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Dollywood theme park wins ‘Oscar of the business’ award



ORLANDO, Fla.

Dolly Parton said winning the 2010 Applause Award for her theme park, Dollywood, is like winning “the Oscar of the business.”

“I’m just honored and proud,” she said in a phone interview with The Associated Press. “I’m excited that this is our 25th anniversary for Dollywood, that we won it this year, and that I had a chance to be here.”

Parton accepted the award in person last week in Orlando at an amusement park trade show, IAAPA Attractions Expo 2010, hosted by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions.

The Applause Award has been given out every other year since 1980 to honor a park whose “management, operations and creative accomplishments have inspired the industry with their foresight, originality and sound business development,” according to a statement from Liseberg park in Gothenburg, Sweden. The Applause winner is decided by a board of governors chaired by Mats Wedin, Liseberg’s CEO. The board includes theme park professionals from around the world.

Parton said that although country music “has allowed so many of my dreams to come true, you don’t have to be a country music fan to come to the park. … There’s something for everyone.”

She said she would put the award in a museum at the park “to share it with the fans.”

Previous U.S. winners include Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Nashville’s Opryland, Pennsylvania’s Hershey Park, Universal Studios Florida and Busch Gardens Williamsburg in Virginia.


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