PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WATE) — Pigeon Forge’s Music in the Mountains Spring Parade is back after a two-year absence and so is baseball legend Cal Ripken, Jr. to serve as the parade grand marshal.

The parade will return on Friday, April 29 for the first time since 2019 after the COVID-19 pandemic forced organizers to cancel the traditionally annual event that had taken place for over 30 years.

Dolly Parton served as the parade grand marshal for 32 years until MLB Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr. took the reigns in 2018. Ripken will once again reprise the role this year and his grand marshal float design will pay homage to the scenic beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains and the area’s deep musical roots.

“I am honored to once again be a part of the Music in the Mountains Spring Parade,” said Ripken, Jr. “Our friends In Pigeon Forge have been wonderful partners and have made us feel like part of the Pigeon Forge family from the start.  I look forward to seeing everyone once again and restarting this terrific celebration!”

Ripken is chairman and co-founder of Ripken Baseball and president of the Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge. The $22.5 million, state-of-the-art youth baseball complex opened in March 2016 and hosts hundreds of baseball teams from across the country each year.

The Music in the Mountains Spring Parade begins at 6 p.m. at traffic light 6 on the Pigeon Forge Parkway and travels north to traffic light 3.

Free bluegrass entertainment will be featured on Saturday, April 30. The Ole Smoky Moonshine stage at The Island in Pigeon Forge will feature Firewater Junction at noon and Monroeville at 5 p.m. The Gazebo in Old Mill Square will feature Boogertown Gap from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Admission to both concerts is free.

“It’s great news that the Pigeon Forge Music in the Mountains Spring Parade is returning this year, and it’s even better news that Cal Ripken, Jr. joins us once again as our grand marshal,” Pigeon Forge City Manager Earlene Teaster said. “Cal and the Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge give families so many great reasons to visit Pigeon Forge, and we’re honored to celebrate the positive impact he makes on our community.”