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Dolly Parton still finds ways to honor her late parents through Dollywood and charity work

The iconic theme park, Dollywood, currently features a stunning floral homage to Parton's mother Avie Lee.

Dolly Parton still finds ways to honor her late parents through Dollywood and charity work
Cover Image Source: In this screengrab released on April 18, Dolly Parton speaks at the 56th Academy of Country Music Awards on April 18, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images for ACM)

Dolly Parton has always been a league apart from her peers in the music industry. Despite being part of a world that has infamously led many astray, the "Jolene" singer's legacy boasts of decades-long charity efforts, a repertoire of timeless songs, and an unmatched humility. This becomes all the more evident in how Parton, a national treasure in every sense of the term, continues to honor her late parents through almost everything that she does. One such tribute to the country music superstar's beloved mother is now on display at Parton's iconic theme park, Dollywood.


The theme park, which is currently hosting its annual Flower & Food Festival, now features a stunning homage to Parton's mother Avie Lee. Those who visit the park between April 23 to June 7 will get to enjoy over 500,000 flowers across its sprawling grounds, including a floral sculpture of Lee sewing together the article of clothing made famous in the singer's 1971 song "Coat of Many Colors." "I was real emotional and took a lot of pictures," Parton told Good Morning America of the first time she saw the sculpture. "I had seen the brochures of it and knew what it was supposed to be, but just seeing that whole thing... and just having that big thing there that represents who I am as a person, who my parents were, and the kind of mother I was lucky enough to have."


"That little coat has carried me so far, it's kind of like a little signature thing," she continued. "My life has been a life of many colors, not just the coat. It's very significant to me, but just seeing that whole thing with mom sewing that just made me grateful." Parton also credited the staff at Dollywood for helping the theme park weather the challenges of 2020 and make it through to the other side where they've been able to reopen on a limited basis. "People always brag about the staff here at Dollywood," she said. "This is our 36th season, by the way. We've got all kinds of people that have been here from the very start."



"We're partners. That's the way I am with my band. We're just all partners here. It takes us all to make it work," Parton continued. "I think it's amazing how our crew has done all the things that they've done. The people here are like family, so any time you have a crisis of any kind you just kind of pull together and get it done. We're not out of it yet, but I can feel a new energy. We've got a lot of things to be thankful for."



Parton also spoke about how she spent her time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Aside from keeping in touch with her family as much as possible and donating money to  help fund the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, the singer said her days were dedicated to "trying to lift people up and be spirited." One of the ways she did that was by reading to children on social media via her literary nonprofit, Imagination Library, which has donated over 150 million books to children around the world to date.


"If you can read, you can self-educate yourself, and you're just lost if you can't," Parton said, noting that many of her relatives—including her late father, Robert Lee—couldn't read or write. In fact, Robert was a major inspiration behind Parton starting the Imagination Library in 1995. "I just think it's important for children to learn to read in the early years, to learn to love books and all that, so I'm just so proud to have been a part of anything that's good and that's making life a little better for people," she explained. Parton added that her dad took "great pride" in living long enough to see the Imagination Library accomplish big things and "got such a kick" out of people calling her "the book lady."

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