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Dolly Parton kicks off Dollywood's 2022 season

This year there is no mask policy, no social distancing and no ticket reservations.

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. — The Smoky Mountain Songbird has returned to East Tennessee!

Dolly Parton came back to Pigeon Forge to welcome guests to Dollywood for its 2022 season. This was Dolly's first appearance in person at the park since 2019. 

Although many people expected to stop by the park on Saturday, the opening was delayed to Sunday at noon due to winter weather. Dolly was not at the park on Sunday due to prior commitments, Dollywood officials said. 

On Friday, she welcomed back season pass holders to the park while also providing a look at the future of Dollywood and her own projects.

This year there is no mask policy, no social distancing and no ticket reservations.

Dolly said Dollywood will be adding and expanding its slate of festivals like the Flower and Food Festival (April 22-June 5), the Summer Celebration with the return of the Gazillion Bubbles Show (June 18-Aug. 7) and Rock the Smokies (Aug. 27). 

Of course, the Harvest Festival (Sept. 23-Oct. 29) and Smoky Mountain Christmas (Nov. 5, 2022-Jan. 1, 2023) events will return for another year.

In addition, Dollywood will also be bringing Suite 1986 to the park where guests can stay. Proceeds from Suite 1986 will go towards the Imagination Library which, according to Dolly, is nearing its milestone of 200 million books delivered through the program.

For her own future projects, Dolly teased she will be filming and starring in a Christmas movie to come out later this year. She also said she is working on a gospel album alongside the film that will release sometime in the fall.

She recently hosted the Academy of Country Music Awards and released the novel she co-wrote with James Patterson, "Run Rose Run," along with an accompanying soundtrack she wrote herself.

During the off-season, Dollywood did several construction projects so guests can expect some new surprises when they visit. 

Dollywood said it added a new parking complex, removed two buildings to widen walkways in the park, renovated the Dollywood Emporium and removed the tunnel connecting lower Craftsman’s Valley to The Village.

Several projects are also underway at Dollywood's HeartSong Lodge and Resort, which is set to open in 2023 next to the DreamMore Resort. 

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