Kids who saw the first Dolly’s Homecoming Parade are bringing their own kids to the parade now because Pigeon Forge’s annual salute to hometown celebrity Dolly Parton is 30 years old.
Tens of thousands of fans will be on hand Friday, May 1, 2015 to wave at Parton as the parade proceeds through the center of town along the attraction-lined Parkway.
The parade starts at 6 p.m. at Traffic Light 6 and goes north to Traffic Light 3. Spectators are invited to line both sides of the route.
This year also is the 30th anniversary season for the Dollywood theme park, Tennessee’s most visited commercial visitor attraction.
Parton’s float, always with a surprise theme, will be early in the parade. It’s equipped with a sound system so Parton can call out to friends she sees along the way.
“Dolly’s Homecoming Parade is an important civic event. It’s the city’s opportunity to tell Dolly how much we appreciate her, and it’s a great opportunity for fans from all over to see an international superstar in person,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism, which organizes the parade.
Parade organizers anticipate more than 125 floats, marching bands, vehicles and organizations will participate. The featured marching bands will be from Pigeon Forge High School, Sevier County High School and Page County High School and Middle School in Shenandoah, Va.
Others in the parade include Girl Scouts, twirling groups, Shriners, veterans groups, the Boys and Girls Club, equestrian clubs and a variety of Pigeon Forge theaters and attractions.
“It’s a big parade with a small-town flavor,” Downey said.