In the latest example of changing times, another Southern icon is rebranding to avoid controversy or links to negative historical connection.
Music legend and celebrity Dolly Parton has altered the name of her popular tourist attraction near her hometown in Tennessee. The “Dixie Stampede” has been renamed “Dolly Parton’s Stampede.”
The Pigeon Forge dinner attraction is the latest to change in recent years. Confederate monuments and statues have been taken, and in some cases torn down. Perhaps most notably, certainly in the Palmetto State, the Confederate flag was removed from the grounds of the South Carolina State House.
“We recognize that attitudes change and feel that by streamlining the names of our shows, it will remove any confusion or concerns about our shows and will help our efforts to expand into new cities,” Parton said in a news release from World Choice Investments.
Of course “Dixie,” is a historical name generally given to the South.
Stampede has a South Carolina location, with its operation in Myrtle Beach. There is also a Stampede location in Branson, Mo.
The show is set to reopen on Jan. 19, and there’s no word if there will be any changes to the content of the show itself.
Jim Rule, World Choice Investments CEO, said there is interest both domestically and internationally for expansion of the show, which features trick riding and competitions pitting the actors and staff recreating Civil War roles of the North against the South.
“We continually listen to our guests and our desire to expand coupled with our desire to stay relevant in today’s changing world led us to simplify our shows’ names,” Rule said in the statement.
Harris called the show “a lily-white kitsch extravaganza that play-acts the Civil War but never once mentions slavery. Instead, it romanticizes the old South, with generous portions of both corn on the cob and Southern belles festooned in Christmas lights.”
Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett said he was disappointed that the show changed its name.
“Well, like everybody else, I love Dolly, and I love all that she’s done for our community, which is her community, and I’m disappointed that they’re yielding to political correctness,” Burchett said to knoxnews.com. “What’s next? Are we going to change the name of Dixie cups and the Dixie sugar company?”
World Choice Investments statement
World Choice Investments dinner attractions are stampeding into the future with plans to expand into new communities around the globe in 2018.
World Choice Investments, LLC currently operates several dinner show attractions in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee; Branson, Missouri; and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for Dolly Parton showcasing show concepts featuring live entertainment from heroic horsemanship to swashbuckling pirates.
As the expansion plans take shape, the production team is hard at work updating the existing shows for 2018. “Our shows currently are identified by where they are located,” Dolly said. “Some examples are Smoky Mountain Adventures or Dixie Stampede. We also recognize that attitudes change and feel that by streamlining the names of our shows, it will remove any confusion or concerns about our shows and will help our efforts to expand into new cities.” To that end, WCI’s legacy show, Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede, will become simply Dolly Parton’s Stampede for the 2018 season.
“There is interest in several parts of the United States and internationally to host one of our unique dinner attraction shows,” Jim Rule, World Choice Investments CEO, said. “We provide spectacular family entertainment at a great value. We continually listen to our guests and our desire to expand coupled with our desire to stay relevant in today’s changing world led us to simplify our shows’ names.”
The existing locations re-open for the 2018 season from late January through early spring depending on location.
SOURCE: Business Wire