Dollywood, Dolly Parton’s theme park in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, is a magical place, especially during the holidays. During the entire month of December, the park was alive with holiday cheer. A steady stream of down home mountain music helped visitors celebrate the season. Festive lights adorned each building, creating a Christmas-themed fantasia.
Nestled in the heart of the Smokies, the natural beauty of the surroundings transports visitors back to a bygone era. With all the attractions, music, and good food, it’s impossible not to get caught up in the spirit of family-oriented fun. There’s also the whacky allure of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, the surrounding towns, with their overstuffed main streets that would make any tourist want to snap a picture.
In 2010, the park, which sees some 2.5 million visitors per year, celebrated it’s 25th anniversary. Parton has expressed an interest in creating other Dollywoods in different parts of the country. Parton became involved with the park, then known as Rebel Railroad, in 1986, in an effort to give back to her community by providing a family-friendly entertainment center which could create and sustain local jobs. In November, Dollywood earned the Liseberg Applause Award, the top prize in the industry, for Best Theme Park.
“Of course, Walt Disney became successful because he had Mickey Mouse who has two big ears,” joked Parton during the acceptance speech. “So I figured I could be successful with Dollywood with my two big partners.” The country music icon plans to tour behind a new album this summer. She’ll receive a Lifetime Achievement Award, alongside the Ramones, Julie Andrews, and The Kingston Trio, at the Grammys on February 13.