What’s New at Dollywood’s Fall Festival in 2023

great pumpkin luminights entrance at dollywood in the fall

Dollywood's fall festival is a family-friendly event that is never scary (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

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As the heat of the summer winds down, another special time of year arrives. Fall is a wonderful time to see God’s handiwork on full display in the Great Smoky Mountains.

Located in the middle of the Smokies, Dollywood’s beautiful theme park is the perfect place to bask in the fall’s fresh mountain air and enjoy the cool evenings with a stroll filled with beautiful lights and decor.

By day, the Harvest Festival in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., features culinary treats, live entertainment and seasonal displays. 

By night, the family-friendly and award-winning Great Pumpkin LumiNights illuminates the park with great decorations that will glow with thousands of jack-o-lanterns and displays.

This annual guest-favorite event is presented by Humana and Covenant Health.


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How long does the Harvest Festival last at Dollywood?

Dollywood’s Harvest Festival will run from Sept. 20 through Oct. 30, 2023.

Dollywood will be observing a limited schedule throughout the event. The park will close on select days (mostly on Tuesdays and Halloween). Be sure to check dates on the Dollywood calendar for days of operation when planning your trip.

Otherwise, Dollywood will be open 10 am-9 pm each day of operation during the festival. The park naturally transitions into LumiNights each night at sunset, around 7:30 pm.

As you make your plans, remember you can get your tickets in advance with Tripster.

pumpkins at dollywood's harvest festival
Most of the pumpkins at Dollywood are real at the fall festival (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

What is there to do at Dollywood in the fall?

Dollywood’s Harvest Festival features seasonal food selections, live shows and festive handmade crafts from world-class artisans.

Guests will also enjoy listening to Dollywood’s dreamer-in-chief Dolly Parton narrate the autumnal transformation around the Wildwood tree each night.

Are the pumpkins at Dollywood real?

Yes, the majority of the 12,000 pumpkins on display at Dollywood are real. Most of the carved pumpkins are even hand-carved.

Dollywood is always outdoing itself.

The large crop of sunflowers made of real pumpkins is also expected to return.

This year’s festival will have other fan-favorite displays, including the not-so-scary pumpkin spider, the tall pumpkin tree, sunflowers and Hoot Owl Hollow – a hideaway for a gigantic, glowing owl and a dozen siblings that will roost in the trees, on top of buildings and across the hillside.

pumpkins decorated like owls as part of dollywood's hoot owl hollow
Hoot Owl Hollow is returning in 2023 (media photo courtesy of Dollywood)

What’s new at Dollywood’s fall festival in 2023?

In 2023, Dollywood debuted a brand-new family coaster, Big Bear Mountain. It’s the largest roller coaster in the park.

Also this year, Dollywood is bringing back its new Hoot Owl Hollow, which originally debuted last year. There will also be a new musical lineup and a new fall menu.

Overall, guests will be able to have a night stroll through a forest of glowing sunflowers, pumpkin frogs on lily pads, a display of Dolly’s guitar and an enchanting towering pumpkin tree.

Families will enjoy the glow around them as they wander through displays in Dollywood’s Timber Canyon, Wilderness Pass and Craftsman’s Valley areas.

The fall theme will surely create family memories and offer plenty of opportunities for photos.

Mystery Mine coaster at Dollywood during the fall festival
This view of the Mystery Mine is about as spooky as it gets at Dollywood’s family-friendly event (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

Does Dollywood have a haunted house?

No, Dollywood does not have a haunted house. LumiNights is family-friendly, never spooky and safe for all ages to enjoy.

Read Also: Halloween at Dollywood, 5 Tips and Things To Avoid (2023)

Seasonal fall treats at Dollywood’s Harvest Festival 2023

Dollywood’s culinary team has created a smorgasbord of creations to take advantage of the bountiful supply of crops provided by the Smoky Mountain harvest.

This year’s beverage lineup will include tasty selections like the Autumn Apple Palmer, Pumpkin Pie Punch and a hot Wassail.

For savory bites, the culinary team is offering delicious meals including a Harvest Pulled Pork Sandwich, Pumpkin Sausage and Ricotta Flatbread, a Smoked Brat Sandwich, Pulled Pork Loaded Mac & Cheese and Three Bean Pumpkin Chili.

And last but not least, some of the desserts and sweet treats will include Pumpkin Pie Funnel Cake, a Belgian Waffle Heath Ice Cream Sandwich and a Pumpkin Spice Milkshake.

Excited to try the treats? Dollywood is offering a Harvest Festival Tasting Pass so guests can try up to five festival foods for $39.99 during the event. Gold and Diamond passholders can save $3 off the tasting pass.

Of course, Dollywood is also well known for its delicious cinnamon bread, which is available year-round. But basically, no trip to the theme park is complete without it.

Visit Dollywood’s website for the full lineup of food items and where to find them.

Pumpkin Guitar at Dollywood's Harvest Festival
Dollywood’s fall celebration is an award-winning event (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

Dollywood is the ‘Best Theme Park Halloween Event’

Dollywood has been nationally recognized for its Great Pumpkin LumiNights event, once winning the USA Today’s top spot for “Best Theme Park Halloween Event”.

Dollywood’s competitors included fan favorites such as Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios and Knott’s Scary Farm. This year, the park has once again been nominated for the USA Today 10Best Award for Best Theme Park Halloween event. You can vote online for the event here.

Read Also: 11 Ways To See the Smoky Mountains in the Fall (2023)

Live fall shows and entertainment at Dollywood 2023

Finally, no festival at Dollywood is complete without award-winning entertainment and concerts.

Several genres are represented with a wide range of Southern gospel and bluegrass artists, as well as Americana acts and classic country performers.

Some of this year’s performers will include:

  • Monroeville
  • Kim Carson and the Real Deal
  • Cruz Contreras
  • Mike Snodgrass
  • The Young Fables
  • A.R.M.D. Vasilios
  • ETSU Bluegrass Band
  • King James Boys
  • Rhonda Vincent and the Rage

There are also many more, so be sure to visit Dollywood.com for the full lineup and schedule of performers.

As you make your plans, look for special offers when you stay at a Dollywood resort, like Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa.

Have you been to Dollywood’s fall family event? Let us know your favorite places to visit in the fall in the comments below.

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Photo of author


Morgan Overholt

Morgan is the founder Morgan Media LLC, a graphic design agency and the co-founder of TheSmokies.com LLC – a media company that specializes in regional travel sites.

2 thoughts on “What’s New at Dollywood’s Fall Festival in 2023”

  1. We enjoyed Dollywood Luminights in 2020. The pumpkins were beautiful. The crafters were awesome! And the food was great. Be sure to stay till dark and make the loop around the whole park to enjoy all of the lit pumpkins!

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