East Tennessee's sweetheart was in town today!
Dolly Parton was in Pigeon Forge Friday to talk about some fun stuff happening at Dollywood this fall and winter.
“I love fall in the Great Smoky Mountains,” Parton said during the media event. “It truly is one of my favorite times of the year to come home. God’s coloring book is in full display with the Great Smoky Mountains painted in reds and golds.
Fall will be better than ever this year with a new addition to the Dollywood Harvest Festival, from Sept. 29-Oct. 28. The Great Pumpkin LumiNights will feature artistic sculptures, whimsical scenes and delightful, family-friendly fun throughout Timber Canyon. A highlight will be the thousands of carved and illuminated jack-o-lanterns around the park.
There will also be carving demonstrations, a glow maze, and a boogie dance party evey night!
"You know, people from all around the world know us for the millions of twinklin’ lights we put up at Christmas time. Well, when guests see thousands of these glowing pumpkins all lit up in Timber Canyon, they’re going to have that same special feeling. We think Great Pumpkin LumiNights will become just as popular with families as our Smoky Mountain Christmas festival. I’m pretty sure there will be a lot of new family traditions made this October!” said Dolly.
Once agai.n this year, the days of the Harvest Festival will be filled with Southern gospel entertainment, welcoming groups like Karen Peck & New River (Oct. 21-22), Guy Penrod (Oct. 23-24), The Isaacs (Oct. 12-13), The McKameys (Oct. 6-7), Gold City (Oct. 2-3) and many more.
Dolly said, for the first time, the park will be open every day during the fall and stay open until after dark.
She also said she's looking ahead for the big Smoky Mountain Christmas festival, which celebrates its 27th season this year
“I just love Christmas at Dollywood, and I know you all do too,” Dolly said. “The Parade of Many Colors is back this Christmas, along with seven holiday shows and four million beautiful lights. We even have Rudolph and his friends back for another year of creating family memories. It will be a November and December to remember!”
From the spectacular shows and elaborate holiday decorations to the four million sparkling lights and Christmas-themed menus, Dollywood captures the essence of Christmas in the Smoky Mountains.
Beyond the specifics of what people can enjoy at Dollywood this fall,, Dolly's biggest message was that Dollywood, and all of the businesses and attractions in Sevier County are open for business!
"A lot of people think Gatlinburg was burned down," she said.
She wants to make sure visitors know that despite last November's wildfires, the community is thriving and ready to welcome them.
"We're not just open for business, we're better than ever," she said.
This week, Dolly also revealed her first children's album. “I Believe In You” will be available digitally Sept. 29 and in stores worldwide Oct. 13. All 13 songs on the album were written by Parton. Proceeds from “I Believe in You” will benefit Parton’s Imagination Library.
“My first album was released 50 years ago and it's been an amazing 50 years since then,” Parton said in a statement. “I am very excited that now I'm coming out with my first children's album in all of those 50 years. I'm proudest of all that all of the proceeds from this CD will go to the Imagination Library.”
Parton founded the Imagination Library in her hometown of Sevierville, Tenn., in 1996. Since then, the program has expanded to provide new, age appropriate books monthly to more than 1 million children in four countries.