The world’s most famous Smoky Mountain native is celebrating her birthday! Dolly Parton turns 71 years old today – although she certainly doesn’t look like a typical septuagenarian. While most people tend to slow down as they age, Dolly seems to be doing the opposite. In 2016, Dolly had one of her busiest and most successful years ever. To mark the country star’s birthday, Visit My Smokies has put together a quick recap of some of the biggest personal and professional moments for Dolly Parton in the past year.
Dolly Parton’s Lumberjack Adventure Opens in Pigeon Forge
In May of 2016, Dolly opened a new dinner theater in Pigeon Forge: Dolly Parton’s Lumberjack Adventure. This thrilling show features impressive lumberjack competitions, dazzling acrobatics, high-jumping dogs, and tasty campfire-style meals. Like everything Dolly touches, the Lumberjack Adventure was an instant success and has quickly established itself as one of the must-see shows in the Smokies. When Dolly came to Pigeon Forge her annual parade down the Parkway, she even wore a special lumberjack outfit to promote the show!
Dolly and Carl Dean Celebrate Their 50th Wedding Anniversary
The month of May also marked 50 years of marriage for Dolly and her husband Carl Dean. To celebrate the occasion, the couple renewed their vows in a private ceremony with friends and family at their home outside of Nashville, TN. Dolly and Carl met in 1964 on the first day that Parton moved to the Music City. Carl Dean has said that the instant he saw Dolly, his first thought was “I’m gonna marry that girl”.
Dolly Answers Questions from Fans of Visit My Smokies
The highlight of our year was having Dolly stop by Visit My Smokies to answer questions from our fans on social media! Hundreds of people submitted questions with the #AskDollyVMS, and Dolly gave thoughtful and funny responses to the top six questions. You can see Dolly’s interview with Visit My Smokies in the video below:
Dolly Releases Brand New “Pure & Simple” Album
Fans of Dolly’s music were thrilled when the Queen of Country released her new “Pure & Simple” album in August. With its stripped down acoustic arrangements, this charming album climbed the charts and landed Parton her first No. 1 record since 1991. The album also spawned Dolly’s biggest tour in 25 years, with stops all across the U.S. and Canada.
Dolly is Honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the CMAs
At the 50th Annual CMA Awards, Dolly Parton was the guest of honor. During the climax of the show, Parton was presented with the “Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award” in recognition of her incredible career and philanthropic efforts. When Dolly appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live before the CMAs, Kimmel quipped, “I feel like Willie Nelson could just as easily be getting the ‘Dolly Parton Lifetime Achievement Award’”!
The “Christmas of Many Colors” TV Movie Premieres
Dolly Parton’s 2015 TV movie “Coat of Many Colors” was such a big hit that NBC green-lit a sequel! At the end of November, “Christmas of Many Colors” premiered to huge ratings. To promote the movie, Dolly held a special “Hollywood at Dollywood” event, where the stars of the film walked the red carpet at the theme park.
Dolly Raises Millions for Wildfire Victims with “Smoky Mountain Rise” Telethon
When the people of Sevier County needed help, it didn’t take long for Dolly to come to the rescue! After the wildfires in the Smoky Mountains, Parton quickly established the My People Fund to help financially support families who lost their homes. To raise money for the charity, Dolly organized the “Smoky Mountain Rise” telethon, which featured some of the biggest names in country music. The telethon raised $9 million for Sevier County residents affected by the fires.
As you can see, 2016 was quite a year for Dolly Parton, and we can’t wait to see everything she accomplishes in 2017. Everyone here at Visit My Smokies wishes Dolly a very happy birthday and a wonderful new year!
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