I love Dolly Parton. I have always loved Dolly Parton. In fact, one of my greatest dreams is that someday Dolly Parton, Patti LaBelle and Aretha Franklin will each sing happy birthday to me.
My best friend loves Dolly Parton, too. He has seen her in concert, even once getting to stand right at the edge of the stage, so close that she smiled at him and sang to him and even invited him onstage to sing with her. (The big, mean bouncers wouldn’t let him up there, though.) He was so thrilled he still practically swoons at the very thought of that night. He has even said that when he dies, he wants to be cremated and have his ashed spread over Dollywood.
Ah, Dollywood. That’s really what I want to talk about. I just found out that “OUT at the Park,” a Tennessee version of Gay Day at Disney World, is set for June 28 this year at Dollywood, Dolly’s theme park outside Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. It will, in fact, be the sixth annual “OUT at the Park” event there. This year, they are adding “OUT at Dixie Stampede,” also on June 28, and “OUT at the Water Park” on June 29 at Dolly’s Splash Country.
Organizers of these events are careful to point out that the events are neither sponsored nor sanctioned by the theme park or the water park, but are, instead, “put on by a nonprofit group for fun and fellowship.” They are also encouraging participants to wear red shirts to the park â€” I guess as a way of identifying each other as well as making a statement of strength and support.
I cannot even begin to describe how much I would love to go to gay day at Dollywood! I can’t, though, because it’s in June, and that is always one of our busiest months here at Dallas Voice. But you guys can go, and I think you should! Break out those red shirts and go see Dolly. And if you do see her, tell her I love her, and that my birthday is in October.