This is one of my favorite times of year! There is no doubt (certainly among the folks who I work with at Dollywood) that I enjoy to eat. And Dollywood festivals in Pigeon Forge (May 25- June 10) provides me several great reasons to partake in some awesome food.
Second, we have some of the best bluegrass music you’ll find anywhere. In fact, during the festival, we’ll have more than 350 individual concerts. That’s a lot of toe-tappin’. Ask my 2 ½ year old daughter who loves bluegrass music so much that she can sing verbatim the CD of the Smoky Mountain String Band that is currently in my car’s music library. It certainly beats The Wheels on the Bus for the 1000th time!
Another great reason Barbeque & Bluegrass is so cool this year is that we have a new partnership with BUSH’S® Beans. Nothing goes better with barbeque and great bluegrass music than BUSH’S®. It’s also given our amazing foods team another great product to make some really tasty creations that I know you’re going to want to try. (HINT: Cowboy Kettle Beans).
The opening weekend of the festival kicks off with The Gibson Brothers (May 25) and the “Queen of Bluegrass” Rhonda Vincent & The Rage (May 26-27). Dailey & Vincent (May 29-30), Molly Tuttle (May 31) and The Seldom Scene (June 5) are also among the headliners during the festival. Seven-time International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Vocal Group of the Year Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver (June 7) also makes an appearance during the event.
Doyle Lawson, who hails from my neck of the woods, has performed around everywhere, but says Dollywood is one of his favorites. “Just as Dolly is an exciting entertainer, Dollywood is an exciting place to entertain! Great venue, great audience,” he said.
An impressive calendar of bluegrass talent performs throughout the festival. Groups like The Grascals (May 28), Blue Highway (June 2), Flatt Lonesome (June 3), and Darin and Brooke Aldridge (June 10) play in Celebrity Theater, while the Po’ Ramblin’ Boys (May 25), Phil Leadbetter’s Bluegrass All-Stars (June 9) and America’s Got Talent semi-finalists Mountain Faith (May 30) play at Showstreet Palace Theater. There is so much great talent, you’ll want to get a Season Pass. And to keep up with all of the concert performances and show times, make sure to download the Dollywood App. You’ll have a park map, show schedule with times and locations, ride wait times and a whole lot more in a convenient package—your phone!
You know I mentioned food a couple times, so let me tell you about some of the mouth-watering items our foods team is cooking up (pun intended; stupid dad joke, I know). The team is fresh off Amusement Today’s 2017 Golden Ticket Award for Best Theme Park Food, and they have a number of traditional items, including hickory-smoked ribs, slow-smoked pulled pork and beef brisket, but they have a number of new favorites making their debut.
Our chefs have created several tantalizing new recipes, including those Cowboy Kettle Beans I mentioned earlier. BBQ pork nachos, pork belly mac & cheese, and a BBQ bowl—featuring pulled pork atop our famous BIG SKILLET potatoes—are new this year. Chicken and waffles funnel cake, Dollywood’s twist on chicken & waffles, appears for the first time as well. Grilled watermelon salad and a bacon-wrapped hot dog on a pretzel roll also are new in 2018.
Let’s just say, there is no shortage of great food or amazing music during Barbeque & Bluegrass, so sit down with a plate of ribs and enjoy a show or two—or 50!