Dollywood’s craftsmen invite you to enjoy their daily demonstrations as they work to create works of art and homespun masterpieces. If you’ve been to Dollywood, I hope you’ve timed it just right so you can be a spectator for one of these presentations. You get to watch the process and ask questions.
I’m excited to tell you that Dollywood is now more intentional than ever before. The craftsmen got together and planned their demonstration schedules so that you could visit each stop for 20 minutes, move to the next and finish the circuit in a couple hours.
I walked the route so I could tell you about the experience. It’s set up so you can start with the Candy Kitchen on Showstreet and finish at the Blacksmith Shop in Craftsman’s Valley, but you can jump in at any point.
On the map, the first on the list says Taffy Kitchen. On the day I went, the craftsman was actually in the Candy Kitchen—so look there if you don’t see a demonstration happening on the taffy side of the shop! Ms. Linda was cutting caramel and talking about how she’s made candy at our park for 38 years!
Mountain Blown Glass
The next stop is in Rivertown Junction. To get to Mountain Blown Glass, head up the hill toward DP’s Celebrity Theater and keep going. The shop is on your left. You’ll often see a crowd gathered for these demonstrations. The day I participated, Joe made a blown glass snowman. The 20 minutes for this demo really flies by and sometimes the process isn’t quite finished by then. Linger as long as you wish—or keep an eye on the time if you want to keep to the schedule.
Next up is a look at more glass art. The craftsmen in this shop show you how they take glass and create beautiful birthday cakes, cake toppers, ornaments and other décor. It’s amazing to watch them work with such small pieces. Most of what they create are requests from guests. Keep that in mind if you have a special occasion coming up!
Old Flames Candles
When you see Kearan at Old Flames Candles, you’re in for a treat. Her demonstration will take the full 20 minutes, so arrive ready to see transformation before your eyes. If you aren’t familiar with a “cut and curl” candle, you will be amazed. It looks so easy, but that’s because Kearan has been practicing this craft for years. You’ll learn about candle-making as well as hear stories about how she ended up with the knife that makes all the curled creations.
When you get to Stone-Penland Pottery, know that you will be looking in on any point of the pottery process. They may be throwing clay, creating a unique design, glazing, firing up the kiln, etc. You are welcome to use the 20 minutes watching, asking questions, and perusing the beautiful items.
Blacksmith & Foundry
The day I visited the Blacksmith shop on this rotation, Ivan made a knife out of a railroad spike. The blacksmith shop is iconic because it’s so recognizable—the smell, the hammering sounds, the flying sparks. You never know what they’ll be working on. As all other shops, what you see the craftsman working on will be for sale—if it’s not a special order that a guest has already requested.
These are the scheduled demonstrations you can find in the This Week at Dollywood guide you find at the park—as well as on the show schedule on the free Dollywood app. There are additional craftsmen at work. Look for Valley Woodcarvers, Smoky Creek Leather, as well as the production of cornmeal at the Grist Mill.