not sharing details, Deen did say that "this is only the beginning. I can't wait to announce them and for y'all to be a part of it."

Tickets for Paula Deen Live! go on sale to the general public through Ticketmaster on Thursday, May 1, at 10 a.m. In addition, VIP experiences that include a reception with hors d'oeuvres, beer and wine, a meet and greet, photo opportunities, gift bags, and exclusive seating will also be offered. Visit pauladeen.com.

Dates for the first seven shows are as follows. An additional 13 shows, including dates in Jacksonville, Pensacola, Orlando, and Clearwater, will be announced shortly.

Saturday, June 21 - LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Sunday, June 22 - LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Wednesday, August 6 - Majestic Theatre in San Antonio, Texas

Friday, August 8 - Lucas Theatre in Savannah, Georgia

Friday, August 15 - Lucas Theatre in Savannah, Georgia

Tuesday, August 26 - Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta, Georgia

Wednesday, August 27 - Andrew Jackson Hall in Nashville, Tennessee

Follow Laine Doss on Twitter @LaineDoss and Facebook.

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