Dolly Parton
Mountain Press
April 7, 2001
Dolly Welcomes World
Festival Of Nations Begins
By Cobey Hitchcock

      PIGEON FORGE — Media members flocked to Dollywood Friday for a sneak peak at this year's month-long Festival of Nations at the theme park, which opens to the general public today.
      Entering its sweet-16 season, Dollywood is kicking off the new millennium with international flair and flavor.  The festival begins at 10 a.m. with the Parade of Nations through the park.
      Dancers, singers, actors, athletes and musicians from across the globe will be performing for park guests, who can indulge their appetites with international entrees such as alligator, ostrich, elk, kangaroo and caribou to name a few.
      "Hopefully, who knows, it may become an annual thing where we have them every year for at least a month," Parton said to the crowd after performing "9 To 5" with the Stavropolye Cossacks of Russia, one of the international groups now performing.
      The Cossacks combine music, song and dance to portray the people's ancient legend that there was once a time when people could fly.  Their Friday performance combined grace and strength, which awed the crowd and brought admiration from Parton.
      "They work very hard," she said.  "I wouldn't work that hard, and I don't think I could work that hard."
      Parton, who was dressed in a Russian costume, said the month-long festival can't hurt efforts for world peace.
      "There's a lot of unrest in all the world," Parton said.  "One thing people do have in common is music, and food, and their cultures.  I think people as individuals are wonderful.
      "We just felt at least we could show our generosity and our hospitality by inviting these people from all over the world.  Wouldn't it be great if we could just all live like this all over the world and that's all there was to it?  It'd be nice, but who knows — this is a start.  We might just bridge a few gaps of our own."
      Parton, who will participate in Saturday's opening day parade, is also scheduled to attend the 7 p.m. International Jam with various Festival of Nations performers.
      Dolly's Splash Country, Parton's new water park located next to Dollywood, is scheduled to open May 19.  She also plans to attend the grand opening of the $20 million attraction.
      Friday, Parton took time to talk about her entertainment career as well.  In May, she will begin filming a Disney movie in Los Angeles titled "Frank McCluskey: C.I."  The movie, about a claims investigator, is scheduled for release in Spring 2002.
      "It's a comedy, it's crazy and it's slap-sticky," said Parton.  "I play the mother.  My husband, which Randy Quaid I think is going to play that part, is like an Evil Knievel type guy."
      She said the husband is injured performing a motorcycle stunt, and she is left raising the children by herself.
      "He's been in a coma for 20 years, so I'm over-protective of my boys," she said.  "It's just so stupid that it's funny."
      She also plans to record many more mountain and bluegrass tunes in the future.  She has no plans to tour anytime soon, but she will be performing frequently on TV.
      "I think everything starts with a dream, and it was always my dream to be a star," she said.  "I just think you always have to continue to dream, and I wake up in a new world every day — sort of like a goose."
      Parton said she enjoys helping Sevier County's economy by doing her part, but she said she doesn't deserve all the distinction.
      "I can't take credit for everything that's been done here," she said.  "I think we owe most of the credit to the Great Smoky Mountains.  The national park was doing pretty good before I came along.
      "Although, I've got my own set of mountains."