Dolly is helping bring out the Christmas spirit in kids of all ages again this year at her Smoky Mountain theme park, Dollywood. Once again, Visitors will be able to meet the beloved characters of the classic television special, "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer." Rudolph and his friends Clarice, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster and Yukon Cornelius will greet guests in Rudolph's Holly Jolly Junction. While there, families can also decorate custom Christmas cookies at Clarice's kitchen.
This year marks the final season of Dollywood’s A Christmas Carol, a unique adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic. This show uses holographic technology to bring Dolly Parton to the stage as the Ghost of Christmas past. In addition to her starring role, Dolly wrote seven new songs specifically for this musical.Dolly said,
“I’m so proud of the work everyone puts in to making Christmas such a special time for families at my Dollywood. They start putting up Christmas lights in July! It’s so beautiful and truly is the most special time of year to visit. Our entertainment team does an amazing job with all of the great shows they perform at Christmas. Why I hear they’re even going to bring back the hologram version of me one more time so you can see ‘the other Dolly’ remind ol’ Scrooge what Christmas is all about!”
During the Christmas season, guests can also enjoy several fan favorites including Christmas in the Smokies, An Appalachian Christmas, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, O’ Holy Night and Christmas with The Kingdom Heirs. Each night the Parade of Lights with larger-than-life toys and characters winds its way through the park. At Santa's Workshop, children can see Kris Kringle and share their wish list.
The park will also be filled with the heart-warming flavors of the holidays including pumpkin pies, pumpkin rolls, pumpkin spice funnel cakes and a make-your-own s’mores pit. They can also enjoy a traditional Christmas meal as several menus include holiday-themed items such as turkey and dressing, hot flavored drinks like hot chocolate and wassail are sure to keep them warm and in the Christmas spirit.
Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas begins Nov. 7, and runs through Jan. 3. Visit Dollywood online to check park hours and show times.
With sweet melodies drifting through the crisp, autumn air, Southern gospel music is well represented during Dollywood’s National Southern Gospel & Harvest Celebration presented by Humana (Oct. 2- 31).
Once again, Dollywood is home to a packed slate of Southern gospel’s premier talent. Among this year’s new acts are Ernie Hasse & Signature Sound (Oct. 4-5) and The Collingsworth Family (Oct. 7). Guests can see concerts from a number of returning Dollywood favorites including Guy Penrod (Oct. 16-17), The McKameys (Oct. 9-10), Karen Peck & New River (Oct. 2-3), The Isaacs (Oct. 19) and The Booth Brothers (Oct. 15-16).
Many other artists take to the stage throughout the festival including special concerts on the Praise 96.3 FM and Singing News stages. Dollywood’s own Kingdom Heirs also play prominently throughout the festival. Incredibly, guests can experience more than 350 concerts, all free with park admission, during the festival. Dolly said,
“Some of my earliest memories of singing come from the days when my family would stand up on the stages of those little churches here in these beautiful mountains. I’ll always remember how it felt when the trees were painted in those bright colors and the sounds of Southern gospel music echoed through the hills. I’m glad we’re able to recreate that for our guests thanks to these talented artists during my National Southern Gospel & Harvest Celebration. I love to see—and hear—Dollywood during this time of year!”
Although performing during the festival for the first time, The Collingsworth Family has made Dollywood’s award-winning rides, food and entertainment a tradition for years. After making many trips to the park, they are eager to share their talents with Dollywood guests. Phil Collingsworth Sr. said,
“It's with great excitement that we anticipate our first performances during this year’s National Southern Gospel & Harvest Celebration at Dollywood. After enjoying many Dollywood visits as an integral part of our family's vacation schedule, it’s a delight to be a part of the celebration professionally. Thank you to Dollywood for offering 30 years of great American family fun!”
The McKameys, who hail from nearby Clinton, TN, also have enjoyed spending time at Dollywood through the years. Peg McKamey said,
“Singing at Dollywood has always been a great honor for us. The facilities are wonderful and there is always an atmosphere of worship. It is a family-oriented place and we are so blessed to have Southern gospel music there during the month of October. We know the fans will enjoy every day of the festival!”
See the complete concert schedule for Dollywood’s National Southern Gospel & Harvest Celebration
Additionally, more than 40 visiting artisans from around the country join Dollywood’s own master artisans. Daily craft demonstrations illustrate how many of America’s vital products were made for centuries. During the festival, Dollywood also celebrates Tennessee Craft Week, Oct. 2-11. Celebrating fifty years, Tennessee Craft, formerly The Tennessee Association of Craft Artists, is a nonprofit organization working to continue Tennessee’s fine craft tradition.
Among the crafts, Dollywood guests can observe during the National Southern Gospel and Harvest Celebration are banjo and fiddle making, loom weaving, rug hooking, basket weaving, paper marbling, felt hat making and much more. Products for purchase also include dulcimers, various forms of jewelry, chainsaw carving, bentwood boxes, stained glass artwork and more.
Finally, Dollywood perfectly captures the essence of fall with perfectly-themed menus which take advantage of the crops from a bountiful autumn harvest. Special food locations feature various recipes including fresh apples, corn and much more.
Learn more about Dollywood’s National Southern Gospel & Harvest Celebration
Dollywood enjoyed a bountiful harvest during the theme park’s 2006 National Southern Gospel & Harvest Celebration. The park welcomed a host of Southern gospel legends along with 49 visiting crafters. Dollywood’s Southern gospel roots run deep, as does the talented roster for this year’s festival. Award-winning artists Dottie Rambo, the McKameys, the Crabb Family, the Isaacs, the Florida Boys, Karen Peck & New River, the Kingdom Heirs and many more graced the stage. And don’t forget the food! The Apple Market offered a variety of Southern heirloom apples, apple fritters and fresh-baked biscuits.
At the Appalachian Cooking Booth, guests enjoyed Southern cuisine at its finest with Smoky Mountain Spoon Bread and Granny Ogle’s Specialty Cornbread, both served with fried okra and skillet-fried corn, while The Grill offered chicken and steak kabobs. Finally, Dollywood’s National Southern Gospel & Harvest Celebration offered guests one of the country’s most prestigious gatherings of artisans.
Dollywood’s resident gospel quartet the Kingdom Heirs took home the 2004 Band of the Year Award at this year’s Singing News Fan Awards on Sept. 16. The fan-voted awards ceremony was part of the National Quartet Convention.
This is the second time the Kingdom Heirs received this award. The Kingdom Heirs recorded a new Christmas album, "The Spirit of Christmas," which they featured during the Smoky Mountain Christmas festival.