Dolly Parton created Imagination Library 13 years ago to provide books to children to encourage literacy. Now the entertainer known to many kids as "The Book Lady" will have her own children's book, "I Am a Rainbow," featured in the international philanthropy.
The 63-year-old Parton says working on children's projects like the book gives her a chance to play and live her second childhood. The book, which Parton says is for children of all ages, describes how colors can be used to explain emotions children might have.
She wrote it with plans for the sale proceeds to benefit Imagination Library, which supplies books to 1,000 communities in 47 states, the United Kingdom and Canada.
Posted: 6/30/2009 7:37:18 PM
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For the 34th consecutive year, Gatlinburg kicks off America's Independence Day celebration with the nation's first parade, which leads off at 12 a.m. on Saturday, July 4, to the cheers of close to 100,000 spectators and features a special tribute to our four branches of military service among the many highlights of this one-of-a-kind patriotic event.
In recognition of the 75th Anniversary of the establishment of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, as well as the birthday of our Country on July 4, the City of Gatlinburg will recreate the September 2, 1940, Presidential Motorcade of Franklin D. Roosevelt as it traveled through Gatlinburg on its way to Newfound Gap. There, perched high above a throng of onlookers, FDR officially dedicated the Park while standing with one foot in North Carolina and one foot in Tennessee. Golden Globe nominee and Knoxville native, David Keith will be Grand Marshal and will portray Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
The mobile reenactment will lead the 34th Annual 4th of July Midnight Parade at 12:01 a.m. in front of 100,000 patriotic spectators in the early morning hours of Saturday, July 4th, 2009. The Presidential Motorcade will be reproduced in vintage style with period automobiles and costuming along with vintage motorcycles to escort the motorcade. Stretching more than a mile in length, over 100 units will make their way through Gatlinburg, showcasing many elaborately decorated floats, helium balloons, marching bands, equestrian entries and a large contingent of our armed services men & women.
"This will be one of the most patriotic and colorful midnight parades that the City of Gatlinburg has ever produced," according to Special Events Manager George Hawkins, who organized the first Gatlinburg 4th of July parade in 1976 in celebration of America's Bicentennial.
Posted: 6/30/2009 2:15:25 PM
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"Cooter's Place", the Dukes of Hazzard shops, just keep on growing. "Cooter" himself, Ben Jones, will be at the Grand Opening of the huge new Gatlinburg location on the weekend of June 27-28 and he couldn't be more proud. When Jones and his wife Alma settled in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains back in 1998 he had a simple plan. After achieving fame as "Cooter" on the television mega-hit "The Dukes of Hazzard" and serving two terms in the United States Congress, Jones figured it was time to kick back and do some writing and make some music. Those things happened, but in a roundabout way.
"One day I passed an old roadside fruit stand that was empty and for rent," he says, "and that got me to thinking. I had this crazy idea to start a little joint called 'Cooter's Place'. It was a Dukes of Hazzard museum and shop, with a General Lee out front and bluegrass music on the weekends. That old place really took off. Within a few months we had visitors from every state in the union and from over thirty countries around the world. It didn't take long to realize that our old show hadn't gone anywhere, and that it was maybe even more popular than ever!"
The grand opening of that store in July of 1999 drew 3,000 visitors. "That place outgrew our little county," says Jones. "So we moved it to Gatlinburg a few years back. Now we are movin' uptown, to a much bigger place." The new location, directly across from Ripley's Aquarium, has a larger museum area, a full store of "Dukes" merchandise, the largest indoor go-kart track in Tennessee, and an 18 hole miniature golf course, all under one roof.
"It took a while, but I finally got around to the writing and the music," says "Cooter" Jones. "Last year Random House published my memoirs, and 'Cooter's Garage Band' played on the Grand Ol' Opry. None of that would have happened if it hadn't been for that little fruit stand up in the Virginia mountains that we opened ten years ago."
Meet "Cooter" Jones in Gatlinburg at Cooter's on Saturday, June 27 from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. and on Sunday, June 28 from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. Jones will be meeting fans, taking pictures and signing autographs.
Posted: 6/23/2009 3:35:52 AM
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Back by popular demand, Gatlinburg's 4th annual presentation of Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales has already kicked-off and will run through August 8. Tunes & Tales is a summer-long street performance event featuring costumed musical performers, storytellers and artisans portraying time periods as far back as 1800.
This popular eight-week event truly highlights one of Gatlinburg's greatest assets - the walkability of the community - and provides guests with an interactive, educational and entertaining experience the whole family can enjoy. The collection of personalities and performers arrive nightly at 5 p.m. in the center of town. Visitors witness a magical transformation of sidewalk to stage as the characters disperse along the downtown Parkway for an evening of entertainment and storytelling until 10 p.m. As many as 18 nightly acts perform throughout the evening.
Special for the 2009 season, characters will salute the 75th anniversary of the establishment of Great Smoky Mountains National Park as costumed characters Mark Pedro, portraying a Civilian Conservation Corps member of the 1930s and Ginger Brown, portraying a local schoolteacher of the 1930s, provide insights into the beginning of the most visited national park in our National Park System. Quiltin' Annie, portrayed by Sabrina Gray, will demonstrate hand quilting techniques as she tells stories about the home economics of our region's past. Traditional and bluegrass music will be performed throughout downtown Gatlinburg during the event, along with storytellers, costumed characters, crafters, and cloggers featured each evening.
Posted: 6/20/2009 3:36:52 AM
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On June 15th, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will celebrate it's 75th birthday of the Park's creation. One highlight of the occasion will be the groundbreaking for the new visitor center planned at Oconaluftee. The celebration will take place from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. at the Mountain Farm Museum, adjacent to the existing visitor center, 2 miles north of Cherokee. The new facility will feature Southern Appalachian culture, the history and traditions of the Cherokee people and the Park, past and present.
The program for the groundbreaking is as follows:
- 10 a.m. - Music performed by Boogertown Gap
- 11 a.m. - Warriors of AniKituhwa - official Cherokee cultural ambassadors performing traditional dances including the War Dance and Eagle Tail Dance
- 11:30 a.m. - Storytelling by Charles Maynard
- 12 p.m. - Groundbreaking Ceremony with Park Superintendent Dale Ditmanson, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Principal Chief Michell Hicks, Civilian Conservation Corpsmen, and Cherokee Elder Jerry Wolfe giving the "Blessing of the Ground"
- 1 p.m. - Music played by Earl and the Boys
Posted: 6/13/2009 4:10:23 AM
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