Awards & Milestones

Dolly Parton To Be Inducted Into East Tennessee Writers Hall Of Fame

Published July 23, 2019 / Last Updated July 23, 2019

Team Dolly

Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton.

Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons
Senior Editor - Amanda Webb
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman

Dolly Parton will be inducted into the East Tennessee Writers Hall Of Fame sponsored by Friends of Literacy.

On Friday, September 20, sixteen prominent writers will be inducted into the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame. This year’s awards gala will be at the Historic Southern Railway Station. Friends of Literacy has sponsored the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame for 16 years and is proud to honor the significant contributions of local writers to the culture and history of the region.

Inductees include Michael Lofaro (Lifetime Achievement), Elizabeth Genovise (Fiction), Kim Trevathan (Nonfiction), Rhea Carmon (Poetry), Paul Harrill (Screenwriting), Jamie Satterfield (Journalism), Alan Sherrod (Social Media), and Karen E. Reynolds (Songwriting). Accepting their awards by video will be Rick Yancey (Young Adult Literature) and Dolly Parton (Outstanding Contribution to East Tennessee Culture and Literacy).

Additionally, six East Tennessee writers are being inducted posthumously: Kim Williams (Songwriting), Rikki Hall (Journalism), Anne Wetzell Armstrong (Fiction), Sarah Booth Conroy (Nonfiction), Bert Vincent (Nonfiction), and George Washington Harris (Lifetime Achievement). The evening will also include a presentation by a Friends of Literacy student.

Event Sponsors

Sponsors for this year’s event include 21st Mortgage Corporation, WNOX Radio, Knoxville News Sentinel, Pilot Flying J, KPMG, LHP Capital, and Herron-Connell Insurance.

Purchase Tickets

Tickets go on sale August 1. Individual tickets are $100 each and include dinner and cash bar. Tables are $1,000 each and include a VIP meet and greet with the writers. Tickets may be purchased online at FriendsofLiteracy.org or ETWritersHOF.org, or by phone at 865-549-7007.

About Friends Of Literacy

Friends of Literacy is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve adult literacy and education in East Tennessee. Proceeds from the gala support those programs.

 

Team DollyDolly Parton To Be Inducted Into East Tennessee Writers Hall Of Fame

Hallmark Channel Announces “Christmas At Dollywood,” Starring Danica McKellar

Published July 12, 2019 / Last Updated July 12, 2019

Team Dolly

Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton.

Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons
Senior Editor - Amanda Webb
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman

Production to begin on Hallmark Channel’s “Christmas At Dollywood,” Starring Danica McKellar with a special appearance by Country Music legend and American Treasure, Dolly Parton

A Must-See Film, In a Must-See Place, Just in Time for Hallmark Channel’s Ratings-Winning 10th Anniversary of COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS

Hallmark Channel announces Danica McKellar, is set as the lead of the World Premiere Original Movie, “Christmas At Dollywood,” premiering in December as part of the network’s 10th Anniversary salute to its #1-rated COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS program event. Making a special appearance in the film is Dollywood’s beloved namesake, country music legend and American treasure, Dolly Parton. The film commences principal photography at the theme park in November.

In “Christmas At Dollywood,” Rachel Lewis (McKellar) is a single mom and award-winning Broadway producer who learns investors have mismanaged her latest theatrical – a holiday extravaganza – into bankruptcy, forcing the show to close before it opens. Rachel is dismayed, but not for long, as her friend calls from Tennessee to let her know there is an opportunity for a seasoned pro to produce a show for the 20th anniversary of the award-winning Smoky Mountain Christmas festival at Dollywood. One caveat, Rachel learns this is a co-production with Luke Hakman, entertainment director for Dollywood.

Luke is a long-time Dollywood employee who sees the holiday show as key to him becoming the park’s next GM. With nine-year-old daughter Amy in tow, Rachel leaves New York City to return to her Appalachian mountain roots. Every night as Rachel tucks Amy into bed, she tells the child a new ADVENTURES OF AMY story, a collection of personal mother-daughter bedtime stories Rachel hopes to author someday. One night, Rachel tells Amy about a little girl following Santa Claus on his route. Using the stars as her guide, fantasy Amy travels with Santa to the Northern Lights. Rachel tells her child the lights are so magical and beautiful that Amy can always look to the night sky to find her way home. Is this an idea for the new Dollywood show? Rachel thinks so, though she will have to convince a skeptical Luke who has his own vision of success. As the pair meets in the middle to please the boss, little do Rachel and Luke realize love lurks in all the unexpected places because this isn’t the Great White Way. Or Hollywood. This is Dollywood!

“Dolly Parton is a bright light who is rich in spirit, kindness, and love. ‘Christmas At Dollywood’ features Danica McKellar in a story about finding love and new beginnings in the most familiar place — home. A holiday movie set in a winter wonderland like Dollywood exemplifies the quality of the talent, storytelling, and filmmaking that has made COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS the #1 program event on television for ten years,” said Michelle Vicary, Executive Vice President, Programming & Publicity, Crown Media Family Networks.

Danica McKellar and Dolly Parton share a special connection to children’s literacy: both are successful authors and two of Danica’s books can be found in Dolly’s world-renowned Imagination Library.

“Christmas At Dollywood” is written by Nina Weinman. Executive Producers are Alan Ett and Bruce Hendricks.

Team DollyHallmark Channel Announces “Christmas At Dollywood,” Starring Danica McKellar

Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show’s Season Celebrates Grand Opening In Pigeon Forge

Published June 7, 2019 / Last Updated June 7, 2019

Team Dolly

Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton.

Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons
Senior Editor - Amanda Webb
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman

Dolly Parton celebrates Grand Opening at Pirates Voyage in Pigeon Forge, TN!

The swashbuckling adventure that is Pirates Voyage officially opened during a mid-day media event today in Pigeon Forge, with Dolly Parton on hand to introduce the thrilling dinner and show. She shared her excitement about her latest entertainment offering for families.

In addition to the initial investment in the property, the Pirates Voyage construction phase for the new show was $9 million, bringing the investment in the property to a total of $28 million. The dinner and show truly is an unbelievable adventure with sword fights, cannons and pirates scaling high above two pirate ships fighting to win Davy Jones’ coveted sunken treasure. A rowdy crew of characters combines heroics and high-flying fun that will have guests cheering and experiencing thrills around every corner in an epic battle for lost treasure on land, on deck, and in the water of the show’s 15-foot-deep indoor lagoon.

Since its soft opening on May 24, the crew has performed three sold-out shows every day with extraordinary guest feedback.

“Our guests have been telling us that Pirates Voyage is unlike any other family fun attraction they have experienced,” said Leah Hicks, Director of Sales & Marketing for Pirates Voyage. “Where else can families have fun together creating memories of a lifetime – with ship-to-ship battles, cannons blazing, acrobatics and a delicious feast? It’s perfect for swashbucklers, pirates and mermaids, and the food alone makes the show one-of-a-kind!”

The adventure actually begins in the Pirates Village, where younger swashbucklers as well as parents and grandparents can “Join the Crew” and be transformed into mermaids and pirates before the main show begins. The four-course pirate feast straight from Captain Blackbeard’s galley makes Pirates Voyage the most unique place to eat in the Smokies. The meal begins with voyager creamy vegetable soup and a buccaneer biscuit. The feast fit for a pirate continues with cracklin’ pan-fried chicken, a bone-in pork chop, matey’s mac ‘n’ cheese, and Jolly Roger sweet potato souffle. Walk the plank peach turnover and unlimited Coca-Cola® products, tea or coffee complete the meal. Vegetarian and gluten-free meals are available by request.

 

 

Visit Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show To See Show Dates And Times

Team DollyPirates Voyage Dinner & Show’s Season Celebrates Grand Opening In Pigeon Forge

Imagination Library Documentary To Feature Actress & Author Danica McKellar

Published May 16, 2019 / Last Updated May 16, 2019

Team Dolly

Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton.

Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons
Senior Editor - Amanda Webb
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman

Danica McKellar Records Narration For Upcoming Imagination Library Documentary

Dolly is pleased to announce that Danica McKellar will narrate the upcoming documentary, “The Library that Dolly Built.” The documentary, directed by Nick Geidner and written by Abby Bower, explores the journey of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library from a local program to an international partnership that has now gifted over 115 million books. Dolly said,

“I was thrilled that Danica agreed to narrate our documentary. She is the perfect person to help us tell our story. She is very talented and she has such a giving heart.”

Danica is an actress, mathematics writer and education advocate. Her successful acting career includes her role as Winnie Cooper on “The Wonder Years,” several notable voiceovers for animated movies and a number of well-received movies on the Hallmark Channel. Danica said,

“I’ve admired Dolly Parton since childhood, and even more so upon learning of her Imagination Library. I can’t wait for the world to learn more about the Imagination Library through this beautiful documentary, and I couldn’t be prouder to narrate it.”

In addition to her acting work, McKellar has written eight books, all encouraging children, especially young girls, to have confidence and success in mathematics. Her book, “Goodnight, Numbers,” is currently included in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

 

Dolly Parton and Dollywood Sponsored NASCAR at BMS Photo Credit: Bristol Herald Courier, David Crigger.
Dolly Parton and Dollywood Sponsored NASCAR at BMS Photo Credit: Bristol Herald Courier, David Crigger.

Photo Credit: Nick Geidner

 

“The Library That Dolly Built”

“The Library That Dolly Built” is a feature-length documentary, covering the history, impact and future of America’s largest non-governmental children’s literacy program. It features the music of Dolly Parton and includes original interviews with recipients of the books, parents, policy makers, authors, program organizers, and the legend herself, Dolly Parton. With this film, we hope to celebrate one of Tennessee’s greatest exports, the Imagination Library, shine a light on the importance of children’s literacy and put a human face on the many people who make DPIL happen.

Land Grant Films

“The Library That Dolly Built” is being produced by Land Grant Films, a documentary production program housed in the School of Journalism and Electronic Media at the University of Tennessee. Land Grant Film’s mission is to provide University of Tennessee students with real-world experience in documentary storytelling while providing local non-profit organizations with videos assets that can be used to raise awareness and funds. Land Grant Films’ documentaries have been aired on Knoxville’s NBC and PBS affiliates, screened in film festivals, and won numerous awards. All of our films are created by University of Tennessee students or involve students in key crew positions. The Library That Dolly Built was directed by journalism professor Nick Geidner, edited by video instructor Clinton Elmore, and crewed by 15 University of Tennessee students.

Team DollyImagination Library Documentary To Feature Actress & Author Danica McKellar

Dolly Parton Opens Wildwood Grove At Dollywood

Published May 11, 2019 / Last Updated May 11, 2019

Team Dolly

Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton.

Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons
Senior Editor - Amanda Webb
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman

Dollywood officially opens the largest expansion in park history as guests experience $37 million Wildwood Grove.

Dollywood again solidified its place among the nation’s premier family destinations as Dolly Parton officially opened Wildwood Grove, the largest expansion in park history. Dolly opened the fascinating new land to visitors ready to enjoy its 11 thrilling new experiences. During an early morning media event, she shared the inspiration and dreams that led to the creation of Wildwood Grove, calling the area the new standard for Dollywood.

At $37 million, Wildwood Grove is Dollywood theme park’s largest capital investment ever and is the first new area added to Dollywood since Wilderness Pass in 2008. The biggest adventure in Dollywood’s history provides guests of all sizes unique experiences to enjoy together as a family.

“When I was a little girl growing up in the hills of the Smoky Mountains, I’d often let my imagination just run away—something I still do now—dreaming these big dreams about what it’d be like to venture off with a family of bears in to the woods or how fun it would be to hitch a ride with the butterflies and dragonflies,” Parton said. “All us kids would splash and play in the creeks and ponds around home and have these daydreams about the world around us, and that’s what’s so special about Wildwood Grove. We’ve been able to create a new area to allow families to experience some of those exact dreams we all had when we were little.

“Wildwood Grove is so special to me because so many of the same daydreams and imaginations from my childhood have now found a perfect place at my Dollywood. I hope families will enjoy laughing, playing and exploring together in this great new place that truly does feel like home for me.”

The Dollywood Company President Craig Ross explained the significance of the newest addition to the storied theme park.

“Without doubt, this is one of the most exciting days in the history of our company,” Ross explained. “It is rare in our industry that a park adds a completely new land in its entirety, and as we continue to grow and set attendance records, we needed to add more area to give guests more room to spread out and explore. Additionally, we were able to take many of Dolly’s childhood dreams and create experiences that are uniquely Smoky Mountain-themed and really help tell the story of this beautiful area.

“I know our guests will be thrilled with the great diversity of attractions they will be able to enjoy when they visit Wildwood Grove. We’re extremely proud of the fact that there are experiences here that every member of the family will love and enjoy.”

 

 

Photo Credits: Curtis Hilbun

After stepping into Wildwood Grove, imagination takes flight, delivering explorers on a journey of discovery in this breathtaking area. Remarkable sights await visitors throughout the land. In the distance, the breathtaking Wildwood Tree catches the eye as lively butterflies shimmer in the daylight. Families laugh and play, taking rides inside giant acorns at Treetop Tower and aboard a thrilling “leaf boat” on the Great Tree Swing.

Even the bears are friendly in Wildwood Grove, as they let guests meander with them through their own natural habitat at the Black Bear Trail. If smaller guests need a quick break, Hidden Hollow contains a 4,000 sq. ft. climate-controlled area with climbing structures, slides and games where kids and their parents can enjoy play time full of exploration.

Nearby, families scream with delight as they take a ride with Tennessee’s state symbol—the mockingbird—in an experience they control themselves at The Mad Mockingbird. Others dip and dart through geysers while suspended from dragonflies on the area’s signature ride attraction, Dragonflier.

At the heart of it all is The Wildwood Tree. This focal point is a beacon for all, drawing families to watch the butterflies play in its leafy canopy, while encouraging others to splash and play in the winding creek that flows at its base. As the daylight fades, families can bask in a colorful kaleidoscope of summer fun as the area glows to life.

Wildwood Grove also features new merchandise and dining options for park guests. Till & Harvest, which is expected to open around Memorial Day, provides the perfect blend of Smoky Mountain flavors and fresh Mexican cuisine. The menu features a variety of build-your-own style entrees such as burritos, bowls, salads and nachos all filled with wood-fired meats, fresh vegetables and flavorful sauces. Along with the Smoky Mountain Mexican flavors, Till & Harvest also provides a spacious open-air patio for families to enjoy the sights and sounds of Wildwood Grove while they enjoy their meal.

Mountain Grove Merchants is the one-stop-shop for guests looking for the perfect gift or souvenir to celebrate their adventure in Wildwood Grove.

Nearly $1 million has been invested in Wildwood Grove’s landscaping, with more than 400 trees and 2,300 shrubs creating a beautiful, yet decidedly natural atmosphere to enjoy. As the landscaping continues to mature, the visual appeal of the area will only increase.

Each day of exploration in Wildwood Grove is an experience families don’t want to miss. These merry memory making moments are certain to become a treasured part of every family’s visit.

Wildwood Grove Facts

The Wildwood Tree comes to life each evening during a unique nighttime experience which begins June 15. Each season of the year features a spectacular new experience for guests. The Wildwood Tree features nearly 650 lighted butterflies (orange, blue, yellow, pink and multi-colored) and almost 9000 leaves.

  • Dragonflier— This thrilling suspended roller coaster lets guests soar with a dragonfly as it dips and darts along the gushing geysers and lush landscape of Wildwood Grove. (Vekoma 453m suspended coaster) (1486 ft. in length)
  • Black Bear Trail— Riders hop on the back of these friendly bears for a spirited trek through their natural habitat. (Metallbau Emmeln Pony Trek)
  • Great Tree Swing— Guests aboard this thrilling “leaf boat” swing back and forth just like a leaf falling from a giant sycamore tree. (Zamperla Galleon)
  • Treetop Tower— This family tower gives guests a sky-high view of Wildwood Grove as they soar nearly 40 feet in the air. Riders, seated inside giant acorns, spin around the top of a tall oak tree before gently drifting back to the grove floor. (Zamperla Samba Tower)
  • The Mad Mockingbird— Tennessee’s state bird—the mockingbird—gives visitors a lift as it flies in a high speed circle around a tall tree. Riders control their ride experience by moving a sail as the birds rush above the ground. (Larson Flying Scooter)
  • Frogs & Fireflies— Adventurous guests can hop aboard one of these friendly frogs as they chase each other in a spirited race around the lily pad. (Zamperla Jump Around)
  • Hidden Hollow— This 4,000 sq. ft., climate-controlled area allows families to explore and play in an indoor environment.

Wildwood Creek features pop jets, splashing pools and more wet play activities, while the dry play area at Wildwood Creek features “music instruments” for guests to enjoy.

Three new costume characters call Wildwood Grove home. Flit and Flutter serve as Wildwood Grove’s ambassadors and Benjamin Bear loves to make new friends. Characters will have scheduled opportunities to meet guests each day.

For more information about Wildwood Grove or Dollywood’s 2019 season, please visit Dollywood.com or call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD.

Team DollyDolly Parton Opens Wildwood Grove At Dollywood