Dollywood’s Harvest Festival runs from September 28 – November 3, 2018 mostly in tandem with it’s Southern Gospel music event. Families get to enjoy the glow of thousands of intricately-carved pumpkins as they wander through immersive harvest-themed displays throughout Dollywood’s Timber Canyon along with “Pumpkin Artists” onsite who host demonstrations showing guest how to create their own masterpieces!
This post is an update since we first visited Dollywood’s LumiNights last year. Since, then they have greatly expanded the extent of their decorations and festivities so we were excited to make the return visit!
If you are interested in seeing more of our Dollywood visit, check out the previous years blog post.
The park is open daily from 10am to 9pm throughout the event and the festival is included as part of your admission to Dollywood. We decided to go with Premier Parking for $25 instead of the standard $12 and it was WELL worth it. The Premier lot is a roughly 1 minute walk from the main entrance and has a separate ticket booth with absolutely no line. We immediately entered after purchasing tickets and started to see the many pumpkin harvest decorations.
The beauty of taking advantage of the Preferred Parking is that you enter through the back entrance to the park, completely bypassing the main crowd entering the park. We were able to quickly enter, and then without the need for fast passes, ride each of the park’s main attractions roller coasters multiple times with virtually no wait before the main crowds got to that area of the park. Score!
For the first time this year we took the time to ride Dollywood’s train! The kids had a fantastic time, but a tip is to sit in the middle seats…. you still get a great view as it chug’s its way up the mountain and provides a beautiful view, but prevents you for ash blowing in your eyes!
After a full day of rides, with exhaustion setting in, sunset finally came so we made our way to the LumiNights area and first found a booth with pumpkin carvers… pumpkin artists honestly who were working on AMAZING creations. The kids were in awe to watch their work first hand, scraping away layers of pumpkin and making carvings of just about every variety.
Dollywood does a fantastic job with their lighting and like last year, it didn’t disappoint. You can tell that it’s a popular attraction since there are crowds and you are often walking shoulder to shoulder at this point. The most impressive display that was present this year, but not in 2017 was the Christmas Tree-like Jack-O-Lantern tree that you can see below. Otherwise we enjoyed walking through the area as you approach the park’s exit that has what must be hundreds, if not thousands of hand carved pumpkins lighting the trail.
If you’ve never been… Dollywood’s Harvest Festival is the perfect time of year to make a trip to check out Dollywood and LumiNights in particular!