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Dolly Parton Homecoming Parade has new exciting name, new grand marshal
By Jeaneane Payne

PIGEON FORGE, TN -- Dolly Parton has stepped down as the Grand Marshal of the Dolly's Homecoming Parade. For 32 years Dolly was the main feature of the parade, but this year she has turned the honor over to Cal Ripken, Jr. The named of the parade has also been changed to Music in the Mountains Spring Parade, appropriately named because of the rich music genres found in the Smoky Mountain region.

The exciting parade will be held at 6 p.m. on May 4, 2018 on the Pigeon Forge Parkway.

Officials from the city of Pigeon Forge and Dollywood theme park announced that they want to provide an opportunity for a new grand marshal to preside over the annual parade.

Cal Ripken, Jr. is a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and chairman and cofounder of Ripken Baseball. The Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge, a $22.5 million youth baseball facility, opened on March 9, 2016.

“For 32 years, it’s been my honor and privilege to serve as the grand marshal,” Dolly Parton said. “In that time, Pigeon Forge has grown so much and so many new businesses and attractions have come to town, everyone agrees that this is the perfect time for me to step aside and share the spotlight with some other folks. Dollywood has hogged the spotlight long enough!”

The Music in the Mountains Spring Parade will showcase the rich musical heritage of the Great Smoky Mountains as it spotlights entertainment provided by many theaters in the area. Theaters located throughout the city also will have the opportunity to give parade attendees a glimpse of their respective shows.

Pigeon Forge’s Homecoming Parade began in 1987 as the unofficial kickoff of the city’s tourism season.

“We want to thank Dolly for all that she has done, and we are so very grateful for the kindness and generosity she has shown to both our visitors and our residents,” Pigeon Forge City Manager Earlene Teaster said. “Given Pigeon Forge’s progress and unprecedented growth during the last three decades, both Dollywood and Pigeon Forge city officials recognized that we have so much to celebrate with our parade.”

Pigeon Forge has received an increased number of inquiries from high school bands wanting to perform. The Music in the Mountains Spring Parade will provide an annual opportunity for bands of all sizes from across the country to compete.

“As a family destination that offers world-class entertainment, providing an opportunity for young people to share their love of the performing arts makes Pigeon Forge’s Music in the Mountains Spring Parade ideal for everyone,” said Teaster. “It’s also another great special event that we can offer our visitors and residents, too.”

Along with high school marching bands, dance groups, choral groups, and baton twirlers will be invited to march. Parade registration also is open to others who wish to celebrate the area’s musical roots.

To register for Pigeon Forge’s Music in the Mountains Spring Parade or for more information, please visit

Published January 28, 2018

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