If you’ve not had the chance to visit Dollywood’s Harvest Festival presented by Humana, now is the time. With more live music than any event in our history, the beauty of fall in the Smokies during the day and the fun of thousands of glowing pumpkins at night, this year’s festival is the best yet. If you’re considering coming over from the Charlotte area, we’re ready to welcome you to experience the excitement of a Smoky Mountain harvest.
After being named by USA Today as the country’s best fall theme park event last year, we wanted to make sure we continue to deliver the absolute greatest experience for our guests. When our hard-working team came back with their plans for this year, it was easy to see they were making the case to earn the award again this year. They’ve made several changes that kept the festival fresh, while also leaning on many of the same warm traditions that have made this event a favorite for so many.
As the public relations team representative who visits Charlotte, I’ve made the drive through Gastonia, Shelby and Asheville many times during my career. It is always striking as you begin to enter the Great Smoky Mountains, but nothing is as spectacular as making the drive during the fall. With the leaves changing, you are enveloped in color as you make your way along interstate 40.
Once you arrive in Pigeon Forge, you’ll notice everything just feels different this time of year. The warm autumn sun casts the surrounding mountains in bright daylight, displaying the rich, bold hues which blanket the hillsides around the park. While the splendor of the mountains highlights the experience, you’ll see during the day, there will be a few new surprises waiting for you as well.
Throughout Dollywood, you’ll see reinvigorated decorations and visually-impactful landscaping techniques that really immerse you in a fresh, new look for the festival. It will be hard to overlook one of the festival’s newest additions, more than a dozen colossal pumpkins which range from 800 to more than 1500 lbs. each. The massive displays come from growers across the East Coast who are eager to share their prize pumpkins with park patrons.
At night, Great Pumpkin LumiNights presented by Covenant Health continues its expansion into Wildwood Grove, providing more pumpkin perfection to enjoy. In only its fourth year, Great Pumpkin LumiNights has given families a multitude of memories to glow about.
As you make your way through the park, you’ll experience the sounds of both bluegrass and Southern gospel music ringing throughout Dollywood from additional open-air stages, bringing the music outside to create a highly-engaging entertainment offering. More than 800 concerts take place during the run of the festival from artists appearing on eight different outdoor stages! That’s more performances during any festival in Dollywood’s history! Additional artists can be found roaming the park, literally taking the music to the streets!
Culinary creations abound, thanks to the bountiful supply of crops from a Smoky Mountain harvest. The smells of smoked beef brisket pair nicely with the fresh tastes of fried green tomatoes, fire-roasted corn and sweet potato casserole. For sweet treats, the ever-popular pumpkin spice is in full supply with items ranging from pumpkin spice milkshakes to pumpkin praline funnel cake. Hot wassail, harvest kettle corn and more are perfect to carry and enjoy while admiring the beauty of Dollywood in the fall.
With so many opportunities for creating vibrant new family traditions, Dollywood’s Harvest Festival is a must-see experience this season. The park is open 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. each day of operation (now- Oct. 31) during the festival. The park is closed on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the festival.
If you’re driving over from Charlotte on your fall break and would like to get the most out of your visit, consider purchasing a two-day ticket. With the two-day ticket, you’ll be able to enjoy all the great food, concerts and fun of Great Pumpkin LumiNights, as well as all of our great rides and attractions.