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A woman dressed up to look like Dolly Parton with a pink cowboy hat and a red jacket.
Photograph: Courtesy of Mable's Smokehouse

A glitzy Dolly Parton look-alike contest is back in Brooklyn this weekend

There's still time to enter the competition.

Rossilynne Skena Culgan
Written by
Rossilynne Skena Culgan

Pour yourself a cup of ambition and get in on the glitzy and glamorous Dolly Parton Lookalike Contest at Mable's Smokehouse in Brooklyn this Friday. 

Fans of the 77-year-old songstress and national treasure will dress up in their finest Dolly-inspired duds for a chance to be crowned the winner in this annual contest.

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The fun kicks off at 9pm on Friday, February 24 at Mable's Smokehouse, which feels a lot more like Nashville than Williamsburg with its honky tonk atmosphere and delectable BBQ.

Competitors will face off in three categories, which are kept secret until the contest date. But they can count on an interview portion where they can share why they love Dolly and unveil their full outfit. The other rounds may include a performance element but nothing too intimidating, Mable's Smokehouse Owner Meghan Love promised. 

Six competitors in the Dolly Parton lookalike contest dressed in different Dolly styles.
Photograph: Courtesy of Mable's Smokehouse

"There's always some really fun silliness that we get into. But it's really a raucous good time," Love told Time Out. "Some of the costumes, and the make up and the wigs we’ve had over the years have just been astonishing."

So far, seven people have signed up to compete, and more are welcome, Love said. She'll even have some wigs on-site just in case somebody in the crowd feels inspired to enter at the last minute. 

She's one of these icons that doesn’t stop making people happy. 

This is the sixth year for the contest and, each year, Love is wowed by the dedication competitors put into their looks featuring a variety of Dolly's fashions throughout the years.

Competitors have dressed up in Dolly's outfits from "Steel Magnolias," "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas," her Playboy cover and many more. The '80s Dolly look—"the glam with the sequins and the nails—"tends to be the most popular, Love said. Last year's winner will be back to present the crown to this year's honoree. 

Love was inspired to create the event after a scene in the 1980s movie Urban Cowboy, which mentions a Dolly Parton look-alike contest. Given her admiration for the actor-singer-philanthropist, Love decided to create her own spin on the event. 

A competitor in the Dolly Parton contest wearing a glittery gold top being interviewed.
Photograph: Courtesy of Mable's Smokehouse

"I'm a huge fan of Dolly Parton. I love her music, I love her spirit, I love her. She’s one of those people that I think everyone can agree on," Love said. "She's done so much for the LGBTQ community, she’s done so much for country music. [...] She's one of these icons that doesn’t stop making people happy. She’s really is such an inspiring, positive person."

Actor and comedian Jimmy Ray Bennett will serve as MC for the event. He's from the South, Love said, so he "just gets it and he's so funny." In addition, musicians The Watson Twins will perform a song from their new album during the event. 

Tickets for the event are sold out online, but there will be some tickets available at the door (44 Berry Street) for $25 on the night of the event. Plus, Dolly Parton competitors are still welcome, too (email to enter.

"It's just the best night of the year for me. I like it more than Christmas," Love said. "It's just this feel-good event."

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