Dollywood’s Harvest Festival Brings Fall Family Fun Home To The Smokies Dollywood’s Harvest Festival Brings Fall Family Fun Home To The Smokies

Dollywood’s Harvest Festival Brings Fall Family Fun Home To The Smokies


September 08, 2023

With pumpkins around every corner and the evening air of the Smokies developing a refreshingly crisp coolness, it can only mean one thing: Dollywood’s Harvest Festival presented by Humana has arrived! A longstanding tradition for many, including my family, the Harvest Festival greets guests with an amazing autumn atmosphere, thanks to stunning park décor and the surrounding beauty of the mountainsides draped in vibrant fall colors.

This special seasonal event opens even earlier this year – on Sept. 20 – so that we’ll all be able to make even more memories with our families and friends. And there’s so much more to see and do. During the day, guests can experience immersive live music, rich harvest-themed culinary creations and picture-perfect photo-ops among what seems like a million pumpkins throughout the park. Actually, it’s more than 12,000 pumpkins carved to look like everything from bats to frogs to owls and so much more, but when you’re in the middle of these orange beauties, it seems like a million!

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By night, the pumpkins come to life as Great Pumpkin LumiNights presented by Covenant Health. This glowing experience is a family favorite for my family as well as countless folks visiting Dollywood each fall, and there’s a new buzz as part of this year’s event because of a “bee-utiful” new display located in Craftsman’s Valley. Everyone will be buzzing for the new honey bee display located near Hug-a-Bee Honey, the interactive honey bee exhibit which debuted during the spring Flower & Food Festival. 

The bees are not the only ones creating something sweet during the Harvest Festival. Dollywood’s award-winning culinary team has been hard at work incorporating the comforting smells of sweet pumpkin treats and warm apple cider into delicious fall dishes, drinks and desserts, including a pulled pork sandwich with pumpkin spice BBQ sauce, three bean pumpkin chili, salted maple potato tornado, toasted pumpkin sausage and ricotta flatbread, and spiced pumpkin bisque with toasted pepitas. Are you hungry yet? I know that I am, and the items I just listed are just a few of the tempting tastes found parkwide as part of the Harvest Festival menu.


Want some tunes as part of your Harvest Festival day at the park? You’re in luck, because live music is at the heart and soul of fall at Dollywood with Southern gospel, bluegrass and country artists found performing throughout the park. Rhonda Vincent and The Rage, Jeannie Seely, Emily Ann Roberts, Dailey and Vincent, Triumphant Quartet, Hannah Dasher and The Isaacs are just a few of the performers set to take the stage – be prepared to sing along and enjoy some new music that just might head to the top of your musical favorites list. Performances take place on indoor and outdoor stages throughout the park, allowing the beautiful sounds to echo through the landscape here in the Great Smoky Mountains.

My family loves to take photos when we visit, and there’s a colorful new photo op right when we enter the park called Harvest Sky. We can’t wait to stand beneath the thousands of vibrant, shimmering leaves swaying in the breeze along Showstreet. Then we’ll definitely have to stand in front of the colossal pumpkins—last year’s pumpkins ranged in weight from 800 to 1500 lbs. each and came from growers across the East Coast. We also love stopping by and seeing all the visiting artisans to see what amazing handmade wares they have brought with them, with many of them demonstrating their skills and techniques while creating one-of-a-kind treasures that we can purchase to take home with us to relive our time at Dollywood this fall whenever we want.


I can’t wait to experience Dollywood’s Harvest Festival with my family – with pumpkins by day to pumpkins after dark at Great Pumpkin LumiNights. Remember, all the fall fun starts Sept. 20 and doesn’t “glow” away until Oct. 30!


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