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Dolly Parton’s Holiday Food Festival at Dollywood: A Gastronomic Wonderland

Everything you need to know about Dolly Parton’s Holiday Food Festival at Dollywood

Located in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, Dollywood is a premier amusement park known for its exciting attractions and family-friendly environment. One of the park’s highlights is the annual Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas, a holiday celebration that draws visitors from around the world. In addition to the breathtaking lights, decorations, and entertainment, the festival offers an incredible array of delicious food and beverages that will delight your taste buds. In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about Dolly Parton’s Holiday Food Festival at Dollywood.

Smoky Mountain Christmas: A Winter Wonderland

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas begins each November and runs through early January. The park undergoes a magical transformation, becoming a winter wonderland right out of a movie. This long-standing tradition is hosted by none other than Dolly Parton herself, who has been instrumental in shaping the festival since its debut in 1990.
During the festival, you can expect to be mesmerized by millions of twinkling lights, interactive light exhibits, stage shows and nightly fireworks. The park’s attractions stay open late, allowing guests to experience the thrill of roller coaster rides in a sea of glittering lights. The festive atmosphere extends beyond the park, with Dolly Parton’s Stampede dinner theater show and the DreamMore Resort getting into the holiday spirit.

Admission and tickets

The good news is that Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas is included in your regular park admission. Whether you choose a 1-day or 3-day pass, you’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the holiday festivities. In addition, guests staying at the onsite DreamMore Resort will receive TimeSaver passes, which provide expedited access to attractions and shows so you can make the most of your visit.
As part of your admission, you’ll have access to all stage productions, including the nightly fireworks show, Merry & Bright, Holiday Light. The festival also features specialty bites available at Holiday Kitchen booths throughout the park, as well as some of Dollywood’s favorite year-round eateries.

Award-winning festival

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas has won numerous awards over the years, solidifying its reputation as one of the best theme park holiday events in the industry. Since its debut, the festival has grown in popularity, attracting multiple generations of families. Dollywood has won the prestigious Golden Ticket Award for Best Theme Park Holiday Event a remarkable 13 times. The park also ranks high in USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Award voting for Best Theme Park Holiday Event.
In addition to its holiday event awards, Dollywood has received more than 40 Golden Ticket Awards and 27 Brass Ring Awards for live entertainment, the most of any theme park in the world. Insider has named Dollywood the top theme park in the United States, further cementing its status as a must-visit destination.

A Feast for the Eyes: Millions of Lights

When it comes to Christmas lights, Dollywood doesn’t hold back. Over 5 million lights illuminate the park, creating a breathtaking display. Each area of the park showcases unique and vibrant hues ranging from icy blues and cool whites to classic greens and reds. Preparation for this dazzling display begins well in advance, with planning and purchasing of lights beginning the year before Christmas. Crew members, affectionately known as “lightning bugs,” work tirelessly to install the lights overnight and in the early morning hours before the park opens. State-of-the-art lighting technology brings hundreds of Christmas trees to life, including a magnificent 50-foot-tall tree that dazzles visitors with a synchronized light show.
Even the park’s popular roller coasters get a festive makeover with seasonal lighting packages. Riding these coasters during the festival is a unique and exhilarating experience as you soar through a sea of sparkling lights.

Thrills and Coasters

Dollywood is home to nine world-renowned roller coasters, and during the Holiday Festival, you can experience the magic of these thrilling rides in a magical Christmas atmosphere. Imagine gliding over illuminated houses like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer on Christmas Eve. One of the standout coasters is Lightning Rod, an award-winning launch-style coaster that gives riders up to 20 seconds of airtime. For a more kid-friendly option, Dragonflier in the whimsical Wildwood Grove area offers a thrilling adventure for the whole family.
It’s important to note that after enjoying the festival’s delicious food, it’s advisable to wait before riding the roller coasters or engaging in any physical activity.

Culinary delights: Award-winning food

Dollywood takes great pride in its food and beverage program, and the Holiday Food Festival is no exception. Inspired by regional specialties and Southern traditions, the festival offers a wide variety of delicious sweet and savory treats that are sure to please any palate.
Throughout the park and resort, you’ll find Holiday Kitchen booths serving up festival-exclusive dishes that capture the essence of the season. From traditional favorites like roasted chestnuts and gingerbread cookies to unique creations like deep-fried eggnog and peppermint funnel cake, there’s something for everyone. Indulge in warm, comforting dishes like hearty stews and casseroles, or indulge in decadent desserts like pecan pies and apple dumplings.
Dollywood’s year-round favorites also join in the holiday festivities, offering their own special menu items that showcase the flavors of the season. Whether you’re craving classic Southern barbecue or a gourmet burger with a holiday twist, you’ll find a variety of options to satisfy your cravings.

Plan Your Visit

To make the most of your experience at Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas and Holiday Food Festival, it’s important to plan ahead. Here are some tips to help you prepare for your visit:

  1. Check festival dates: Smoky Mountain Christmas is held annually from November through January. Be sure to check the specific dates for the year you plan to visit.
  2. Buy tickets in advance: To avoid long lines and ensure you get into the park, it’s a good idea to buy your tickets in advance. Consider bundling your park admission with a stay at the on-site DreamMore Resort for added convenience.
  3. Arrive early: The festival offers a plethora of activities and attractions, so arriving early will give you plenty of time to explore and experience everything Dollywood has to offer.
  4. Dress Appropriately: Tennessee weather can vary during the holiday season, so dress in layers to stay comfortable throughout the day. Don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes for walking around the park.
  5. Plan your meals: With so many delicious food options, it’s a good idea to plan your meals ahead of time. Make a note of festival-exclusive dishes and restaurants you want to try, and consider making reservations at sit-down restaurants to guarantee a table.
  6. Take breaks and stay hydrated: The festival can be busy, so be sure to take breaks and stay hydrated throughout the day. Dollywood provides water fountains and hydration stations throughout the park for your convenience.
  7. Enjoy the entertainment: In addition to food, the festival offers a variety of entertainment options, including stage shows, live performances, and festive parades. Be sure to check the park schedule for show times and plan your day accordingly.

A festive celebration not to be missed

Dolly Parton’s Holiday Food Festival at Dollywood is a celebration of the season like no other. From the enchanting lights and decorations to the delicious food and thrilling attractions, the festival provides an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages. Whether you’re a Dolly Parton fan, a food lover, or just looking to get in the holiday spirit, Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas is the perfect destination.
Make your way to the Great Smoky Mountains this holiday season and indulge in the festive delights that await you at Dollywood. From the first bite of a holiday treat to the awe-inspiring sights and sounds, you’ll create memories that will last a lifetime. So gather your loved ones, get in the holiday spirit and embark on a magical journey at Dolly Parton’s Holiday Food Festival at Dollywood.


Dolly Parton’s Holiday Food Festival at Dollywood is a culinary extravaganza that takes place during the Smoky Mountain Christmas Celebration at Dollywood. It features a wide variety of delicious holiday-themed food and beverages for guests to enjoy.

When is Dolly Parton’s Holiday Food Festival?

Dolly Parton’s Holiday Food Festival is held annually during the Smoky Mountain Christmas Celebration at Dollywood. The festival typically begins in November and runs through early January, allowing visitors to indulge in festive treats throughout the holiday season.

Is admission to Dolly Parton’s Holiday Food Festival included in the park ticket?

Yes, admission to Dolly Parton’s Holiday Food Festival is included with regular park admission. Whether you purchase a 1-day or 3-day pass, you’ll have the opportunity to experience the festival and enjoy the delicious food offerings.

What food will be served at Dolly Parton’s Holiday Food Festival?

Dolly Parton’s Holiday Food Festival features a wide variety of foods inspired by regional specialties and Southern traditions. Expect holiday favorites such as roasted chestnuts, gingerbread cookies, deep-fried eggnog, peppermint funnel cakes, hearty stews, casseroles, pecan pies, apple dumplings and more.

Are there vegetarian or vegan options at the festival?

Yes, Dolly Parton’s Holiday Food Festival caters to a variety of dietary preferences and offers vegetarian and vegan options. You’ll find a variety of plant-based dishes and treats that will please those who follow a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle.

Can I make reservations for sit-down restaurants during the festival?

Yes, if you plan to dine at one of Dollywood’s sit-down restaurants during the Festival, it is recommended that you make a reservation in advance. This will ensure that you have a table reserved and can enjoy a leisurely meal in the midst of the holiday festivities.

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