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What to Expect at Dollywood’s 2019 Harvest Festival

Family-friendly fall fun is back during Dollywood’s Harvest Festival presented by Humana! We’re expanding Great Pumpkin LumiNights again this year by growing the glow in to Wildwood Grove. For those of you who have visited, you know that Great Pumpkin LumiNights has been an overwhelming guest-favorite since it was introduced in 2017.

It is an amazing event that not only gets you in the harvest spirit (I know many of you don’t have that problem), but it allows you to do something fun with every member of the family. I have a 4-year-old and a 20-month-old and finding fun activities for them this time of year can be difficult because so many activities are scary. The “great” thing about Great Pumpkin LumiNights is that the harvest-themed experiences and activities are enjoyable for even the youngest guests who are looking for things to do this fall.

The Harvest Festival runs Sept. 27- Nov. 2 (closed Tuesdays, Oct. 22 & 29) with park operating hours from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m., which gives you more time to enjoy harvest time in the Smokies. Popular pumpkin displays from past events return—like the pumpkin spider, pumpkin dance party and Dolly-inspired displays— while Wildwood Grove joins the fun for the first time with a harvest experience at The Wildwood Tree.

The Plaza at Wilderness Pass again serves as a centerpiece for the event with an area for character interaction, additional displays—and the focal point—a 40 ft. tall pumpkin tree featuring larger-than-life carved pumpkins.

While Great Pumpkin LumiNights lights up Dollywood each evening, the biggest names in Southern gospel music lift their voices each day as part of the Southern Gospel Jubilee. During the festival there will be more than 600 individual Southern gospel performances on stages throughout the park. Yes, you read that correctly, 600 concerts. It’s the largest Southern gospel event in America, fitting for Dolly since she got her start singing in churches around the Smokies. A complete schedule of artists, show times and stage locations is available at Dollywood.com.

If you’ve visited the park before, you’ve surely seen our talented craftspeople. Well, we kick that up a notch during this festival with more than two dozen visiting artisans from across the country providing in-depth demonstrations including woodworking, chainsaw carvings, fiddle-making and more. Who knows what kind of awesome Christmas gifts you may find during your visit.

Our culinary team also has the opportunity to showcase their skills with a menu full of fall favorites. Guests can find traditional items like cabbage rolls, pierogies, sausage sandwiches, skillet potatoes, apple cider and fried apple pies. A number of new tasty treats also are on the menu, including chicken Applewood pasta, Reuben wontons, candy corn cider and chocolate chip cookie pizza. If you’ve read any of my blogs, you know I like to eat. I’m especially excited about the Harvest Festival this year because of all the new food items, especially the pierogies and the Reuben wontons!

As you can see, there is a lot to keep you busy during a day at the Harvest Festival. If you have time, plan on a couple of days to take everything in. Between the rides, shows, food, shopping, craft demos and thousands of pumpkins, you’re going to be moving quickly to see it all!


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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