Parade goers brave
the chilly weather
Despite chilly temperatures and the occasional raindrop, the 19th annual Dolly Parade Friday night, April 2, in Pigeon Forge was fine and dandy like a hard candy Christmas.
An estimated gathering of 35,000 parade-watchers lined the Parkway to catch a glimpse of the parade’s Grand Marshal, hometown girl Dolly Parton. Because of the unseasonable weather conditions, Jolly Old Saint Nick might have felt comfortable too.
Though Mother Nature didn’t fully cooperate, the parade was designed to welcome in the spring season and officially celebrate the opening of Dollywood.
On a night when the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism kicked off their annual Springfest, parade goers of all ages donned their winter clothes and huddled together on the street to catch a glimpse of Dolly herself.
Fans got what they came for when Dolly helped kick the parade off, riding in a stars-and-stripes float with the words “For God and Country” spelled out as the theme for the event.
“We are very happy with the turnout,” declared Brent Ogle, Information Specialist for the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism. “Although the weather is not what we had hoped for, everyone seems to be having a really good time.
Mike Phillips of Knoxville saw the parade for the first time. He said that the event was better than expected and was especially impressed with all of the people who attended, despite the wintry conditions.
“It was excellent,” Phillips stated. “I was overwhelmed by how many people came out tonight. It’s amazing how many people continue to come out and watch the parade, considering it being its 19th year and how cold it was tonight. Something good is happening here or they wouldn’t keep doing it every year. I’m very impressed and I’ll be back next year when they do it again.”