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The World Comes to Dollywood!

Let’s go ahead and state the obvious—when Dolly Parton is involved, the finished product is going to be spectacular. Dollywood’s entertainment offerings are more proof of that. In fact, the park’s shows have won the Golden Ticket Award for Best Theme Park Entertainment for the last eight years! While I work here now, I’ve been visiting the park since I literally was in diapers. I can assure you, the entertainment has always been world class. Now that my daughter is old enough to enjoy the shows (she’s the one in diapers now), we’re able to bring her and continue the tradition.

One of my favorite times of year at Dollywood has always been Festival of Nations! I’m excited that she can enjoy it this year for the first time. The park buzzes with the excitement of spring, families are on spring break and we begin to welcome guests back to the park. During this time, some of the greatest performing acts in the world visit us, and while their skills are varied, the final product on stage is always mesmerizing. If you’re planning a trip to Festival of Nations with your family, here are some of the amazing talents you’ll see on stage. Like Dolly says, it really is like taking a trip around the world without leaving the Smokies. 

One of my all-time favorite Festival of Nations acts, Mother Africa, represents different cultures from across the continent of Africa. I promise you’ll be mesmerized by the energetic music, bright colors and talented performers. The dance numbers are electric and the technical skills of the performers—I have no words to describe them. With amazing jugglers, a unicycler who rides a 20 ft. tall bike, flying acrobats, and even a performer who can spin a full-size table on her feet while lying on the stage, you really have to see this one to believe it! Every time I see the show, something new stands out to me. And that is the awesome thing about this show; you’ll want to see it again. 

Slask Song and Dance Ensemble is a new featured performance this year, and from what I’ve seen from researching them, they are quite amazing. Slask is one of the most prominent Polish folk ensembles in the world. The group was founded in 1953 and has performed for 25 million people, including several world dignitaries. With a number of traditional dances and colorful costumes, your kids will be introduced to an exciting new culture without knowing they’re learning! How’s that for educational travel?

I enjoy visiting the Caribbean, so the first time I heard the sweet steel drum sounds of the Invaders Steel Drum Orchestra wafting through Dollywood, I was hooked. The group, which hails from Trinidad and Tobago, has been around for more than 75 years, but you’ll definitely know several of the songs they play. From the Hallelujah chorus to a Dolly song or two, this group transforms music with their unique sound.

Also new this year are Dearbhal (pronounced Derval) and Robin. They are a husband and wife team and have played the harp and flute for audiences around the world. I can’t wait to hear them for the first time this year! There are several other returning acts, including Streichmusik Alder, Atahualpa and Hodman & Sally. With so many talented acts during Festival of Nations this year, the hardest decision your family will have is trying to decide who to see first! And you never know, you might see me in the seat next to you!

By | 2017-07-27T17:37:58+00:00 March 6th, 2017|Attractions, Festivals, Trip Planning|0 Comments

About the Author:

While he is originally from Gate City, Virginia, Wes Ramey has long considered Dollywood and the Smoky Mountains region his second home. Many weekends of the year, he would travel with his parents and grandparents to the Smokies to enjoy some his favorite attractions in the area, including the Space Needle, the Gatlinburg Sky Lift, go karts, and of course, Dollywood. Based on his love as a three-year-old for Dollywood’s Convoy ride (there is a picture on his desk), Wes first told his parents he wanted to become a truck driver when he grew up. He also enjoyed the Flooded Mine because: A.) it was the only ride his mamaw was brave enough to ride, and B.) she was usually scared halfway through! When Wes isn’t working to tell people about the awesome things you can do at Dollywood with your family (scaring your grandparents doesn’t count), he enjoys spending time with his wife Lyndsey and young children. Most of his days are filled with reading Imagination Library books and baking imaginary cupcakes for tea parties, but when he has time, he enjoys anything with wheels and an engine. While Wes doesn’t own his own race car (yet), he does enjoy watching the professionals do their thing each week. For now, he fulfills his need for speed on Lightning Rod, Thunderhead, Wild Eagle and the Rockin’ Roadway!
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