Dollywood, country music’s version of Disney Land, is turning 30 this year, with plans of celebrity concerts, resort openings, and much more to celebrate this milestone.
Dollywood has grown from an unknown park to one of Tennessee’s largest attractions, and the largest seasonal employer in Sevier County.
Times News reports that Dolly Parton hit the stage on Friday to speak to season ticket holders and members of the media to talk about the anniversary. She was quoted as saying the following.
“When I first started to see that my dreams were going to come true — I believed that they would, but when I saw that that was going to happen — I thought ‘I want to do something special to honor my… family name and to do something great for Sevier County that I could be a part of.’ “
Dollywood first opened in 1986 under a joint partnership with Herschend Family Entertainment. Parton had always wanted to open a theme park in her hometown, and thought the partnership would be a great starting point.
Rather than building from the ground up, Dollywood took over the failing Herschend-owned theme park, Silver Dollar City. Through the support of friends, family, and local residents, the once aging park has become a major attraction to the area, bringing over 3 million visitors to the park annually.
As reported by Yahoo News, not only is this Dollywood’s 30 year anniversary, it is also the 15 year anniversary of Festival Of Nations, a celebration of national and cultural diversity that is performed every year at the park. Visitors are treated to exotic dishes, dance extravaganzas, and much more all in an effort to bring back home what she has experienced in her own travels.
International acts, such as acrobats Timber! from Canada, Los Pampas Gauchos from Argentina — an act that blends fast paced dancing, visual displays, and comedy — and Invaders Steel Orchestra, Trinidad’s oldest steel drum band, just to name a few.
If creating a hub for cultural diversity in a state not really known for such, and if supporting her home town by running a top notch theme park in the center of it, doesn’t give you reason enough to love Dolly Parton, then this should.
Earlier this week the Inqusitr posted a touching story regarding the music legend. Dolly visited a young fan with Down Syndrome, and sang several duets with the awe struck young man. Gage Blackwell will certainly never forget his time with Dolly or the outpouring of support from supporters.