Parton stepping aside as parade grand marshal after 32 years

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. — Dolly Parton says her Tennessee amusement park "has hogged the spotlight long enough" and she's stepping aside as grand marshal of the Pigeon Forge spring parade after 32 years.

A news release from Dollywood and the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism says the grand marshal this year will be baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr.

Ripken is chairman and co-founder of Ripken Baseball. The Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge, a $22.5 million youth baseball facility, opened in 2016.

Parton, who grew up in the area, started a fund after deadly wildfires tore through the area in 2016. The Dollywood Foundation says its My People Fund helped 900 families with roughly $9 million in the first six months after the fires.

The May 4 parade will be called the Music in the Mountains Spring Parade.

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