One of the highlights of the property is that it features many Parton artifacts on display throughout.
A home once owned by country music legend Dolly Parton is now being used as a wedding venue for couples displaced by wildfires. The home was made available for free to couples impacted by the recent fires near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee. The home is now the Red Top Smoky Mountain Lodging in Sevierville and it was announced the home would be available for free between April 1 and May 1 to those who provide proof that the recent wildfires impacted or destroyed their original venue, reported Fox 5 Atlanta. More than 3,700 acres have been affected by the wildfires in Tennessee's Sevier County, with more than 100 structures affected as of March 30. The blaze began as a brush fire in Wears Valley, before spreading to more than 3,700 acres.
“I’m especially proud of the brave men and women who are working to contain the fire. I know there are some folks who have been affected, and I hope that you will join me in saying a prayer for them,” said Parton on Instagram, in response to the news of the wildfires. "During this time, I’ve also remained in touch with my people at Dollywood who have assured me everything is okay there." The property was bought by the country singer's parents Robert Lee and Avie Lee in 1984. Dolly Parton took full ownership of the property in 2003 after her parents' deaths. She then sold the home to a family friend.
I know there are some folks who have been affected, and I hope that you will join me in saying a prayer for them. During this time, I’ve also remained in touch with my people at @Dollywood who have assured me everything is okay there.— Dolly Parton (@DollyParton) March 31, 2022
Mike Whitcomb and his family own the property now. Whitcomb had bought the property with a view of using it as an event venue. In the wake of the destruction caused by the wildfires, Whitcomb thought giving the venue for free to affected couples would help continue Parton’s legacy of giving back to the community. "Everybody loves Dolly for a reason," said Whitcomb. "It’s not by chance. It’s not just her skills. It’s her humanity, her kindness, her beauty. I wanted to make sure, from my perspective and our family’s perspective, that we can add our voice to that," he said. The Red Top Smoky Mountain Lodging has three bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths, a large dining room, porches and a barn. One of the highlights of the property is that it features many Parton artifacts, on display throughout the property. “Imagine the music these walls have heard over the years from the talented Parton Family,” states the website. "You can also catch a glimpse of the famous Double D Roses, specially named after Dolly Parton," reads the description.
"Avie Lee & Robert “Lee” Parton who spent their 1st wedding night in a Sevier County barn was wonderfully graced with 12 precious children Willadeene, David, Denver, Dolly, Bobby, Stella, Cassie, Randy, Larry, Floyd, Freida, and Rachel each gifted with remarkable talents from their parents. Many of those talents are showcased currently at Red Top. Red Top and its farm became a family gathering experience filled with laughter, hugs, and music for many friends, loved ones, and the Parton family," reads the description of the home's history.
People from 11,000 homes have been evacuated because of the wildfires. There have been no reported fatalities but three people have suffered injuries. "We come together as a community," said Red Top Destinations Director Jeannine Hurst-Emory. "We help one another out and that’s what we’re doing."
Parton reserved some strong words for the way humans were treating the planet. "Well, my hope for the environment, for all things living, and all things good, just nature in general, [is] that we should pay more attention to how we're treating our mountains, how we're treating our world, how we're just treating everything," said Parton in an interview with National Geographic Travel's Amy Alipio. "We're just mistreating Mother Nature. That's, like, being ugly to your mama, you know? That’s like being disrespectful, you know? Seriously. So, I really think we all need to pay closer attention to taking better care of the things that God gave us freely and that we’re so freely messing up. We need to rethink that and do better."
Dolly Parton has a long history of helping people affected by wildfires in her native Tennessee. In 2017, she launched the "My People Fund," promising them a $1,000-per-month stipend sourced from outside donations and Parton's own foundation, reported NPR. A total of $8.9 million had been distributed to the fire victims, she said later. "I know it felt dark and lonely for so many. But here we are in spring, a time for renewal and a time for hope. I know the money helps but most of all I want people to know we will always provide you a shoulder to lean on," the country singer added.