Dollywood Flower & Food Festival is introduced, as the park reopens for the 2020 Season. With the parks namesake being a lover of food and flowers, it’s only appropriate that she is celebrating her favorite things this year!
Dollywood Flower & Food Festival
Dollywood, the celebrated theme park in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee, opened for its 35th season last week, putting into place new health and safety protocols along with an array of bright flowers and fabulous new culinary offerings. The first-ever “Flower & Food Festival presented by Covenant Health” was originally scheduled to launch in mid-spring, but instead has debuted as the park welcomed its first guests of this delayed season, on Monday, June 15.
The award-winning theme park got a huge dose of dazzling color thanks to larger-than-life plant sculptures crafted out of more than half a million flowers. The colossal displays reach heights of up to 14 feet and celebrate the natural beauty and creative spirit of the Smoky Mountains and the park’s namesake, Dolly Parton. Bright flowers also line walkways, embellish buildings and accent landscaping throughout the park.
The festival takes its blooms and brilliance throughout the park, starting with photo opportunities as soon as you step foot through the turnstiles. Once in the park, those guests find themselves under an Umbrella Sky, an awe-inspiring sight that features more than 600 colorful umbrellas dancing above your head.
Perhaps even more impressive than the blooms and umbrellas themselves is the fact that Dollywood’s own team of hosts, who were busy implementing more than 700 new changes aimed at keeping guests safe and healthy in our current environment, also became master gardeners and umbrella-hangers over the past few weeks. The festival is presented in partnership with an acclaimed company called Mosaicultures, but only two members of the international gardening and design team could get to Tennessee to transform the park. That means that Dollywood’s own team is learning quite a bit about tending to colorful flowers of every size and species.
“I know everyone is tired after being cooped up inside for the last few months, but I think all of us probably appreciate our family and friends even more right now,” Dolly Parton said. “I’m glad we’re able to start welcoming folks back to 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.”
Parton, who loves flowers and truly appreciates the natural surroundings of the Smoky Mountains, provided input about what she’d like to see among the displays. Some blooms have turned into favorite Smoky Mountain residents like turtles, racoons, frogs and black bears, while others transformed into a floral heart umbrella that pays tribute to the classic song “I Will Always Love You.”
The signature piece is one that’s truly special, however:a giant floral sculpture of Avie Lee Parton sewing her daughter’s famed Coat of Many Colors. “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,” Parton said. “I was so surprised, and I know she would be so proud they represented her in this way.”
The flowers are only half the story of this festival. The second half – the food – demonstrates the park’s creativity in an entirely different way. The parks team of culinary experts dug deep into the traditions of Southern and Smoky Mountain cuisine and their own interests and imaginations to create new items that are sure to delight.
Menu offerings include the following:
- 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
- Chocolate-dipped macaroons
- Toasted coconut cupcakes
- Blueberry tarts
- Chocolate ganache brownies
- Blueberry lavender lemonade
- Blood orange lemonade
- Watermelon lime fresca
New guidelines are in place at the park to limit capacity and allow for proper social distancing. Season pass-holders are encouraged to make a reservation to ensure they may visit on the date of their choice, and general-admission guests can purchase date-based tickets in advance of their visit. These systems guarantee entry to the park, but walk-up guests will also be admitted as space allows.
Reservations can be made at www.Dollywood.com/reservations and on the mobile app, where a how-to video demonstrates the process. Guests should book their reservations early to ensure the dates of their choice. Additional information and a video detailing the safety and operational changes at the park are available for review at www.Dollywood.com/playsafe and on the mobile app.
For more information, call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD or visit dollywood.com. Operating days and hours vary.
Throughout the festival, the park will stay open until 9:30 p.m. every night to allow families more time to make memories together. Additionally, each evening concludes with a fireworks show designed to put an exclamation point on the day.