Since opening in 1986, Tennessee’s sprawling Dollywood theme park has grown to include a neighboring water park, rustic-luxe cabins, dinner shows, and the four-star DreamMore Resort and Spa. And while Dollywood’s world-renowned attractions and roller coasters get most of the attention, the park’s seasonal festivals are no slouch either.
This year, Dollywood’s Flower and Food Festival springs to life (through June 7) with more than a half million flowers, plus live entertainment and a wide selection of gourmet offerings, all set against the stunning backdrop of the Smoky Mountains and one of the best family vacation spots in the US.
Dollywood Flower and Food Festival
Here’s everything you need to know to make the most out of your family’s visit to the Dollywood Flower and Food Festival.
Topiaries and Displays
Dollywood’s Flower and Food Festival is inspired by Dolly Parton’s childhood love for the bright colors and temperate weather of spring. The festival features larger-than-life floral sculptures and landscaping that celebrate all things nature, including Dollywood’s official mascot, the butterfly. Dollywood partners with Mosaiculture International to bring to these displays, or “mosaicultures,” to life before your eyes. The depiction of Dolly Parton’s mother quilting the Coat of Many Colors is a must-see display.
Pro Tip: Grab a selfie under the stunning Umbrella Sky display, which features hundreds of colorful umbrellas that make for a truly unique photo opportunity.
With Dolly Parton serving as the park’s official “Dreamer-in-Chief,” it’s no surprise that entertainment is a big part of the Dollywood experience year-round. On any given day, you can catch a variety of shows on a number of indoor and outdoor stages throughout the park. And for the Dollywood Flower and Food Festival, the park rolls out some extra special entertainment experiences.
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Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday throughout the festival, The Melodies of Spring concert series brings nationally recognized musical acts in the Christian and Southern Gospel genres to the park. The Dollywood Flower and Food Festival also features roaming performers and shows from contestants on The Voice. This entertainment is in addition to the season-long performers who take up residency at the park—and all shows are included with park admission.
Pro Tip: Don’t miss Harmonies of the Heart, which features Parton’s own family, including her nieces and cousin. The show began as a Christmas act and became so popular it’s since been reimagined with a springtime flair.
Food and Drink
The flowers are stunning. The entertainment is captivating. But what’s on the menu? While the park is known for its award-winning Southern comfort food, the annual Dollywood Flower and Food Festival offers a wonderful opportunity for parkgoers to expand their palates. Festival-specific culinary creations can be found throughout the park at freestanding outdoor kitchens and existing restaurants.
This year’s globally inspired offerings include more than 25 menu items, like beef bulgogi nachos, mountain paella, lobster rolls, blood orange lemonade, and a lemon curd and blueberry liege waffle. It’s the perfect mix of familiar-yet-ambitious, with portion sizes designed for sharing. New for 2021, a festival dining day pass will offer five items of your choosing for a discounted price.
Pro tip: Dress for the occasion! Thanks to a slew of new Dollywood merchandise this season, you can don a shirt that features one of the park’s beloved butterfly-shaped pretzels or its now-iconic cinnamon bread. Like they say, today is a Dollywood-and-cinnamon-bread kind of day (and we are here for it!).
Maximize your time at Dollywood by staying at the park’s hotel, Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa, which is located adjacent to the theme park and water park. Stays at DreamMore come with a TimeSaver pass (Dollywood’s version of an expedited line pass). And the best part? It includes both your arrival and checkout days, which gives you plenty of time to take in the bites and sights of the Dollywood Flower and Food Festival without sacrificing any precious ride time.