Most Bay St. Louis residents could probably list 100 or so reasons Dolly Parton should visit their town — there are scenic views, there’s the food, the music and on and on.
But one of the main reasons the country-music icon may want to visit the Bay is because of the giving nature of its residents.
The second annual Dolly Should at Second Saturday Artwalk starts at 4 p.m. Saturday. The festival is a birthday party for Parton, who will turn 71 on Jan. 19. And though festival organizers promise a good time for all who attend, there’s a more serious side to Saturday’s celebration of all things Dolly.
“This year, we are trying to raise money for Dolly’s My People Fund,” co-organizer Ann Madden said. “Any money that is raised will be donated to that charity.”
Parton started the fund after fires ripped through the Smoky Mountains in late November and killed 14 people. she is donating $1,000 a month for six months to the families that were directly affected by the fires.
Activities for the 2017 festival include a Parton-themed art show, a pie contest, musical and clogging performances from the Bay Ratz Marching Battery, drag queen Reba Douglas and DJ Bella.
“We learned what worked and what didn’t last year,” Madden said. “We’re also having a community mural painted on the side of the Social Chair (gift shop).”
She said one of the most popular events is Saturday night’s Dolly look-alike contest.
“The beautiful thing about wearing a costume is that it lowers inhibitions and it energizes people in a certain way,” Madden said. “When you’re walking around in a costume, you’re walking around with a smile on your face.”
Madden said she plans for the festival to continue on an annual basis.
“Last year’s Dolly Should was so much fun that it was easy to plan another one,” she said. “It’s just a really good vibe.”