PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. - Family-friendly fall fun is back at Dollywood's Harvest Festival presented by Humana, thanks to the return of Great Pumpkin LumiNights. Now in its third season, Great Pumpkin LumiNights expands again this year by growing the glow to Wildwood Grove.
An overwhelming guest-favorite since it was introduced in 2017, Great Pumpkin LumiNights recently was named the country’s Best Theme Park Halloween Event in the 2019 USA TODAY 10Best Readers' Choice travel awards. This year, Great Pumpkin LumiNights includes an expanded footprint into Wildwood Grove, new harvest-themed experiences, food, and merchandise; as well as activities that are enjoyable for even the youngest guests.
Dollywood’s Harvest Festival runs Sept. 27- Nov. 2 (closed Tuesday, Oct. 22 & Tuesday, Oct. 29) with park operating hours each day from 10 a.m.–9 p.m., providing guests more time to enjoy harvest time in the Smokies. Popular pumpkin displays from past events return—like the pumpkin spider, pumpkin dance party and Dolly-inspired displays— while Wildwood Grove joins the fun for the first time with a harvest experience at The Wildwood Tree.
The Plaza at Wilderness Pass again serves as a centerpiece for the event with an area for character interaction, additional displays—and the focal point—a 40 ft. tall pumpkin tree featuring larger-than-life carved pumpkins. Families bask in the glow of thousands of intricately-carved pumpkins as they wander through displays in Dollywood’s Timber Canyon, Wilderness Pass, Wildwood Grove, and upper Craftsman’s Valley areas. Beyond the impressive displays, guests can find a number of exciting activities to create thrilling memories together.
"I’m so glad to hear families are just lovin' Great Pumpkin LumiNights," Dolly Parton said. "When I was a kid, we’d love to get pumpkins, scoop out all those guts from the inside and carve these beautiful masterpieces—at least us kids thought they were masterpieces! But, it makes me just feel good to know families are able to spend time together exploring during what really is the most beautiful time of year in the Smokies."
While Great Pumpkin LumiNights lights up Dollywood each evening, the biggest names in Southern gospel music lift their voices each day as part of the Southern Gospel Jubilee. Guests can experience more than 600 individual Southern gospel performances on stages throughout the park during the run of the festival. It's the largest Southern gospel event in America, fitting for the music icon who got her start singing in churches around the Smokies.
"God truly does turn the Smokies into His own personal coloring book during the fall," Parton added. "And nothing fits so well with those colorful fall mountains than the uplifting Southern gospel songs that fill the air with powerful praise for Him. I'm proud we’re able to have some of the best Southern gospel singers here during the Harvest Festival."
Headlining acts include The Martins (Sept. 27-28), The McKameys (Oct. 4-5), Ernie Haase and Signature Sound (Oct. 12-13), The Isaacs (Oct. 18-19), Karen Peck and New River (Oct. 20-21), Gold City (Oct. 27-28) and many more. A complete schedule of artists, showtimes and stage locations is available at Dollywood.com.
Dollywood celebrates Smoky Mountain crafts all year with the park's well-known master craftsmen. During the Harvest Festival, however, more than two dozen visiting artisans from across the country provide in-depth demonstrations including woodworking, chainsaw carvings, fiddle-making and more. Guests can find inspirational jewelry, historic handmade games, pottery, hand-painted Christmas ornaments, and even Windsor chairs available for purchase.
Autumn in the Smokies also provides a bountiful harvest of crops that allows Dollywood's culinary team an opportunity to showcase their skills with a menu full of fall favorites. Guests can find traditional items like cabbage rolls, pierogies, sausage sandwiches, skillet potatoes, apple cider, and fried apple pies. A number of new tasty treats also are on the menu, including chicken Applewood pasta, Reuben wontons, candy corn cider, and chocolate chip cookie pizza.