Dollywood opened to season pass holders on Friday and a very special guest was on hand for the event.
Kicking off the twenty-eighth year of the theme park bearing her name, Dolly Parton entertained season pass holders at the park's opening weekend.
The cold weather didn’t seem to stop the Dollywood faithful. "We got a great crowd today. It's too cold to really be out there, but it's going to warm up soon," said Parton.
The Sevier County native is still a huge star after decades in the spotlight. Although the park and Dolly's Splash Country, their nearby water park, have grown into huge attractions, Parton admits that first year she was very anxious. "I can't believe the first time we opened. I was scared to death on that first season that nobody was going to come and it's like a kid at a birthday party when you don't know if your friends are going to show up," she said. "I kept counting the cars and all that and now to look out and have it grown, it's great."
To the delight of her fans, Parton says she still loves to perform; but even with all of her accomplishments Parton says one of the things she is most proud of is the Imagination Library, a program aimed at helping children learn to read by sending free books to their homes. "I think children getting something in the mail early on is something, to make sure somebody shows them how to read, because it's theirs," adds Parton.
This singer, entertainer and businesswoman has accomplished a great deal and doesn't seem to be slowing down any time soon. She hopes the people of the Tri-Cities continue to visit the park in her hometown. “You're my closest neighbors, so thanks for coming!” she said.
Dollywood opens Saturday March 23 and features their Festival of Nations show until April 22. Dollywood’s Splash Country opens Memorial Day and stays open until Labor Day.