PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WATE) — We all know the song, the one about saying goodbye but loving someone always; it has resonated with listeners for five decades – something its iconic songwriter Dolly Parton says is one of her favorite ballads. Now, her theme park Dollywood is honoring “I Will Always Love You” with a nearly month-long celebration.
The “I Will Always Love You” Celebration at Dollywood is happening from March 11 through April 8. The event is kicking off on the opening day of Dollywood for ticketholders and will commemorate “the art of songwriting and the stories behind the songs,” according to Dollywood.
On Friday during the Dollywood Passholder Preview Day, Parton performed “I Will Always Love You” for season pass holders.
“Well I love ‘I Will Always Love You,’ I love singing it – every singer loves singing a ballad, as they say,” Parton told the crowd. “But that song is very meaningful… I cannot believe, first of all, that my song is 50 years old – I didn’t even think I was that old!”
“This, I’ll dedicate to all the folks that have always been there for me, and just know that in my heart – I truly will – always love you,” she said as the piano chords began.
Then, she sang her song.
The pass holders and media personnel in attendance thundered the theater with applause and praise for the singer-songwriter, who wrote and recorded the song in 1973.
Dollywood’s “I Will Always Love You” Celebration will also recognize a number of noted and up-and-coming singers/songwriters with performances throughout the park. Dollywood also says that guests can look for special park décor, limited-time merchandise and more as they celebrate the song and occasion.
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