Press Release from Dollywood

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Wednesday, February 19, 2020) — Dollywood officials today announced Covenant Health as the “Official Health System Partner of Dollywood.” The partnership focuses on the organizations’ shared commitments to excellence, strong and vibrant communities, guest services and experiences, and to improving the quality of life in the region.

As part of the multi-year agreement, the Knoxville-based health system will work with the award-winning theme park on a number of projects, including upgrades to the park’s Baby Care Facilities, Nursing Centers and the well-known Calming Room, as well as sponsorship of Dollywood’s safety team.

Covenant Health also will serve as the presenting sponsor of Dollywood’s new Flower & Food Festival and the guest-favorite Great Pumpkin LumiNights. As part of the agreement, Covenant Health receives presenting sponsorship of many of Dollywood’s guest-facing amenities and experiences, including Centralized Measuring, the Ride Accessibility Center and First Aid Stations. The park’s rental strollers also will receive Covenant Health branding.

“We are honored to join with Covenant Health in this new partnership,” said Craig Ross, President of The Dollywood Company. “While we may operate in two very different industries, it is striking how closely our values align. For both Dollywood and Covenant, taking care of people is the number one priority. But it’s not just caring for guests; it’s about making them part of the family and treating them exactly as we would want to be treated.

“I’m excited for our teams to join together and collaborate on new and innovative ways to provide great experiences and services for our guests. I know there are things Covenant can share with us to improve, and I hope we can do the same for them. We’re announcing several new initiatives now, but we know there are many more great opportunities ahead for us both,” Ross added. 

To continue their commitment to improving guests’ quality of life, Covenant Health will offer health-related activities for guests, including hand sanitizing stations and health tips signage throughout the park. Covenant Health also will become a co-presenting sponsor of Dollywood’s Light the Way 5k. Dollywood’s Calming Room, introduced in 2016, was the first of its kind in the theme park industry. As part of the partnership, the room will be upgraded with new activities and equipment to aid families who use the room.

The agreement also extends to Dollywood’s Splash Country with many of the same initiatives taking place at the water park.

Covenant Health President and CEO Jim VanderSteeg echoed Ross’ comments about the new partnership.

“This is a new chapter in a longstanding relationship,” VanderSteeg began. “Dolly Parton provided personal and financial support for the construction of LeConte Medical Center, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, and she has always been a friend to our Sevierville hospital and to Covenant Health. The Dolly Parton Birthing Unit at LeConte Medical Center is named in her honor. By partnering with Dollywood, Covenant Health can share information about our services with guests who are enjoying family fun in a relaxing and beautiful setting.

“Our two organizations have much in common,” he said. “Both are known for excellence – Dollywood for excellence in family entertainment and hospitality; Covenant Health for excellence in health care. Both organizations are committed to our local region and have served our communities for more than 30 years. Dollywood’s properties currently entertain more than 3 million guests each year, while Covenant Health provides care for 2 million patients annually at our locations throughout Tennessee.

VanderSteeg continued, “Covenant Health is the Knoxville area’s largest employer, and Dollywood, the largest employer in Sevier County, provides thousands of employment opportunities for people of all ages and talents. Both entities are trusted, significant economic drivers for our communities, committed to improving the overall quality of life in our region through our respective programs and services.”

Covenant Health joins Dollywood during its 35th anniversary season. To celebrate the milestone, the park’s 2020 calendar is full of events perfect for making memories together. The year begins with international fun during Festival of Nations (March 14-April 20). The biggest names in bluegrass visit during Dollywood’s Barbeque & Bluegrass presented by BUSH’S® (April 24- May 3), while the park’s newest event, Dollywood’s Flower & Food Festival presented by Covenant Health, takes place May 8 –June 14. Summer Celebration (June 20- Aug. 2) features later hours and the return of the Gazillion Bubbles Show.

Dollywood’s Harvest Festival presented by Humana (Sept. 25-Oct. 31) features Southern gospel’s greatest performers alongside Great Pumpkin LumiNights presented by Covenant Health. Dollywood’s season concludes with the 12-time winner for Best Theme Park Christmas Event, Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana, Nov. 7, 2020 – Jan. 2, 2021.

Guests can learn more about Dollywood’s 2020 season by visiting or calling 1-800-DOLLYWOOD.