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Dollywood’s Flower & Food Festival, presented by Covenant Health, is blooming to life and will be welcoming season passholders back to Dollywood on June 15. Dollywood will open to the general public beginning June 17.
“Growing up the Smoky Mountains, I learned that everything goes quiet for a spell,” Dolly Parton says in Dollywood’s welcome back video. “Then one day, everything starts to bloom and grow again!”
That couldn’t be more true for this inaugural Flower & Food Festival.
The Flower & Food Festival was originally scheduled for mid-spring, but since the park temporarily closed its doors due to coronavirus concerns, the festival was postponed for Dollywood’s June reopening with a kaleidoscope of colors and more than half-a-million flowers.
In a partnership with the internationally acclaimed Mosaicultures flower sculpting team, the multitude of flowers come to life throughout Dollywood in the form of Smoky Mountain turtles, raccoons, frogs and black bears. The floral displays reach heights up to 14 feet and celebrate the spirit of the Smoky Mountains.
“I know everyone is tired after being cooped up inside for the last few months,” says Dolly in a press release. “But I think all of us probably appreciate our family and friends even more right now. I’m glad we’re able to start welcoming folks back to the Dollywood with a brand new festival to help them make fresh memories together. Things may look a little different, but when they see all those beautiful flowers in bloom, I think it will help them take a bit of a break from everything that’s been going on.”
“When we had the idea for this festival, I definitely gave them some input because you know how much I love flowers,” says Dolly with a laugh. “But I was just delighted when my creative team told me their idea for the biggest flower display would be my mama sewing the Coat of Many Colors. I was so surprised, and I know she would be so proud they represented her in this way.”
Dolly’s rich influence through song comes alive thanks to tributes of “I Will Always Love You” and the “Coat of Many Colors” (pictured above) which is a scenic sculpture of Dolly’s mother Avie Lee.
The festival takes its blooms and brilliance throughout Dollywood, starting with photo opportunities as soon as guests step foot through the gates. Once inside the park, guests find themselves under an Umbrella Sky, an awe-inspiring sight which features more than 600 umbrellas dancing above their heads.
As part of the Flower & Food Festival, Dollywood’s team of culinary experts dug deep into the traditions of Southern and Smoky Mountain cuisine to create garden-fresh items. New food items throughout the park will include:
- Grilled citrus shrimp over delta peas and rice
- Greek orzo pasta
- Grilled chili lime skirt steak
- Chicken stir fry
- Zucchini fritters
- Lobster rolls
- Charcuterie in a cone
- Pork sliders with pineapple chutney
Desserts will feature chocolate-dipped macaroons, toasted coconut cupcakes, blueberry tarts and chocolate ganache brownies.
Guests looking for a way to cool off have a number of refreshing beverages to enjoy during the festival, including strawberry guava, blueberry lavender lemonade, blood orange lemonade and watermelon lime fresca.
Social distancing guidelines will limit the capacity of the parks on a daily basis. As a result, season passholders will be required to reserve the date and time they wish to visit, and general admission guests will purchase a date-based ticket to ensure all have a safer, socially-distanced experience. Reservations can be made at dollywood.com/reservations and on the Dollywood mobile app.
Throughout the festival, the park will be open until 9:30 pm each night and will conclude with a fireworks show.
New guidelines at Dollywood
Dollywood is implementing new safety guidelines as part of its phased reopening.
Notable guidelines include:
- Each person will have an additional 48 square feet of space
- Coasters and rides will operate at 50 percent capacity
- The Dollywood Express will likely be operating at a smaller capacity
- Contact points have been reduced at the park’s entryway
- More than 6,000 pieces of signage about social distancing and other guidelines have been added
- 300 hand washing stations are in place, including 250 hand sanitizer locations and 50 portable stations
- Family and party groups will not be put in rows with other party groups on rides and attractions
- There will be three points to exit the park: The Emporium, the turnstile area, and the groups entrance
Additional information about the safety and operational changes at the park are available at Dollywood.com/playsafe.
For more frequently asked questions about the reopening, visit the Dollywood FAQ page. Follow TheSmokies.com on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news developments on attractions in The Smokies.
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