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Dollywood wins major theme park award
"I love my music, but when you get a chance to do things like this, where you serve so many people in a different way, it makes me proud of something that so many people can enjoy," Parton said during the ceremony on the opening day of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions Expo.
The Applause Award is bestowed every other year on one park deemed to exhibit overall excellence.
Dollywood was recognized for its originality, cleanliness, friendliness of the staff and family values.
"Of course, Walt Disney became successful because he had Mickey Mouse, who has two big ears. So, I figured I could be successful with Dollywood with my two big partners," Parton said. She then glanced down at her famously large chest before pointing at Pete and Jack Herschend in the audience.
Parton partnered with their company, Herschend Family Entertainment, to open Dollywood in 1986 on the site of the former Silver Dollar City theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.