Hooray for Dollywood!

I was reminded of this singular 150-acre theme park when the other day the subject came up in coversation of my long-ago writing assignment to cover Pigeon Forge, near Knoxville and the Great Smoky Mountains. It was an eerie experience sometimes - especially when it came to the Dixie Stampede dinner show, including hoop-skirted Southern belles warbling on about the good ol' plantation days and cheesy Civil War mock battles fought on ostriches. And the the audience, nary a non-white face to be seen. Then many years later, in 2018, came the announcement  that the name would be changed to simply Dolly Parton's Stampede (because, Dolly said, "as soon as you realize that it's a problem you should fix it. Don't be a dumbass. That's where my heart is. I would never dream of hurting anybody on purpose." Love me some Dolly Parton - her music, her pro-gay/diversity attitude, everything.

Anyway, these days a somewhat (I'm assuming) more diverse Dollywood hosts nearly 3 million visitors a year, and in addition to rides and shows, also features traditional crafts and music of the Smokies, and it's also the site of the Southern Gospel Museum and Hall of Fame.


Brian Stansberry


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