Your Complete Guide to All of the Annual Dollywood Festivals

The sign at the entrance to Dollywood.

Dollywood is the most popular ticketed attraction in the state of Tennessee! Owned by legendary country singer Dolly Parton, this amazing theme park in Pigeon Forge is visited by 3 million annual guests. Throughout the year, Dollywood hosts a number of awesome festivals that bring special entertainment, decorations, and food to the park. To help you make the most of your next vacation, Hearthside Cabin Rentals has put together a guide to all of the incredible Dollywood festivals.

A giant pumpkin at the Dollywood Welcome Center during the Harvest Festival.

Harvest Festival

In October, Dollywood celebrates the arrival of fall with a month long Harvest Festival. As the trees in the Smoky Mountains burst with beautiful colors, the theme park brings in musicians and artisans from around the country for five weeks of fun.

This year, Dollywood is introducing a brand new attraction for the Harvest Festival: Great Pumpkin LumiNights. After the sun sets, the park will come alive with thousands of carved and illuminated jack-o-lanterns sporting whimsical designs. The LumiNights will also feature pumpkin carving demonstrations, glow in the dark face painting, meet and greets with friendly Halloween characters, a glowing maze, and special fall foods.

During the Harvest Festival, Dollywood will host more than 300 free concerts from some of the biggest names in Southern gospel music. To see when your favorite artists are visiting the park, check out the official Harvest Festival show schedule.

The Harvest Festival will also feature visiting artisans and craftspeople who demonstrate their trades throughout the park. Guests can expect to see glass blowing, woodworking, blacksmithing, jewelry making, and many other skilled crafts.

Beautiful holiday lights at the Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival at Dollywood.

Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival

Smoky Mountain Christmas is another one of the most popular Dollywood festivals! Running from early November through January 1, this annual tradition transforms the theme park into a winter wonderland complete with millions of holiday lights, special shows, and wonderful Christmas music.

A highlight of the festival for young visitors is the chance to meet Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and all of his friends from the classic Christmas special. Your kids will love posing for photos with Rudolph, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius, and Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster!

Each night of the festival, the theme park hosts the Parade of Many Colors, which features colorful floats, interactive characters, and a few surprises. These parades are the perfect way to get into the Christmas spirit!

As noted earlier in the article, Dollywood is famous for its holiday shows! Some of the most talked about shows that run during the Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival include It’s a Wonderful Life, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, O’ Holy Night, and Christmas in the Smokies.

Butterfly flower arrangement at Dollywood.

Festival of Nations

The Festival of Nations kicks off Dollywood’s spring season with a bang! Running from mid-March through mid-April, this beloved festival brings performers from all around the world to Pigeon Forge.

While the lineup changes a bit each year, some of the entertainment you can expect to see at the Festival of Nations includes African dancing and acrobatics, Swiss yodeling, Caribbean steel pan orchestral music, Polish folk dancing, Peruvian flute music, and many more great acts.

In addition to all of the wonderful music and dancing, guests can also enjoy delicious international cuisine. Some of the tasty dishes from past years include Colombian pork tacos, Chinese beef lo mein, Italian flatbreads, and Japanese teriyaki.

A bluegrass band performing at Dollywood.

Barbeque & Bluegrass Festival

The Barbeque & Bluegrass Festival is all about two of Tennessee’s greatest traditions: finger-licking BBQ and finger-picking bluegrass music! Running for 10 days in May, this awesome event never disappoints.

Over 50,000 pounds of meat are cooked at the Barbeque & Bluegrass Festival each year, so you better come hungry! Guests will find all of their BBQ favorites, including ribs, pulled pork, smoked chicken, smoked sausage, and classic side dishes.

As guests enjoy the delicious food, they can listen to fantastic bluegrass music from big name acts visiting the theme park. Dollywood will host over 250 concerts during the festival, and all of the music is completely free with park admission.

Scenic photo of the Dollywood Grist Mill.

Summer Lives Here Festival

The Summer Lives Here Festival is a can’t-miss part of any summer vacation in Pigeon Forge! From mid-June through early August, Dollywood celebrates summer with extended hours and a number of special traditions.

During Summer Lives Here, the theme park typically stays open until 10 p.m. each evening, so guests can experience even more rides and shows than usual. You’ll definitely want to stick around for the nightly fireworks displays (a.k.a. Dolly’s Nights of Many Colors), which are synchronized to original music composed by Dolly Parton.

The Summer Lives Here Festival also features spectacular entertainment. Some of the shows that typically run during the festival include Gazillion Bubbles, My People!, Gem Tones, and Dreamland Drive-In.

Stunning mountain views from the deck of a cabin rental in Pigeon Forge.

Where to Stay Near Dollywood

When you stay with Hearthside Cabin Rentals, you can attend all of the annual Dollywood festivals! Our cabins are just minutes away from Dollywood, Dollywood’s Splash Country, and all of the attractions on the Parkway. With everything from 1 bedroom cabins to 18 bedroom cabins, we are guaranteed to have the perfect property for your vacation. To start planning your getaway, browse our selection of cabins in Pigeon Forge!

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