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Dolly Parton drops ‘Dixie’ from her Stampede show and the backlash is fierce

Dolly Parton appears on the 'Today' show on Oct. 16, 2017.
Dolly Parton appears on the 'Today' show on Oct. 16, 2017. Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Country legend Dolly Parton has changed the name of her popular musical dinner show from Dixie Stampede to Dolly Parton’s Stampede, and longtime fans aren’t pleased.

The shows, which take place in Branson, Mo., Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Pigeon Forge, Tenn., feature 32 horses and riders who perform tricks and engage in competition while guests enjoy a down-home meal.

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Parton announced her decision to drop “Dixie” from the name of her show on Tuesday, citing changing attitudes and cultural concerns. (“Dixie” is a reference to the Confederacy, and is seen by many as a reminder of decades of white domination and black segregation.)

The signs on the buildings were swiftly changed, as were the logos on the dinner show’s websites and Twitter page.

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“Our shows currently are identified by where they are located,” Parton said. “Some examples are Smoky Mountain Adventures or Dixie Stampede. We also recognize that attitudes change and feel that by streamlining the names of our shows, it will remove any confusion or concerns about our shows and will help our efforts to expand into new cities.”

World Choice Investments LLC currently operates the show, and is seeking to branch out into new markets — with “Dixie” attached to the show name, it would be a harder sell.

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“It has added to confusion in discussions about the expansion of our dinner theaters to new locations across the country and around the world,” said World Choice spokesman Pete Owens. “Some of our guest comments and comments of developers, in markets around the country with whom we spoke, show a misconception of what our show is. They do not realize the Stampede is a very patriotic, spectacular horse show with 32 beautiful horses as the stars.”

Some of Parton’s fans were less than pleased with the decision, accusing the country-music star of bowing to so-called “politically correct” culture. Others blamed Parton for siding with “liberals.”

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Parton has famously said in the past that she considers herself an entertainer first and foremost, and does her best to stay out of political arguments.

“Everybody knows I don’t do politics,” said Parton last October on Fox and Friends. “I’ve got as many Republican fans as Democrats, and I don’t want to make any of them mad at me. I don’t play politics. Plus, I’m an entertainer. I don’t usually voice my opinion.”