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Longer than '9 to 5' | Dolly Fest to return to Old City with art, music and food all weekend

Organizers said the festival will feature 5 live performances on State Street. The event will benefit the Imagination Library, a nonprofit started by Dolly Parton.
Credit: Historic Old City Knoxville

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Dolly Fest is a celebration of everything Dolly Parton. It usually fills downtown Knoxville with Dolly Parton lookalikes, Dolly-themed merchandise, art and plenty of music.

It will return this year, starting June 3 and running through June 5. Organizers are encouraging people to dress their "Dolly-best" for the weekend celebrating Dolly's impact on East Tennessee and beyond.

This year's event will also feature some new attractions. There will be five performers at Main Stage on State Street, filling the city with music.

On June 3, the event will start with retail shops, galleries, restaurants and bars offering Dolly-themed activities. Organizers said there will be food and drink specials in celebration of Dolly, along with art shows and plenty of music.

Then on Saturday, people will be encouraged to dress up and wear dancing shoes because several performances are scheduled on State Street. It starts at 12 p.m. with the Marble City Opera before Kelle Jolly takes over, followed by Dolly Jam.

From 2:30 p.m. through 3:15 p.m. on Saturday, people will compete in a Dolly costume contest on State Street before more performers fill the city with music.

There will also be Dolly Karaoke on Friday and Saturday, from 6 p.m. through 9 p.m. before a Dolly Fest Pole Revue on Saturday at 8 p.m. Club XYZ will also host "The Not Dolly Show starring Vancie Vega" on Saturday at 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.

The winner of the Dolly Art Contest will be announced on Friday, and the submissions will be available in Rala all weekend. Most restaurants and bars in Old City also created special drinks and dishes for the festival.

On Sunday, the festival will end with a Dolly Market on West Jackson Avenue, which will include 30 local artists and crafters of Dolly-themed wares.

Organizers also promised more Dolly-themed events throughout the festival, all across Old City. Any businesses in the Old City that want to participate in the festival can reach out to organizers online

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