Celebrating 30 Years of Dollywood: Love Every Moment

Article by Mary Jo Collins

On Friday, March 20, 2015, Dolly Parton welcomed guests to Dollywood for the kickoff of Dollywood’s 30th Anniversary Celebration. For 30 years, Dollywood has been delighting guests with delicious food, award-winning entertainment, thrills, and lifelong memories for visitors of all ages. Parton said Dollywood has grown from a “humble park into this big family destination that it is now, and it’s focused on bringing families closer together. It always has been. It’s fulfilled so many dreams for me, but we’re still going strong. We ain’t stopping now.” With her signature glitz and glamour, Dolly gave a preview of the celebrations, festivals, and special surprises for the coming milestone year.


“When we opened Dollywood in 1986, I was just hoping we would have people come through the gate that first day,” Dolly Parton said with a laugh. “At the time, even I couldn’t dream of how much folks would love visiting my Dollywood. I truly can’t think of a better way to celebrate our 30th anniversary than by giving our guests these wonderful festivals, a new music event and, of course, the opening of Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort. I’m ready to get started on 30 more years of dreaming!”

Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort

Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort is the culmination of a dream 30 years in the making. When Dollywood opened in 1986, Dolly Parton dreamed of one day offering a place for families to stay and reconnect with one another in her beloved Great Smoky Mountains. This resort is inspired by Dolly Parton’s warm childhood memories of growing up on her family’s front porch in the Smoky Mountains.

Dollywood's DreamMore Resort

Dolly’s dream comes to life August 18, 2015 when Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort welcomes its first guest.  Click here to learn more about the Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and its guest privileges.

Festival of Nations

The 15th anniversary of Dollywood’s Festival of Nations (March 21 – April 20) will provide guests with an international experience which transports them around the world. Countries throughout the globe are represented in this cultural celebration through diverse entertainment showcases, exotic cuisine and authentic
craftsmanship. Exciting traditional displays give park guests a fascinating look into cultures worldwide.


“I’ve been all over this big world, and as an entertainer, I love nothing more than to see truly talented performers from every corner of the globe traveling to Dollywood to perform during my Festival of Nations,” exclaimed Dolly Parton. “I can’t wait to share these fascinating treasures with the families at Dollywood to
celebrate the kick off of our 30th anniversary season!”

Returning by popular demand, Rhythm of the Dance showcases traditional Irish dance and music with state-of-the-art technology. Rhythm of the Dance marries the contemporary and the ancient to present a thrilling and rich performance which highlights the journey of Irish Celts through history.

This year’s Festival of Nations also brings an exciting new entertainment offering to the lineup. Timber!, from Quebec, Canada, co-headlines this year’s entertainment roster and features incredible acrobatic feats inspired by the exploits of the first North American loggers and farmers. To perform this high-energy show, the group utilizes unusual equipment modeled after the forestry resources available on their real-life family farm. Guests can experience this show along with all other Festival of Nations shows with park admission.

Dollywood’s 2015 Festival of Nations lineup also includes the following shows and acts:

Los Pampas Gauchos – This exciting, fast-paced show blends the traditional folk dancing of Argentina with the thrill of modern showmanship and comedy. A unique and entertaining show, Los Pampas Gauchos paints a beautiful visual of this fascinating culture.

Mariachi Divas – Returning after a popular debut in 2013, the Grammy Award winning Mariachi Divas travel to Dollywood’s Festival of Nations from Mexico. This all-female ensemble features a diverse repertoire, all imbued with true Latin flavor. This quartet has made a name for itself on the international music scene.

Invaders Steel Orchestra – Trinidad’s oldest steel drum band, Invaders Steel Orchestra, celebrates 75 years of creating festive music in 2015. As part of their 75th anniversary tour, the group returns to Dollywood to bring the tropical sounds of the Caribbean to the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Alash Ensemble – A new addition to this season’s Festival of Nations, Alash Ensemble are masters of Tuvan throat singing, a remarkable technique for singing multiple pitches at the same time. This impressive group, which comes from the Tuva Republic in southern Siberia, uses traditional Tuvan instruments, along with their own unique style, to create a fresh take on the Tuvan musical heritage.

Atahualpa – Hailing from Ecuador, Atahualpa combines Native Incan instruments with contemporary backups to celebrate the history and culture of the Andes Mountains. Atahualpa’s mix of songs includes contemporary music, South American dance rhythms, as well as the traditional music of the Andes. Through their sharing of music, culture and heritage, Atahualpa hopes to promote brotherhood, friendship and peace to all the people of the world.

Zebra Stelzentheater – German stilt dancers in original costumes perform high-spirited routines while roaming the streets of Dollywood. During Festival of Nations, guests should be on the lookout for fun as this lively troop is always on the search for new friends.

In addition to world-class entertainment offered to guests of Festival of Nations, Dollywood has cooked up some of the most diverse dishes from around the world. A myriad of exotic recipes, available throughout the park, send guests’ taste buds on a trip during each visit to Dollywood’s award-winning food locations.

Fun Awaits Guests During Dollywood’s 30th Anniversary Celebration

Every season brings a completely new experience for Dollywood guests, and the park’s 30th anniversary celebration provides six spectacular festivals and a number of surprises to delight visitors in 2015. From amazing stage shows and award-winning roller coasters to a nightly summer fireworks display and the seven-time winner for Best Christmas Event, guests can enjoy seasons of fun at Dollywood.


Festival of Nations is the first festival (March 21-April 20) which celebrates the traditional music, dance, food, and art of countries from around the globe.

Dollywood’s Barbeque & Bluegrass (May 23- June 7) launches the unofficial start of summer on Memorial Day weekend and combines the tastiest barbeque in the South with the biggest names in bluegrass, including The Earls of Leicester, Del McCoury Band, Balsam Range, Rhonda Vincent and Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen.

Dollywood’s Great American Summer (June 13-Aug. 2) provides families even more of what they already love—time together at Dollywood. This summertime celebration features extended park hours, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, giving families a unique chance to ride Dollywood’s world-class attractions like Wild Eagle and FireChaser Express all day and well into the night! The park’s festive nightly fireworks show, Dolly’s Nights of Many Colors, has been reimagined to feature new music and interactive elements to celebrate Dollywood’s 30th anniversary. Each evening a high-spirited dance party entertains guests in Wilderness Pass with a fun-filled, 15-minute party designed to get every member of the family on their feet prior to the fireworks extravaganza!

Dollywood’s Rock the Smokies (Sept. 5) features inspiring contemporary Christian music on stages throughout the park for an incredible time of praise and worship. Third Day and For King & Country highlight this day-long celebration.

Dollywood’s National Southern Gospel & Harvest Celebration presented by Humana (Oct. 2- Oct. 31) provides the perfect setting for fall in the Smokies. Featuring a lineup which includes some of the biggest names in Southern gospel music, the soul-stirring sounds of beautiful harmonies ring through the crisp autumn air as free daily concerts take place on the park’s various stages.

A seven-time winner of America’s Best Christmas Event, Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana (Nov. 7- Jan. 2, 2016) features four million holiday lights and spectacular holiday performances, including Dollywood’s A Christmas Carol, which features a hologram version of Dolly Parton as the Ghost of Christmas Past. Guests also can experience the fun and excitement of Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer and his friends who return after their overwhelmingly- popular debut appearance in 2014.

Showcase of Stars Concert Series

For the first time since 2003, Dollywood’s popular Showcase of Stars concert series will return to Dolly Parton’s Celebrity Theater in Dollywood in 2015. Dolly, Kenny Rogers and some of her other performing artist friends will perform the concerts to raise money for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. “The goal is to raise $1 million for Imagination Library. We can’t get enough books into the hands of children.”


Showcase of Stars will bring some of the biggest names in entertainment to Dollywood. Parton, whose last benefit concert at Dollywood was in 2005, kicks off the series with four concerts Aug. 8-9 at Dolly Parton’s Celebrity Theater, a venue which provides the perfect atmosphere for fans to enjoy this stellar concert schedule. Kenny Rogers will close out the series at its final show in September. Additional dates and artists will be announced in the near future.

Tickets provide guests a great opportunity to catch several big names in a more intimate setting, while allowing them to simultaneously support a worthy cause. Dollywood season passholders have the first opportunity to purchase concert tickets. Passholders will receive an email with an exclusive link to purchase. Remaining tickets will be made available to the general public at a later date.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a literacy program administered through the Dollywood Foundation which provides an age appropriate book each month to children from birth to age five in participating communities. To date, the Imagination Library has provided more than 70 million books in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

Dollywood FireChaser Express

The Dollywood experience is about so much more than roller coasters and water slides; it’s also about great food, award-winning entertainment, and getting in touch with the culture of the area. Dollywood is located just minutes away from Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited national park in the United States. These natural elements are balanced by a variety of entertainment offerings in the towns that surround the parks, making this a complete family destination in one of the most picturesque parts of the country. The 30th anniversary year at the
theme park is the perfect time for families to discover – or rediscover – both the destination and the joys of time spent together.

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