PHOTOS: Go Inside Dollywood’s Harvest Festival, the Ultimate Fall Experience in the Smokies
A little over three hours from Nashville, near the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, lies Dollywood – a 160…
Dollywood’s Harvest Festival; Photo by Randy Simone
A little over three hours from Nashville, near the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, lies Dollywood – a 160 acre theme park filled with fun for the entire family.
The park is owned by the one and only Dolly Parton, and it’s just as spectacular as fans would expect it to be (let’s face it, everything Dolly touches is absolutely fabulous!).
Dollywood is home to thrilling rides and attractions for all ages, live music, shows and delicious food, and come September, the park celebrates the fall season with its annual Dollywood Harvest Festival.
For Parton, fall is a special time of year, and there’s no better way to celebrate than at Dollywood.
“God’s handiwork is on full display for everyone to enjoy when they come to visit,” she says. “It’s also the time when the heat of the summer fades and the crisp, cool evenings make it just right to enjoy the fresh mountain air. Some of my most treasured family memories took place during the fall, and I want our guests to make their own wonderful memories while they are here.”
Running now through October 30, 2021, Dollywood’s Harvest Festival is a must-see event that transforms the park into an autumn oasis.
During the day, guests are invited to enjoy displays of giant pumpkins, weighing in at 800 to over 1,500 lbs., colorful fall floral displays and even a giant pumpkin “tree,” each making the perfect backdrop for a family photo.
Nighttime, however, is when the magic happens. As the sun sets amongst the Great Smoky Mountains in the distance, the park comes to life with the Great Pumpkin LumiNights – a glowing display of pumpkin carvings and spooky scenes guaranteed to dazzle park guests.
Great Pumpkin LumiNights boasts thousands of carved pumpkins and unique displays such as a pumpkin guitar sculpture, a field of pumpkin sunflowers, a massive pumpkin tree and a stunning pumpkin butterfly.
Another can’t-miss is the Wildwood Tree, which comes to life with a whimsical story narrated by Parton. Located in Wildwood Grove, the tree is filled with butterflies and makes for a one-of-a-kind photo opp.
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In addition to the must-see Harvest Festival displays, there are a few MUST-EAT treats to enjoy as well. Special seasonal items such as Sweet Potato Poutine, an Apple Pie Milkshake, BUSH’s Three Bean Pumpkin Chili and Pumpkin Spice Churros with Pumpkin Fluff are available for purchase throughout the park.
Dollywood’s signature Cinnamon Bread from the Grist Mill is available year-round, but trust us, you can’t visit the park without indulging on this world-famous bakery treat. The freshly made candy apples inside the Sweet Shoppe Candy Kitchen are also to die for!
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Dollywood’s Harvest Festival also features entertainment with a number of special guest headliners confirmed to perform throughout the month of October.
Among the list of confirmed performers are CeCe Winans (Oct. 9), Pam Tillis (Sept. 29), Jimmy Fortune (Oct. 2), Shenandoah (Oct. 20-21), Karen Peck and New River (Oct. 3), Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver (Oct. 4), Taylor Red (Sept. 24), Rhonda Vincent and the Rage (Oct. 14-15), Janelle Arthur (Sept. 26) and the Lee University Singers (Oct. 17).
It’s no surprise that Dollywood’s Harvest Festival was named America’s #1 Fall Family Event by USA Today Readers – it’s truly a unique experience that should be added to your fall family bucket list.
Dollywood is open 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. each day of operation (Sept. 24- Oct. 30) during the Harvest Festival. The park is closed on Tuesdays throughout the festival. Admission to the park includes Dollywood’s Harvest Festival.
For more information and to plan your visit to Dollywood, click HERE.
Lauren Jo Black
Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for Answers.com and her work being featured on Forbes.com. She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.