BAY ST. LOUIS -- Although Saturday morning started out dreary, the sun shone brightly over Bay St. Louis by afternoon -- just in time for the city to celebrate one of country music's biggest and brightest stars.
Dolly Should, a Dolly Parton-themed Second Saturday Art Walk, brought out the Parton fans and the curious alike for an afternoon of old-fashioned fun that featured square dancing, a petting zoo and a Dolly Parton lip-sync show by several Parton wannabees.
The idea was the brainchild of Ann Madden and Sandy Maggio of the art gallery Smith and Lens as a way to celebrate Parton's 70th birthday Jan. 19.
"We really had a great time with Frida Fest in the summer, which was our tribute to artist Frida Kahlo," Maggio said. "Dolly is such an iconic figure that we decided to something for her."
Madden said Parton was invited to attend.
"Maybe she's here, who knows?" Madden said with a laugh. "Dolly should come to Bay St. Louis. We hope that she will be with us next year."
It was hard to tell if Parton was or wasn't there as several people of various ages and genders put on their Parton best for the festival.
"I'm a big Dolly fan," said Julia Reyes of Ocean Springs, who dressed in Parton attire. "I like the song 'Jolene' a lot. We're having a really good time."
Lyle Stephens, who was with Reyes, said he had enjoyed seeing the Parton-themed art show at Smith and Lens.
"I wasn't a huge Dolly Parton fan, but I think I'm leaving as a bigger fan than I was," he said.
Tiffani Freeman and her mother, Candi Freeman of D'Iberville, said they were "big Dolly Parton fans."
"We love her music and her movies," Candi Freeman said. "My favorite song is 'I Will Always Love You.' This is something that Ms. Parton would probably enjoy attending."
Only time will tell if Parton makes it to the Bay next year. But that's not stopping Madden and Maggio from making preparations for the next Dolly Should.
"We want this to be an annual event," Madden said. "We're going to do Frida Fest in the summer and Dolly Should in the winter."
Karen West of Bay St. Louis also helped organize the Dolly tribute. She said she was happy to see all of the downtown merchants getting involved with the project, which included fundraising efforts for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, a childhood-literacy project.
When asked if she was having a good time at Dolly Should, West was emphatic: "Oh, my Lord, sweet Jesus, yes.
"Honey, I brought the drag queen."