Dollywood launches fundraising effort
The owners of Dollywood theme park and the Dixie Stampede dinner theatre chain in the US have launched a charity initiative to help the victims of the devastating floods that recently swept across Tennessee.
On May 22-23, net admission proceeds from Dollywood, which is owned by country music singer Dolly Parton and Herschend Family Entertainment Company, were donated to flood relief efforts across Tennessee.
The same applied for the three Dixie Stampede properties located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and Branson, Missouri. Parton also made several special appearances at various theatres and locations throughout the venues to greet guests who visited for the weekend event.
Davidson and three surrounding counties were declared federal disaster areas after record-breaking rainfall in early May devastated the area and destroyed homes and businesses.
The full scope of the flooding came into focus when officials said private property damage estimates had reached US$1.9bn. That total does not include costs related to damage to public infrastructure, buildings and overtime for city workers, which will cost the government another $247m, according to estimates.
"I grew up in the Smokies in East Tennessee, which was my first home," Parton said. "I moved to Nashville 46 years ago and that is my home now. I have family and friends in both places, and when one place hurts; I think it is just right for the other to help."