Dolly Parton Opens Dollywood for the 2019 Season With New Additions [Photo Gallery]

Dolly Parton Opens Dollywood for the 2019 Season With New Additions [Photo Gallery]

Dolly Parton visited Dollywood on March 15 and 16 to help kick off the 2019 season at the theme park that has featured her name for more than 30 years.

Dolly officially opened the season with the annual Festival of Nations (March 16–April 14), which highlights musical cultures from around the world. In addition to new headliners Lizt Alfonso Dance Cuba and Drumstruck, this year’s acts include Invaders Steel Orchestra, Atahualpa, De Temps Antan and Les Grand Hurleurs.

The Festival of Nation’s Passport to Food—helmed by Cuban culinary celebrity Chef Pepin—will showcase dishes from Trinidad, Canada, South Korea, Cuba, Ecuador and more.

In addition to performing, Dolly announced that the park’s $37-million expansion—Wildwood Grove—will open May 10 and 11. Dolly will return to Pigeon Forge this spring for the official ceremony.

Wildwood Grove will feature 11 new experiences for guests, including a new restaurant, climbing structure and roller coaster called the Dragonflier.

“This area is going to give families a place to explore, play and imagine together—but more importantly—it’s a place where they can spend more time together,” Dolly said. “I believe everyone has a song in their heart that needs to be set free. Wildwood Grove will be a place where families can learn together about what their heart song truly is.”

Upcoming Dollywood Events

  • Dollywood’s Festival of Nations: March 16–April 14
  • Barbeque & Bluegrass Festival: May 24–June 2
  • Summer Celebration: June 22–Aug. 4
  • Harvest Festival: Sept. 27–Nov. 2
  • Smoky Mountain Christmas: Nov. 9–Jan. 4

Check out our photo gallery from opening weekend of the Festival of Nations, courtesy of photographer Curtis Hilbun, AFF-USA.com.

photos by Curtis Hilbun, AFF-USA.com

Daily Dose

Michael Ray Honors His Grandma Penny with a Tattoo

Michael Ray Honors His Grandma Penny with a Tattoo

When you’re getting a permanent addition to you body, you want to make sure it means something, right?

Michael Ray has several tattoos, but each one has a personal connection to his life, “All my tattoos are either family based, religious based, or music based.”

He shares the story of one of his tattoos that honors his late grandmother, “So, my grandma, Penny, she passed away a couple of years ago, and I have a tattoo memory of my grandfather, and I wanted a tattoo for her. Her nickname was Penny, and I got a penny with my Grandmother’s birth year, 1942, on the date, on the inside of my arm.”

If he could change one thing about the tattoo…it would just be WHEN he got it. Turns out Michael got it on a show day, and it being on his arm, well, Michael admits “I started playing guitar that night…for the show, and it hurt like hell.”

But even with that night of pain Michael proudly says “it’s probably my favorite tattoo.”

 

Photo Credit: Sean Hagwell