Grand Ole Opry Celebrates 85th Birthday

By Benji Aird

Benji-Aird@utc.edu

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/TheLoop) — The Grand Ole Opry threw an 85th birthday bash being serenaded by country music legend Dolly Parton’s rendition of “I Will Always Love You.”

The party on Saturday night continued the celebration of the venerable music venue’s presence. WSMV-TV in Nashville reported that hundreds of people filled the pews for the party, which featured performances by Parton, Taylor Swift and Trace Adkins.

The festivities started Friday, when Crystal Gayle, Jimmy Wayne and Roy Clark performed.

Saturday’s festivities started with tours of the refurbished Opry House. WTFV-TV in Nashville reported that there was a picnic on the plaza of the Opry House with free live music during lunch.

The party came just months after a flood left the venue soaking in water. The Opry’s stage sat under nearly 4 feet of water at the flood’s height in early May. A months long restoration project cleaned the building and replaced the stage, dressing rooms and audience seating.

“They’ve done a wonderful job revamping it, and it’s even better than it was,” Parton said.

Parton sang three songs, including “Jolene,” ”9 to 5″ and “I Will Always Love You.”

Swift performed an acoustic version of her new, chart-topping hit, “Mine.”

The celebration also featured well-known stars from the Opry’s past and concluded with the presentation of a large birthday cake and a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday to You.”

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Online:

http://www.opry.com

COPYRIGHT 2010 The Associated Press

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