As she does every year, Dolly Parton made the trek to East Tennessee on Wednesday to kickstart the 2021 season of her theme park, Dollywood.
Nestled in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, Dollywood is one of the world’s premiere adventure parks. The 150-acres park resides in the small tourist town of Pigeon Forge in Sevier County. One city over is Dolly Parton’s hometown, Sevierville, which is also in Sevier County.
It has become quite the tradition for Dolly Parton to kick off a new season at the theme park that bears her name. She did so on a rainy Wednesday morning at the park, where she performed her hit song “Coat of Many Colors.”
Dolly Parton was joined by Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts at the ceremony and the two discussed the significance the park holds to her. Parton became emotional when discussing she hasn’t been back to Dollywood since the COVID-19 pandemic struck. With a rainbow-colored guitar in hand, Parton sang her 1968 hit song.
Dolly Parton is Happy to be Back in East Tennessee
It’s been a difficult year for large-scale tourist attractions like Dollywood. The ongoing pandemic forced the hospitality industry to re-think business plans to stay afloat in a struggling economy. Dollywood is among the many nationwide parks attempting a return to normal. The park is still encouraging precautions such as wearing protective masks and social distancing. Despite COVID-19 measures, attendance has steadily increased as warmer months approach. The work put in by the Dollywood staff has not gone unnoticed by Dolly Parton.
“I think it’s amazing how our crew has done all the things that they’ve done,” Dolly Parton says to Roberts. “Last year, of course, like everybody else, we were open on a limited basis but everybody was so great to practice the safety rules. The people here are like family so any time you have a process of any kind you just kind of pull together and get it done. People always brag about the staff here at Dollywood.”
2021 marks 36 years of fun for the thrilling adventure park. To celebrate, Dollywood is hosting a Flower and Food Festival. A stroll around the park will reveal numerous artistic creations made by flower arrangements. Inside the park, a statue made of flowers honors Dolly Parton’s mother and the impact she had on her life and music career. The flower-filled statue is appropriately called the “Coat of Many Colors.”
Dollywood is one of the top theme park destinations in the world with numerous roller coasters and live entertainment. The park puts on a fireworks show at closing time that has become a hit with Dollywood visitors.