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Visiting Dollywood’s Harvest Festival: A Fall Favorite Activity

Dollywood’s Harvest Festival (September & October) is one of our favorite times to visit Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, TN!

Voted America’s #1 Fall Family Event by USA Today Readers, you don’t want to miss out on the fun!

The fall season in the Smoky Mountains brings the mountains alive as they are painted with a vivid blend of colors — orange, reds, greens, and brown — as the leaves undergo their final transformation for the year.

Dollywood’s Harvest Festival includes many fun fall activities to keep your family entertained all day and night.

Below are some of the things you can find to do during Dollywood’s Harvest Festival.

pumpkin tower at dollywoods harvest festival in pigeon forge tn
Dollywood Pumpkin Tower

Fun Things to Do at Dollywood’s Harvest Festival

1. Ride Roller Coasters

Of course, riding roller coasters at any theme park is a must!

Dollywood has many different rides, from thrill rides to family-friendly rides and rides only for kids. All the rides at Dollywood are great, but a few stick out during Dollywood’s Harvest Festival.

The following thrill rides are the best to ride during the day because you can see the Smoky Mountain Fall foliage and get a good view of the park.

  • Wild Eagle
  • Lightning Rod
  • Tennessee Tornado
  • Mystery Mine
  • Drop Line

Ride times generally vary depending on the day of the week and the time of the day you visit, but expect to wait anywhere between 5 minutes – 45 minutes for most rides.

A majority of the rides provide a ‘Ride Wait Times’ screen near the entrance of the line, allowing you to see the wait times for each ride in the park.

A Large Eagle Sculpture outside the Wild Eagle Ride at Dollywood
Wild Eagle Ride

Besides thrill rides, Dollywood also has many different family rides that both kids and adults can enjoy, including the Dragonflier and FireChaser Express.

Dollywood also has an app that you can download, which gives you live wait times at the convenience of checking your pocket!

Download the app here:

2. Eat Harvest Festival Food

Would it be a festival without great food? Dollywood’s Harvest Festival means there are fall-inspired food stands scattered throughout the park for you to enjoy.

Some food examples from previous years included sweet potato poutine, smoked bratwurst, pumpkin churros, and more!

Dollywood has a variety of food options all year long but we recommend taking advantage of the festival stands during the Harvest Festival. Try buying one item from each stand, that way you and your family can try them all!

3. See the Colossal Pumpkins

When thinking of Dollywood’s Harvest Festival, the image of pumpkins immediately comes to mind. Dollywood reports having more than 15,000 pumpkins on display each year — with many being hand-carved.

Including thousands of smaller pumpkins, you can also find colossal pumpkins that are grown by people located up and down the east coast. These colossal pumpkins usually range anywhere between 300 to over 1500 pounds!

The winner of the colossal pumpkin in the year 2021 was a pumpkin that weighed…. 1617 pounds! You can find the colossal pumpkins located at the Market Square Big Skillet in Rivertown Junction.

4. Ride the Dollywood Express

The Dollywood Express is always fun to ride, no matter the season. However, it’s even better during Dollywood’s Harvest Festival as you will see all the planted fall flowers and beautiful fall colors of the Smoky Mountains.

Visit the Dollywood app for the departure times; most departures happen at the top of each hour.

5. Visit the World Class Artisans

Shop at one of the craftsman stores in Craftsman’s Valley or visit world-class artisans from across the country in the RiverTown Junction.

These craftsmen and artisans create beautiful masterpieces that would make a great gift or even a keepsake for yourself!

6. View the Great Pumpkin LumiNights

Carved pumpkin sculpture at Dollywood Great pumpkin Luminights

If you visit Dollywood during the Harvest Festival, you MUST stay until dark to see the Great Pumpkin LumiNights!

The park lights up with carved pumpkins, artistic sculptures, and entertaining scenes! You’ll be surprised as Dollywood at night during the Great Pumpkin LumiNights will look like a different park.

The Pumpkin LumiNights is family-friendly which both kids and adults can enjoy. Don’t worry, nothing “spooky” will be jumping out at you here.

Carved pumpkins at dollywood

At night, you’ll see a few Character Interactions that are great for kids. Pose for a photo with one some fun Fall-inspired characters such as:

  • Harvey the Pumpkin
  • Pumpkin Polly, Master, and Penny

These characters can be found around Wilderness Pass (near FireChaser Express).

Also, don’t forget to enjoy a Great Pumpkin LumiNights treat from one of the food stands such as maple pecan bacon funnel cakes or apple pie milkshakes. 😋

7. Ride Coasters at Night

If you have enough time and are feeling up for it, ride a few coasters in the dark. Riding roller coasters at night is always a fun experience and makes it feel like you are riding a new roller coaster all over again!

Some of the best coasters to ride at night are:

  • Lightning Rod — This coaster is completely different at night. Every turn, bump, and drop will be a surprise as it’s hard to see the track in front of you.
  • Mystery Mine — If you rode Mystery Mine during the day, you will know that half of this ride is inside and half is outside. So, when you ride this coaster at night, it’s even spookier as the mining caves are now opening into darkness! This ride will also provide a good view of some of the pumpkins from the Great Pumpkin Luminights!

Have you been to Dollywood’s Harvest Festival? What was your favorite activity?

Also Read: 15 Cozy Cabin Rentals in Gatlinburg for Your Smoky Mountain Getaway


Dollywood's Harvest Festival Pinterest Pin

Martha Searcy

Tuesday 5th of September 2023

Is there a special price just to come see the Harvest Festival with no rides?


Tuesday 5th of September 2023

Hi Martha! Unfortunately no, but we think you'd have a great time regardless!