Every season brings a unique atmosphere to Dollywood, where celebrations abound. The theme park’s many special occasions mark everything from summer adventure to the Christmas spirit. Set aside a little time in your busy schedule to check out at least one of these memorable Dollywood events:
Festival of Nations
March 14-April 20
Pay homage to the world’s most fascinating cultural traditions during the Festival of Nations, which brings a variety of people and perspectives to the Smoky Mountains. During this unique event, you’ll discover a whole new world of artistic genius on display at your favorite theme park.
Top acts to check out in 2020 include the Bollywood dancers of Namaste India and the drumstick theater act known as Drumstruck. Perennial favorites from the Invaders Steel Orchestra will once again make the journey from Trinidad and Tobago to delight audiences with their Caribbean spirit.
Music and dance may attract the bulk of the attention during Dollywood’s Festival of Nations, but the cuisine is just as exciting. The park’s Passport to Food provides a delightful culinary experience, complete with selections from a variety of countries.
Barbeque and Bluegrass
April 24-May 3
Following the Festival of Nations, Dollywood goes all-American with the annual Barbeque and Bluegrass celebration. Presented by Bush’s Best, this event pairs the region’s most beloved musical style with finger-lickin’ recipes that will quickly have your mouth watering.
Performing at a variety of indoor and outdoor locations throughout the park, the likes of Rhonda Vincent and The Cleverlys will offer a toe-tapping good time. Take a moment between rides to listen to some of the genre’s most talented artists.
After you’ve enjoyed the ultimate bluegrass concert, make the most of the perfectly smoked meats and tangy sauces served at Dollywood’s most beloved restaurants. Be sure to time your BBQ sessions carefully. The offerings are so tasty, you will likely struggle to restrain yourself — and a full belly might not make for a particularly pleasant experience on your favorite rides.
Flower and Food Festival
May 8-June 14
Dollywood is always beautiful, but the theme park is particularly stunning as its many flowers reach full bloom. If you’re lucky enough to visit in May or early June, you’ll observe a variety of larger-than-life plant sculptures known as mosaicultures. These depict everything from animals to the famed Coat of Many Colors.
On Showstreet, you’ll encounter the gorgeous Umbrella Sky, which features hundreds of colorful parasols suspended above the avenue. Have your camera or smartphone at the ready; you’ll find countless opportunities to pose for photos.
June 20-August 2
The long days of summer call for extended hours at Dollywood, where you and your loved ones can continue to have a blast until late into the evening. Night owls adore this event, which includes exciting rides after dark and a spectacular fireworks show. For 2020, the Summer Celebration will also include The Gazillion Bubble Show, during which renowned bubble artist Deni Yang pulls off a series of awe-inspiring feats you’ll have to see to believe.
Thrills in the Hills
Dollywood’s 12th annual Thrills in the Hills provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the park’s top rides and attractions. Typically held in July, this event differs slightly from year to year but always proves fascinating for those intrigued by ride mechanics.
As a lucky attendee, you’ll receive an exclusive tour, plus special snacks and reserved seating for one of the park’s top shows. Best of all: you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy extended hours, which allow you to avoid the usual wait for the park’s most popular rides.
Rock the Smokies
This one-day event attracts visitors from near and far, who flock to Dollywood in hopes of enjoying the music and inspiration of Christian rock’s biggest stars. In past years, the lineup for this highly-anticipated event included For King & Country, Toby Mac, and David Crowder, among others.
To see this year’s headliners, you’ll need to purchase a dedicated Rock the Smokies ticket, which grants you access not only to all of the park’s rides, but also to top performances. If you’re determined to attend, buy your ticket early — this event has been known to sell out well in advance.
September 25-October 31
As summer draws to a close, harvest season takes over at Dollywood and throughout the Smoky Mountain region. During this special time, quaint decor is abundant, as are friendly vibes that make the already welcoming atmosphere of Dollywood that much more pleasant.
During the day, the park comes alive with the beautiful sounds of the Southern Gospel Jubilee. Additionally, artisans travel from hundreds of miles away to demonstrate their skill in a variety of crafts.
After the sun goes down, the glow of the Great Pumpkin LumiNights takes over. Stroll through the park and take in the splendor of thousands of pumpkins, several of which are featured within vast displays resembling spiders, frogs, and more. If you love fall flavors, you’ll definitely want to sample the many pumpkin-themed treats offered throughout the park. Otherwise, join loved ones and new friends for the ultimate dance party.
Smoky Mountain Christmas
November 7-January 2
Few holiday festivities match the spectacle of Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas, which provides a powerful reminder of why we celebrate and why this season is so special. The visuals alone make the park worth visiting as the weather grows cold. At Glacier Ridge, you’ll encounter a variety of sparkling displays, including a fifty-foot Christmas tree that can best be described as breathtakingly beautiful. The Christmas sounds of Dollywood are just as stunning as the sights, with hymns and Appalachian songs emanating from the park’s many venues.
Whether your dream visit to Dollywood includes musical performances, tasty treats, or awe-inspiring seasonal decor, you’ll find plenty to love about the theme park’s numerous festivals. With so much to do and see, you’ll be tempted to return on several occasions throughout the year. No matter when you visit, you will be delighted by the attention to detail and the joyous spirit found in every nook and cranny of this award-winning theme park.