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What to Expect During Dollywood’s Festival of Nations

We’re ready to welcome the world!

Believe it or not (I can’t), but it’s already time for the new season to begin here at Dollywood! This is a special season—our 35th to be exact—and a year that we have packed full of great events and experiences for you and your friends and family to enjoy throughout 2020.

This year is full of anniversaries. Not only is it Dollywood’s 35th season, it is Dollywood’s Splash Country’s 20th and Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa celebrates five years this summer. But that’s not all. Our favorite springtime event, Festival of Nations, also turns 20 this year. That is really hard to believe, especially when you consider all of the great entertainment acts and friends that have visited us through the years.

The 2020 edition of Festival of Nations runs from opening day through April 20. We’ve got two great new shows, several returning favorites and the Passport to Food—oh the food! What is most fun about this festival is that it gives our guests a chance to take a trip around the world, without having to leave the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains. What’s not to love?

As I said, we have some new shows this year! First is Namaste, India. This great new show gives you a unique glimpse at India and the myriad dance forms for which the country is known. The show takes you on a journey through the states of India, each represented through dance and story. Elaborate costumes and a video wall are incorporated into the performance to create very striking visuals. Also, one of India’s most famous lyricists provides the captivating music for this production, which is presented by Beyond Bollywood. Bollywood at Dollywood, can it be any better?

Also new this season is Ole!, a hilarious show that features tremendous musicality combined with slapstick comedy from the self-proclaimed “Gypsy Kings of Comedy.” I’m not sure where to start with these guys. They are extremely talented musicians, but they are also hilarious comedians. I’m not sure what their show will entail, but their website says you can expect anything from shooting ping pong balls from their mouths to smashing eggs on stage. Do I really need to say more?

As I said, we also have many of our old friends returning. After rave reviews from audiences last season, Drumstruck returns this season with its interactive drum-theater experience. As guests enter Showstreet Palace Theater, they find drums placed in each seat throughout the venue. Members of the audience use these drums to become part of the performance!

The show last year was awesome. The group helped me out by doing some media appearances and they are so great. You’ll fall in love with them!

Our great friends from the Invaders Steel Drum Orchestra return to help transport you to the Caribbean, while Atahualpa gets you in the Festival of Nations spirit as soon as you enter the park with the group’s location at the Showstreet Gazebo. The Irish Stage at the Back Porch Theater highlights some of the greatest talent the Emerald Isle has to offer!

Guests also can let their taste buds travel the world with the Passport to Food. Returning favorites from 2019 include grilled beef skewers from Trinidad, poutine and fried cheese curds from Canada. Also, be sure to try my favorite, the beef bulgogi nachos from South Korea. New items (which I can’t wait to see if I like more than the bulgogi nachos) include chicken tikka masala with pearled couscous from India, Shepherd’s Pie from Ireland, and Beef Berbere with tomato chutney from South Africa. The new items were all selected to pair with the homes of the entertainment acts appearing at this season’s festival.

The best thing about this festival is the opportunity it provides for families to learn and explore different cultures. If you’re traveling for spring break or still planning on things to do this spring, it’s a fun educational experience your kids will love…just don’t tell them they’re learning!

Pack your bags and come see us soon! Travel safe!

By | 2021-05-28T12:58:57+00:00 March 10th, 2020|Festivals|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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