Dollywood to host premiere, sneak peeks of Dolly Parton anthology series

J. H. Osborne • Oct 27, 2019 at 12:30 PM

It’s the last week of Dollywood’s annual Great Pumpkin LumiNights and Harvest Festival, which celebrates Southern Gospel with hundreds of live performances by well-known groups. And there’s a special surprise this week for guests who go to the theme park on Wednesday.

The park is hosting a “film festival” that day with screenings of all of the episodes from “Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings,” an anthology series debuting on Netflix on Nov. 22.

Parton will appear in the series as well as being as singer/songwriter and executive producer. The eight one-hour episodes tell stories that celebrate family, faith, forgiveness and more, each inspired by Dolly Parton's iconic country music catalog.

Promotional materials say this: “The Dolly music you love, the stories you’ve been waiting for. Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings is an anthology series that showcases the stories, memories and inspirations behind her most beloved songs. New and classic Dolly music will score every episode. Each story will vary in tone, from love stories and inspirational tales to family dramas, westerns and revenge comedies.”

 "As a songwriter, I have always enjoyed telling stories through my music,” Parton said in a statement released earlier this year. “I am thrilled to be bringing some of my favorite songs to life with Netflix. We hope our show will inspire and entertain families and folks of all generations, and I want to thank the good folks at Netflix and Warner Bros. TV for their incredible support."

The film festival is included with park admission, but guests must have a wristband to attend the films. Wristband distribution will begin at 8 a.m. at the front gate only. Each movie has a separate wristband. Each person may get one wristband per film. The wristbands are first come, first served. Any leftover wristbands at noon will be moved to guest services.

There will be a schedule available at the park. It also is available online at https://www.dollywood.com/themepark/Festivals/Dolly-Partons-Heartstrings.

An invitation-only “red carpet” premiere of the episode based on Parton’s song “Jolene” will be held at the park Tuesday evening.


• “These Old Bones,” starring Kathleen Turner, Ginnifer Goodwin and Kyle Bornheimer. (A big-city lawyer comes home to Tennessee to convince an alleged “witch” (Old Bones) to sell her land to a mining company. She wrestles with her past and the future of the town.)

• “If I Had Wings,” starring Gerald McRaney, Delta Burke, Ben Lawson, Michele Weaver, Brooke Elliott and Tim Reid. (After receiving invitations to the 70th birthday party of their decades-long estranged father, three disparate siblings converge on a Mississippi farm where they test the bonds of blood and issues of faith, all to confront the sins of their father.)

• “JJ Sneed,” starring Colin O’Donoghue, Willa Fitzgerald, David Denman, Mac Davis and Vanessa Rubio. (In the 1880s, a feisty young woman trapped in a mundane existence dreams of more, until a seductive outlaw pulls her into the adventure of a lifetime.)

• “Jolene,” starring Julianne Hough, Parton, Kimberly Williams-Paisley and Dallas Roberts. (The story of an unexpected friendship between two very different women who find themselves part of the iconic love triangle, ultimately impacting each other’s lives in profound ways.)

• “Cracker Jack,” starring Sarah Shahi, Rochelle Aytes, Jessica Collins and Tammy Lynn Michaels. (Two stories — one past, one present — about the power of unconditional love between a girl and her dog, and that same girl, now grown, who questions what her life means and who she can truly count on when faced with her greatest fear.)

• “Sugar Hill,” starring Patricia Wettig, Timothy Busfield, Virginia Gardner and Tom Brittney. (A married couple in their twilight embarks on a road trip back to the place where they first fell in love, along the way revisiting the history of their love story.)

• “Down From Dover,” starring Holly Taylor, Shane McGhie, Robert Taylor, Bellamy Young, Camryn Manheim and Mary Lane Haskell. (After being shunned by her pious widowed father, a pregnant teenager finds support at a home for unwed mothers, where she hopes for the safe return of the young man she loves from the Vietnam War.)

“Two Doors Down,” starring Melissa Leo, Ray McKinnon, Andy Mientus, Katie Stevens and Michael Willett. (A family’s lifetime of secrets come bursting out during a chaotic and comedic New Year’s Eve wedding weekend. Will they make it to witness the “I do’s” without killing one another?)

An overwhelming guest-favorite since it was introduced in 2017, Great Pumpkin LumiNights recently was named the country’s Best Theme Park Halloween Event in the 2019 USA TODAY 10 Best Readers’ Choice travel awards. This year, Great Pumpkin LumiNights includes an expanded footprint into Wildwood Grove, new harvest-themed experiences, food and merchandise, as well as activities that are enjoyable for even the youngest guests.

Dollywood’s Harvest Festival runs through Nov. 2 (closed Tuesday), 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.