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Pirates Voyage Hosts 13th Annual Imagination Library Kid’s Festival

Published May 22, 2017 / Last Updated May 23, 2017

Huge crowd at 13th Annual Imagination Library Kid’s Festival at Pirates Voyage in Myrtle Beach, SC

The crew at Pirates Voyage wants to say thank you to everyone for another great Imagination Library Kid’s Festival!

This year’s event drew an estimated crowd of over 7,000! At one point, our local police officers had to leave their booth to help direct traffic into the event. We are thankful they were happy to help out.

Special thanks to all the volunteers for their many hours of service. And thank you to our vendors for their wonderful booths and fun activities. We know Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library means as much to you as it does to us!

The Imagination Library in South Carolina serves over 36,000 registered children. Pirates Voyage is the local affiliate here in Horry County where 7,576 registered children receive one free book each month.

If you live in Horry County, SC and have a child under five years old, visit the Imagination Library website to register.

Imagination Library Kid's Festival at Pirates Voyage in Myrtle Beach, SC Imagination Library Kid's Festival at Pirates Voyage in Myrtle Beach, SC

About Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

Founded in 1995, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a book gifting organization that currently mails over one million free books each month to children in Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and the United States. Each month, the program mails specially selected, high-quality, age-appropriate books to registered children from birth until they start Kindergarten in participating communities. Dolly envisioned creating a lifelong love of reading in children, preparing them for school and inspiring them to dream. Recent studies suggest participation in the Imagination Library is positively and significantly associated with higher measures of early language and math development. Penguin Random House is the exclusive publisher for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

Team DollyPirates Voyage Hosts 13th Annual Imagination Library Kid’s Festival

Video: Dollywood’s TailSpin Racer

Published May 19, 2017 / Last Updated May 19, 2017

Dollywood’s Splash Country kicks off 17th season with a five-story tall racing slide complex and other park upgrades!

As the days grow longer and the sun a little warmer, lifeguards at Dollywood’s Splash Country become more eager to open the gates for another season of Smoky Mountain water park fun.

In 2017, the park will celebrate its 17th season by debuting its new family racing slide, TailSpin Racer! Also, new this year visitors will notice attraction upgrades, new parking options and a new calming area. In addition, Dollywood’s Splash Country also has newly-recognized Platinum Award-winning lifeguards.

TailSpin Racer is a five-story slide complex that offers six people the opportunity to race each other in a thrilling rush. From its unique spiraling, high-speed AquaTubes to its splashdown finish, it’s an all-out competition to see who can get to the end first. TailSpin Racer matches riders in a head-to-head race with the fun of a traditional mat racer-style slide and the tight turns and daring drops of an enclosed slide. Guests will immediately spot the new attraction near the front of the water park, which only adds to the excitement. Dollywood’s Splash Country General Manager Mike Brown said,

“TailSpin Racer is our first new attraction since we opened our water coaster, RiverRush. This is something our guests have been asking for and we are thrilled that we’re delivering a family slide that gives six people the chance to race at the same time.”

Award-Winning Lifeguards

Dollywood’s Splash Country also is thrilled to welcome back its team of lifeguards which recently earned the prestigious Platinum International Safety Award from Ellis & Associates. These water park guards are the only team in the state of Tennessee to receive this recognition. Dollywood’s Splash Country is independently audited by a third party several times each season. E&A, a firm specializing in international aquatic safety and risk management, presented the award. In 2016, E&A had 355 clients who qualified for an award; only 10% earned the Platinum Award. Both Dollywood’s Splash Country and Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort lifeguards were honored with Platinum for their vigilance in guarding the water. Brown commented,

“Of all the things we’re proud of at our water park, our lifeguards deserve the highest praise. Our guests trust us to keep their families safe as they splash and play with us; our guards take their roles seriously. We expect them to be alert and aware of everything happening in their zones. They do that, and more. We have the best lifeguards in the business.”

More Upgrades

Additionally, Dollywood’s Splash Country guests can look forward to several upgrades throughout the park. Refreshing upgrades sure to enhance guest’s comfort include the new option of Preferred Parking, misters on walkways to cool feet, and new equipment to help streamline food purchases. And, based on the response to Dollywood’s calming room, Dollywood’s Splash Country will offer a new calming area for guests who experience sensory overload. The area provides an opportunity for individuals to take a break in a private area of the park.

Dollywood’s Splash Country opened Saturday, May 13 with daily operation beginning on Saturday, May 20. Daily operation continues through Sunday, Aug. 13. The park opens Aug. 15 and 17 and on weekends through Labor Day weekend until Sept. 4.

Visit Dollywood’s Splash Country

Team DollyVideo: Dollywood’s TailSpin Racer

Dolly Parton’s Tribute To Don Warden At Dollywood

Published May 10, 2017 / Last Updated May 10, 2017

Don Warden, Dolly Parton’s “Mr. Everything,” honored with a touching tribute at Dollywood.

All photos courtesy of Curtis Hilbun

In a packed house at Dollywood’s My People Theatre, Dolly Parton honored the life and legacy of Don Warden, the man she called her “Mr. Everything.” A plaque was placed on the side of Dolly’s tour bus, which now sits outside the theater in Dollywood. It reads, “In celebration of Don Warden, Mentor, Musician, Manager and Mr. Everything. I will Always Love You, Dolly.” In addition, a star was placed at the entrance of the bus. It reads, “Don Warden Dolly’s #1 Angel.”

The house band opened the tribute with the song, “Satisfied Mind.” In her opening remarks, Dolly said,

“If there was one person who would have left this world with a satisfied mind it was Don Warden.”

Mr. Everything

Dolly called Don her “Mr. Everything” because he literally did a little bit of everything for her career. When Dolly exited “The Porter Wagoner Show” Don left his position there to stay on with Dolly. He was a renowned steel guitar player and tenor singer with years of experience. In addition to his on-stage talent, Don was, in Dolly’s words, “a man of many colors.” Dolly said,

“Don was one of those people who you were lucky if you got to know one of those people. There was nothing that Don Warden could not do.”

As manager, Don handled the band accounts, promoted shows, coordinated merchandise sales and really anything that needed to be done. On the road, Don was not only the bus driver he was also the mechanic. He also had a knack for buying and renovating tour buses which he did for years for Dolly and before that for Porter Wagoner.

Warden Family

During the tribute, Dolly invited Don’s widow Anne to the stage along with her son Charlie, his wife and their children. She recognized Anne’s contributions to Don’s career as well as her own. Anne was credited for designing all of Dolly’s merchandise during the time Don was her manager. Dolly also gave her accolades for her work at the Tennessee Mountain Home. Anne worked in tandem with Dolly’s brother Bobby on the renovations and interior design of the Parton family home. In addition, Anne was also instrumental in the launch of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Dolly said,

“Together, Don and Anne were the perfect team.”

In her closing remarks, Dolly turned to Anne, his son Charlie and the entire Warden family and said,

“Thanks for sharing him with us.”

Don Warden (March 27, 1929 – March 11, 2017) was 87 years young.

Team DollyDolly Parton’s Tribute To Don Warden At Dollywood

Smoky Mountain Pride Celebrated at Annual Homecoming Parade

Published May 10, 2017 / Last Updated May 10, 2017

Cooler temperatures could not stop the Smoky Mountain spirit on Parade Day in Pigeon Forge, TN.

All photos courtesy of Curtis Hilbun

On Friday, May 5, Grand Marshal and hometown girl, Dolly Parton, led the 32nd Annual Dolly Homecoming Parade. She waved to the crowd lining the route down the Parkway. This year she sat atop a Dollywood-sponsored float celebrating the Great Smoky Mountains. The float was dedicated to those she affectionately calls “my people” with #SomeplaceSpecial and the words “Mountain Tough.”

Dixie Stampede debuted their special 30th Anniversary float. The dinner attraction is celebrating their 30th season in Pigeon Forge, TN this year. The season marks the return of the Thundering Longhorns, a fan favorite, to the main show.

Additionally, Pigeon Forge’s newest show, Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Adventures made their first appearance in the parade. The show opened this spring. Dolly Parton and resident storyteller AppleJack tell this thrilling story. Visitors can expect music, laughter, edge-of-your-seat special effects and thrilling specialty acts. The show features competitions, romance and much more.

The parade also featured a host of elaborately decorated floats from some of the area’s most popular attractions. Music filled the air from marching bands. Veteran groups proudly walked the route and entertainers of all varieties brought smiles and laughter to everyone in attendance.

The annual event draws crowds upwards of 50,000 people. Folks travel from near and far for the chance to experience the excitement and to welcome Dolly home.

Team DollySmoky Mountain Pride Celebrated at Annual Homecoming Parade

Dolly Parton Covers “The Story” On War Child Benefit Album

Published May 8, 2017 / Last Updated May 8, 2017

Dolly Parton joins Adele, Pearl Jam, Kris Kristofferson and more on Brandi Carlile’s album, “Cover Stories” benefiting War Child UK.

Dolly joins 13 other artists on a new album to support the humanitarian aid efforts of War Child UK. Due to the generosity of everyone involved, 100 % of album sales will go directly to the cause.

Brandi Carlile is a soulful American singer/songwriter. She released her self-titled album in 2005 followed by “The Story” in 2007. As a well-respected songwriter, Brandi is dedicated to lending her talents and connections to a cause much greater than herself. The album, “Cover Stories” features 14 artists, all sharing in Brandi’s passion for children impacted by world conflicts.

Track List

  • “Late Morning Lullaby” – Shovels & Rope
  • “The Story” – Dolly Parton
  • “Turpentine” – Kris Kristofferson
  • “My Song” – Old Crow Medicine Show
  • “Wasted” – Jim James
  • “Have You Ever” – The Avett Brothers
  • “Josephine” – Anderson East
  • “Losing Heart” – The Secret Sisters
  • “Cannonball” – The Indigo Girls
  • “Until I Die” – Torres
  • “Downpour” – Margo Price
  • “Shadow On The Wall” – Ruby Amanfu
  • “Again Today” – Pearl Jam
  • “Hiding My Heart” – Adele

Purchase “Cover Stories” Now Available and support War Child UK’s efforts to protect, educate and stand up for the rights of children in war.

“What we do to help the children of the world says everything about the humanity of our generation.” –Brandi Carlile

Learn More About War Child

Team DollyDolly Parton Covers “The Story” On War Child Benefit Album