The leaves are changing, the air is crisp, and one thing is for certain—Dollywood guests are sure to have a “hoot” during this year’s Harvest Festival presented by Humana (Sept. 23- Oct. 29).
Why will they have a hoot? Well thanks to a new area of Great Pumpkin LumiNights presented by Covenant Health, they are going to be pulling an “owl-nighter” in order to experience it “owl!” Ok, enough puns. I know you’re “owl” ears hoping to hear more! Now, I’m finished.
Appropriately named Hoot Owl Hollow, the new area features hundreds of pumpkins in Craftsman’s Valley that celebrate the nocturnal creature, including a massive 14’ tall version created with more than 150 carved white pumpkins. It’s just the latest addition to this event which has overwhelmingly become one of America’s favorite fall family destinations
A longstanding tradition for so many, the Harvest Festival will greet you with the vibrant colors you expect during fall in the Smokies. Our teams do an amazing job with landscaping and décor to accent the autumn atmosphere and bring the beauty right into the park, making it ripe for you to create your picture-perfect pumpkin photo ops to share with friends!
At night, Great Pumpkin LumiNights, one of the nation’s premier family-friendly harvesttime events, provides bushels of memories for your family, thanks to thousands of glowing and carved pumpkins throughout Dollywood. For those with small children—or anyone looking for a fun, not scary experience—this event is certainly the cream of the crop. Families can bask in the glow as they wander through displays in Dollywood’s Timber Canyon, Wilderness Pass, Wildwood Grove and Craftsman’s Valley areas. Beyond the impressive displays, guests can find a number of exciting activities to create long-lasting memories together.
No festival at Dollywood is complete without award-winning entertainment, and the Harvest Festival certainly delivers. Several genres are well-represented with a wide-range of Southern gospel and bluegrass artists, as well as Americana acts and classic country performers scheduled to appear. In all, more than 1900 performances take place during the Harvest Festival. Thanks to our entertainment team for all of the work they put into pulling together all this great music!
Fresh off a top-five finish on America’s Got Talent, Chapel Hart graces the stage of DP’s Celebrity Theater on Oct. 2. Country music legend John Anderson—known for hits like Swingin’, Seminole Wind, and Straight Tequila Night—visits the park on Oct. 10. Contemporary Christian group Sidewalk Prophets visits Sept. 28, while Southern gospel favorites including The Collingsworth Family (Sept. 26), Karen Peck and New River (Oct. 5), Triumphant Quartet (Oct. 19) and The Isaacs (Oct. 21) also entertain guests throughout the festival. Bluegrass is well represented with Rhonda Vincent and the Rage (Oct. 24), Dailey & Vincent (Oct. 24) and more set to perform. Knoxville’s Emily Ann Roberts—who placed second on season nine of NBC’s The Voice—performs Oct. 20.
A complete schedule can be found on Dollywood.com. Performances take place on indoor and outdoor stages throughout the park, allowing the beautiful sounds to echo through the surrounding hillsides and create a highly-engaging entertainment offering.
Dollywood’s culinary team has created a smorgasbord of creations to take advantage of the bountiful supply of crops provided by the Smoky Mountain harvest—this could very well be my favorite part of the festival. The smells of smoked bratwursts, turkey legs, or smoked andouille sausage mac and cheese pair nicely with the fresh tastes of sweet potato poutine, spiced pumpkin bisque and BUSH’S three bean pumpkin chili. For sweet treats, the ever-popular pumpkin spice is in full supply with items ranging from pumpkin spice churros with pumpkin fluff to pumpkin spice iced coffee. Items like the maple pecan bacon funnel cake, hot apple cider, wassail or an apple pie milkshake are perfect to carry and enjoy while admiring the beauty of Dollywood in the fall.
Several other guest favorites return to the Harvest Festival, including the colossal pumpkins—last year’s pumpkins ranged in weight from 800 to 1500 lbs. each—which come from growers across the East Coast. Visiting artisans and makers display their handmade wares at locations throughout Dollywood, with many demonstrating the talented skills and techniques they use as they create their one-of-a-kind treasures. My tip: go check out John Bielik and paper marbling. You’ll leave amazed!
The Harvest Festival fun also is celebrated at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa with themed activities and harvest décor planned throughout the resort’s property.
Guests can enjoy live entertainment by featured Harvest Festival performers in the resort’s atrium every Tuesday including performances by The Young Fables, The Woods, Billy and Cruz Contreras, the High Beams, and Kate and Corey. Daily roaming performers also can be found throughout the resort.
The resort’s culinary team is cooking up special dining experiences, including an unforgettable wine pairing event on Saturday, Oct. 23. In The Lounge, Guests can feast upon delicious Harvest-themed food and beverage options. At The Spa at DreamMore Resort, Guests can relax with special treatments infused with fall scents and ingredients. For Dollywood’s Harvest Festival, Guests can choose from treatments that are reminiscent of harvest in the Smoky Mountains such as the Honey Chai Massage or Luminous Pumpkin Facial. And remember, you don’t have to be staying at the resort to enjoy any of these amenities.
Dollywood is open 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. each day of operation (Sept. 23- Oct. 29) during the Harvest Festival. And remember, the park is closed on Tuesdays throughout the festival. I hope to see you here for “owl” the fun. Ok, now the puns are finished.