Dollywood employees prepare for 30th anniversary celebration

PIGEON FORGE (WATE) – It was all hands on deck as Dollywood kicked-off a massive celebration to mark its 30th anniversary and the arrival of Dolly Parton.

Dolly Parton’s homecoming parade begins at 6:00 p.m. The parade includes extravagant floats, marching bands, horses, entertainers and of course, the grand marshal, Miss Dolly Parton herself. Over 50,000 visitors typically lines the streets of the Parkway in Pigeon Forge to watch the event. The route starts at traffic light #6 and continues North on the Parkway all the way to traffic light #3.

Previous story: Dollywood preparing for 30th anniversary kickoff Friday

At the Spotlight Bakery pastry chef Lanna Talley said mornings were already a busy time, but Friday morning chefs were at work early preparing muffin cakes and pastries to feed thousands of people expected for the celebration. The bakery has a brand new menu and recipes which Talley said she was very excited about.

Previous story: Dollywood celebrates 30th anniversary in Pigeon Forge

“It being my first season on board, I’m excited for the crew that’s here.” said Talley. “It’s a brand new crew, but we actually have about 100 years of experience through all of us together, so the new baked goods are just incredible and I’m really proud of the staff we have and all the new people coming in.”

The pastry chef said she grew up coming to the park, so working at the shop and getting to see Dolly is a dream come true.

Glassblower Joe Deanda has worked at Dollywood since it first opened thirty years ago. He said it is a fun job and every season brings something new.

“We make all different things big things, small things, some things take three minutes some things take an hour and we just try to entertain people keep them busy and occupied , hopefully they will learn a little something,” said Deandra.

Rehearsals for the 30th season were also in full swing. One of the park’s most popular shows is the Dreamland Drive Show, a love and war story set in the 1950-60’s era. Stage manager Drew Slice said actors spend about three weeks practicing the show, working six to twelve hour days.

“It’s an emotional connection to the audience it’s what touches people the most you have veterans or husbands and wives who come in and can relate because they’ve let sons go to war or their husbands have gone to war and it’s a very emotional story,” said Slice.

The award winning show will be performed throughout the summer at the Pines Theater.

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