Listowel in Co Kerry hosted more than 1,100 Dolly Parton lookalikes on Saturday, June 24 for its creative ‘DollyDay’ fundraiser in benefit of The Kerry Hospice and the Comfort for Chemo Kerry.
1,137 Dolly Partons were counted in Listowel, smashing the Guinness World Record of 250.
Amazing crowd of Dolly’s!! DollyDay Listowel Hospice Comfort for Chemo KerryPosted by Listowel on Saturday, June 24, 2023
"That number is well above what we needed,” chairperson of the DollyDay committee Cora O’Brien told The Kerryman newspaper.
“We would hope that we get it [the record] but the guidelines are very strict and they [Guinness] are very particular which is understandable because it the Guiness Book of Records that we're trying to get into, it's very prestigious.”
The Co Kerry event's guidelines were equally as strict - organizers insisted that "costumes worn by participants must be based on clothes worn by Dolly Parton during a public appearance or performance."
(That meant, yes, a blonde wig and heels were required - as were boobs, though organizers suggested balloons as a replacement.)
Anyone that was not instantly recognizable as Dolly Parton was discounted from the final total.
The Dollys young and old gathered at Frank Sheehy Park (Listowel Emmets GAA pitch) for the smile-inducing event. As The Kerryman notes, the Guinness World Record team is still working to ratify the final total but it's expected that Listowel has set the record.
(This will be the Co Kerry town's second Guinness world record - back in 2012, more than 1,400 people dressed as nuns gathered for the Nunday fundraiser in benefit of Pieta House.)
"We're delighted, we're absolutely delighted," O'Brien said after the DollyDay event.
“Everyone that attended really put in the effort and they really dressed up and got into the spirit of Dolly Parton. The whole town of Listowel, everybody in the community stepped up. The shops, they all had Dolly Parton window displays which were absolutely unbelievable.
“The support from everybody in the community, I couldn't speak highly enough about everybody in the town.”
Dolly Mania!! Unbelievable 🇺🇸💓🥰DollyDay Listowel Hospice Comfort for Chemo Kerry DollywoodPosted by Listowel on Saturday, June 24, 2023
Among the attendees in Listowel was Eugene Naughton, the manager of the Dollywood amusement park in Tennessee. O'Brien said Naughton told her that "he could really feel the sense of the community and the community spirit" surrounding the event.
Naughton helped facilitate an amazing raffle prize, as well - a two-night stay on Parton's personal tour bus. The auction was conducted free of charge by Philip Sheppard of Sheppard’s Irish Auction House.
Delighted to have The President of Dollywood Parks, Eugene Naughton in Listowel ahead of Dolly Day tomorrow. He is so...Posted by Listowel on Friday, June 23, 2023
While the world record attempt was a good bit of craic, O'Brien reiterated that the main aim "was to help raise money for our two chosen charities.
"We haven't gotten the final figure yet on how much we raised because there's still donations coming in,” she said on Monday.
Parton’s connection with The Kingdom expands past just Listowel. In the early 90s, the famous country singer made a stop at Páidí Ó Sé’s Pub in Dingle, Co Kerry.
There, she was presented with the jersey worn by O'Se when Kerry won the 1985 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship before singing "Coat of Many Colors" for the crowd.
“Well thank you very much, and welcome to Dinglewood!”, the iconic singer said.