I spent Saturday, April 12, at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge. It was “Media” Day, and Dolly was there to unveil the new Porter Wagoner Exhibit. (Dolly joked about the sequined outfits she wore during the day – since that was how Porter always dressed.) She also put on a short concert for the media, park visitors, and VIP guests.
Among the guests were members of Dolly’s family, and members of Porter’s family. There was a rose planting ceremony, in honor of Porter, and his brother and sisters (Richard, Denise and Debra Jean) took part in digging with the gold shovels.
The day started with a 9 a.m. reception, followed by the rose planting, the unveiling of Porter Wagoner’s exhibit, and then the concert by Dolly. During the concert, it was announced that Don Warden, Porter’s steel guitar player was to be inducted into the Steel Guitar Player Hall of Fame, based in Ohio.
Pictured above are Dolly, with Denise, Debra Jean and Richard Wagoner. And, at the left is Don Warden, when Dolly was telling us all he had been accepted for induction into the SGP Hall of Fame. During the concert, Dolly sang a lot of Porter’s songs… and when she was brought back to the stage by the applause of the crowd, she sang her hit, “I Will Always Love You,” which she had written for Porter. She said the family had asked her to sing it at his funeral, but she didn’t think she would be able to make it through it.
Also in attendance for the day of festivities was Diana DeGarmo, who was first runner up to Fantasia on American Idol a few years ago; and more recently a contestant on the CMT show “Gone Country,” hosted by John Rich. I got to spend a little time with Diana, she was very friendly, and more than willing to talk about her career, future plans, and experience on “Gone Country” with us.
And look who else I got to meet? It’s Marsha, Marsha Marsha! From the Brady Bunch. Maureen McCormick, who also competed on “Gone Country” sat across from me at Dolly’s concert. Like Diana, she was very friendly, open, and seemed to enjoy the questions and comments from the people who gathered around her to talk.
So that was how I spent my Saturday. Thanks to Brittany Johnson for taking the time to attend with me. We met a lot of people, from all walks of life, got to enjoy a great show… and we’re almost into FAIR SEASON! It just doesn’t get any better than this. Talk to you guys tomorrow.