10 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT DOLLY PARTON
10) Dolly Parton grew up in Sevierville, the fourth of 12 siblings.
9) Her award-winning theme park, Dollywood, is located right here in the Smoky Mountains and offers some of the nation’s top roller coasters, family-friendly festivals and high-energy live shows.
8) Dolly Parton Parkway is a major thoroughfare in Sevierville.
7) By the age of 6, Dolly was singing live at WIVK radio station in nearby Knoxville, Tennessee. She was also making weekly appearances at Cas Walker’s Grocery Store, which still stands today and now houses a portion of First Baptist Church on the Parkway in Sevierville.
6) Dolly’s first paying gig was performing at The Pines Theater in downtown Sevierville. Today the building that once housed The Pines is a thrift store called Treasures from the Heart.
5) A lifelong musician, Dolly attended Sevier County High School and played drums in the marching band. After graduating in 1964, she packed her music career hopes and dreams and moved to Nashville to become a star.
4) During her prolific career, Dolly has written more than 3,000 songs – many of which became #1 hits. Each year the Sevierville Chamber of Commerce hosts the Mountain Soul Vocal Competition during the Bloomin’ BBQ & Bluegrass festival in May. Vocalists from around the nation sing one of Dolly’s 3,000+ songs in his or her own style for a chance to win cash and prizes.
3) Dolly is committed to helping her hometown. In addition to creating successful businesses and jobs, she has also been a major support of healthcare in Sevier County. She is the honorary chairperson of The Dr. Robert F. Thomas Foundation, named for the doctor who delivered Dolly and helped establish adequate healthcare facilities in Sevier County. This organization helps expand the range and quality of healthcare services available in Sevier County. Today, Sevierville’s award-winning LeConte Medical Center is the proud home of the Dolly Parton Center for Women’s Services and The Dolly Parton Birthing Unit.
2) Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, a literacy initiative she began in 1995, has now mailed more than 125,000,000 free books to children around the world. A registered child receives a book each month from birth until the start of Kindergarten, no matter their family’s income, giving them a library of 60 books to help foster a love of reading.
1) In 1987, a bronze statue of Dolly Parton was unveiled on the Sevier County Courthouse lawn. Sculpted by local artist Jim Gray, the statue depicts a youthful Dolly happily strumming a guitar while sitting on a rock. Over the past thirty-plus years, hundreds of thousands of visitors have made their way to the statue for a photo. Dolly herself says the statue is one of the tributes she is proudest of – because it made her daddy so proud.
Hear Dolly talk about growing up in Sevierville at VisitSevierville.com/dollys-hometown.aspx