The 25th anniversary banners at Dollywood clearly acknowledge that they opened in 1986, which is 24 years ago. While you can’t say that the Dollywood name is 25 years old yet, you can say that the name is in its 25th year of use. The park has had at least four names dating back to 1961 when it was called Rebel Railroad. In the ’70s it was known as Goldrush Junction. An insider told me that some of the staff consider 2010 to be the 25th anniversary of Dolly Parton becoming a co-owner of Silver Dollar City in 1985.
This year’s KidsFest features a new headline performance each week. “Mad Science Presents Star Trek Live” runs through Sunday. I attended one of the first performances on Tuesday, along with a group of contest winners who had to suggest a current celebrity to wear the red shirt on an away mission. I spoke with one winner who nominated Mel Gibson and another who suggested Lindsay Lohan.
Obviously, the live, interactive show is geared toward kids. It starts off a little slowly as the audience is told they are Starfleet Academy cadets on orientation day. Before long, a Vulcan woman time-travels to 2010 to prevent an evil Romulan from altering Starfleet history. Things get interesting once she chooses an audience member to transport with her to the Romulan vessel. They use a green screen and some toy Tribbles for several very effective sight gags. After the show, the cast is available to pose for photos with children of all ages.