25th Annual Dolly Parton Homecoming Parade
A Wish Come True!!!
On each trip to Pigeon Forge, the little divas ask, “Will we get to see Dolly Parton?” They know of her from seeing her on episodes of Hannah Montana and know that Dollywood is named after her. Some of their favorite stops at Dollywood are the Chasing Rainbows museum which retells significant parts of her life as well as touring her old tour bus. In their eyes, she too is a diva!!!
Well on our spring trip to Pigeon Forge, their wish came true!!! Pigeon Forge hosts an annual Homecoming Parade to celebrate her contributions to the city. The parade is part of Springfest which runs from March to June each year. This year’s parade was special as it was the 25th anniversary of Dollywood. The theme was “Celebrate the Dreamer in You.” Dolly has the first float in the parade and of course, it was beautifully decorated.
Dolly’s entrance and boarding of her float is much anticipated by the parade attendees. We happened to be lucky enough to be behind the scenes and were within feet of her as the black SUV pulled up near her float and she exited. She looked stunning in her glittery outfit complete with butterfly wings that matched the butterflies and colors on her float. Jellybean and Peanut stood in awe as they watched her taking pictures with prominent city officials. Peanut caught Ms. Dolly’s attention and asked if she and Jellybean could take a picture with her. Ms. Dolly’s response was “Well, honey, I think we could get to that.” She continued on with her picture taking and with her busyness, we were not expecting her to remember a picture with the little divas. However, even with her people trying to rush her off, Ms Dolly stopped and called the little divas over!!! Peanut shyly made her way over but Jellybean rushed over. They stood right up next to her with big smiles glowing on their faces. Mom and Dad both were quickly snapping pictures with the camera and with phones so that we didn’t miss this moment!! After all of the picture taking was complete, Dolly boarded her float with other members of her family. She was laughing and joking as her wings kept getting in the way of her getting into her seat underneath a big umbrella. What a truly genuine and personable lady she is!!!!
The parade was ready to begin and mom was so impressed as it was officially kicked off by an opening prayer. Dolly’s float entered in behind a local color guard group, city officials, and the Sevier County High School Band. Over 100+ other entries followed behind her. The entries included area attractions/businesses, area marching bands, multiple area dance and twirling groups, as well as church groups and Shriner groups. There were some fancy old cars, horses, and even some old tractors. The route covered about 2.5 miles. Jellybean and Peanut were well entertained for the hour and a half that it took for all the entries to make it onto the parade route.
So, wishes came true on this trip for the little divas!!! It is truly evident that the city of Pigeon Forge loves Dolly Parton and she loves it. This was an experience our family will not soon forget!!