Parton steps down as parade grand marshal
PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (AP) — Dolly Parton says her Tennessee amusement park “has hogged the spotlight long enough” and she’s stepping aside as grand marshal of the Pigeon Forge spring parade after 32 years.
A news release from Dollywood and the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism says the grand marshal this year will be baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr.
Ripken is chairman and co-founder of Ripken Baseball. The Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge, a $22.5 million youth baseball facility, opened in 2016.
Parton, who grew up in the area, started a fund after deadly wildfires tore through the area in 2016. The Dollywood Foundation says its My People Fund helped 900 families with roughly $9 million in the first six months after the fires.
The May 4 parade will be called the Music in the Mountains Spring Parade.
‘League of Their Own’ team turns 75
ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) — The northern Illinois city that had its women’s baseball team immortalized in the film “A League of Their Own” is celebrating the team’s 75th anniversary.
The 1992 film starring Tom Hanks and Geena Davis focused on the Rockford Peaches and the launch of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League during World War II.
The city of Rockford is planning a series of celebratory events starting on May 30, the anniversary of the league’s first games. Events include an exhibition game and an outdoor screening of the movie.
“The celebration will remind us of that summertime family fun that we like to hark back to,” Sheryl Hall, one of the celebration co-chairs, said at the City Hall announcement. “It will give us all a chance to have fun in a family-friendly environment.”
The events coincide with a $7 million capital campaign to establish the International Women’s Baseball Center, the Rockford Register Star reported. The planned museum and training facility will be across the street from Beyer Stadium, the former playing field of the Rockford Peaches.
“There are a lot of people who want to see this (project) succeed,” said Kat Williams, the center’s president.
Sponsors who contribute $5,000 will have the opportunity to team up with stars of “A League of Their Own” during the events and play against the Rockford Starfires in an exhibition game at the stadium.
Some of the confirmed cast members attending the event include Megan Cavanagh, Renee Coleman, Anne Cusack, Patti Pelton, Anne Ramsay, Tracy Reiner and Bitty Schram.