There is a reason why visitors from around the globe flock to the Smoky Mountains when the calendar flips to September and October. There is nothing like walking through the crisp morning air with the sun just beginning to peek over the mountain tops. As it does, its rays bring vibrancy to the area that is felt and experienced as much as it is seen. The oranges, reds and golds shine like a vivid watercolor painting that seems too perfect to be real.
To see God’s handiwork displayed throughout the Smoky Mountains is breathtaking, awe-inspiring and every other grandiose adjective that comes to your head. The problem is that none of those adjectives really can encompass the majesty of the mountains in the fall. Luckily for us, we get to experience the sheer beauty every single day when we come to work—quite a perk to the job!
Not only do we get to admire the colorful patchwork of orange, red, yellow and gold painted through the hills and valley of East Tennessee, we get to come to work at a place that takes full advantage of “God’s Coloring Book”—come see us and you’ll know why she was inspired to write the song!
Our teams do an amazing job of incorporating the natural beauty of the region in to the park for our Harvest Festival presented by Humana (Sept. 29- Oct. 28). We’re so excited for this year’s event because it features fun new elements for every member of the family.
With the days getting shorter, Dollywood has decided to give guests the night! New this year is Great Pumpkin LumiNights, an experience that will give visitors a great reason to stay after dark to enjoy all the fun! This glowing experience takes place nightly beginning Sept. 29 and it is truly an event you’ll have to see to believe. From the time you enter Timber Canyon, elaborate displays of thousands of pumpkins that will amaze you and your family. Not only are the monumental displays amazingly detailed, each individual pumpkin features intricately-carved designs that will impress even the most-skilled pumpkin carver…especially this dad who is lucky to get the eyes and nose on his yearly jack-o-lantern.
Each evening, several costume characters interact with families and invite the kids to visit the Pumpkin Boogie Dance Party. A glow maze and other unique kids’ activities make Great Pumpkin LumiNights perfect for family. If Dollywood’s Harvest Festival wasn’t already a tradition, it will be now! Our foods team is even getting in on the fun, creating a number of fall flavors and featured beverages inspired by autumn in the Smokies.
If you enjoy great music, we host America’s largest Southern gospel event during our Harvest Festival. The Southern Gospel Jubilee includes a veritable who’s who of the Southern gospel industry, and throughout the festival we’ll have more than 500 individual performances on stages throughout the park. With that much inspiration, it’s easy to see why folks fall in love with this event.
We also bring in dozens of visiting artisans who exemplify the very best of their craft. From basket making to paper marbling (a mind-boggling process), all of the crafters who come visit during the Harvest Festival are interesting, skilled individuals who enjoy sharing their passion for their individual crafts. They also are a nice accompaniment to our own master craftsmen who are here throughout the year.
Finally, if you really want to find a unique way to experience the beautiful colors of fall in the Smokies, you’re in luck! Dollywood is home to a few attractions that will help you do just that. If you want a breathtaking 360 degree view of the colors, be sure to ride Drop Line! The gondola spins a full rotation as you climb 230-ft. in the air. You’ll see Mt. LeConte and everything in between. Just don’t forget about the freefall you experience at the end! Wild Eagle also offers a stunning (albeit quick) bird’s eye view of the mountains, while you can choose to soar over Dollywood and through the thick forest canopies surrounding the park on SkyZip. Finally, the Dollywood Express lets you take a relaxing 20-minute ride through the glorious landscape surrounding the park.
Above all, no matter how you choose to experience fall in the Smokies, just head to Dollywood and prepare to enjoy!