PIGEON FORGE (WATE) – Dolly Parton sat down with WATE 6 On Your Side Reporter Whitney Good Wednesday to talk about several different things from the new Lightning Rod roller coaster to her upcoming music tour. She has a busy year ahead of her but it is one she says she is looking forward to.
“It’s fun to kind of hook up with family but Dollywood every year we do so many great things. We have so many exciting things to do but so many of my people live in this area so I get a chance to go visit,” she said.
Inside the park, the Jukebox Junction area got a facelift for the 31st season, and hovering high above the park the much anticipated Lightning Rod coaster is getting finishing touches. There is no opening date announced for it yet.
“This year we’ve got the new wooden roller coaster which we’re excited about. It’s a little late getting open. We thought we’d be able to have it open this week, but we had to delay it because it’s a very involved thing and it has to be just right,” she said.
As one project is almost complete, she is looking forward to what is next, saying there are still bigger and better things yet to come.
“Who knows what we’ll come up with. Always dreaming,” she said. “We’re just gearing up for a great season this year all around.”
She is always proud of her hometown and has put her mark on Sevier County.
“This was always a great area for tourists. I knew that years ago when I wanted to build the park that it would be a good business investment because the Great Smoky Mountains were here long before we were and they’ve been drawing 9-12 million people a year for years and years,” she said.
She is also spreading her talents this year, heading on her first major tour across the U.S. and Canada in 25 years with more than 60 stops along the way.
“We’ve stripped it down where we don’t have a ton of electric instruments. It’s just four of us on stage, four of my guys and me, and we all just play different instruments,” she said.
No matter how far she goes, she makes sure to remember her roots, spending whatever time she can back here at home.
“It’s a beautiful place. I’m proud that it’s doing so well and I hope it does continue to do that,” she said.
They have not yet announced tour dates or locations, but stay tuned for that.