How Long It Takes to Turn Dolly Parton’s Dollywood Into a Winter Wonderland

by Maggie Schneider
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Dolly Parton’s Dollywood Smoky Mountain Christmas is an unforgettable holiday experience. See what it takes to create such a wonderland.

What do you get when you pair Dolly Parton and Christmas cheer? The answer is Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas. Located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, the festive celebration occurs at Parton’s famous theme-park.

Dollywood turns into a Christmas fantasy. Parades, fireworks, light shows, and spectacular decorations create a living winter wonderland. Each section of the theme park has a different holiday theme. From Peppermint Valley to an arctic tunnel, there are surprises around every corner.

“We all have our personal Christmases, but we also have that thought of what we see on TV or what we read in books of those great old Christmases,” Dolly Parton shares. The 75-year old hopes to make theme park goers’ Christmas dreams come true.

But, it takes a great deal of time to decorate the 160-acre park. The decorating process starts months in advance. While some lights never come down, others are newly installed every year. About 5,000 man-hours are spent perfecting the Christmas decor.

“Installation is a lot of early mornings and overnights,” Dollywood’s Special Events Supervisor Dalton Mitchell says.

Because the process begins so early, Dollywood employees have to hide their efforts until the holiday season arrives.

“They tuck in Christmas lights out of direct eyesight and just inch that around the park as we go along.”

Dolly Parton’s Dollywood Christmas Performances

Every winter wonderland needs some music. Dolly Parton’s Dollywood Smoky Mountain Christmas includes nine original holiday shows. The “Appalachian Christmas with the Smoky Mountain String Band,” “The Candlelight Carolers,” and “Christmas in the Smokies” are just a few of these festive productions.

Alongside these holiday-themed shows are the park’s staple acts. “Dolly Parton’s Stampede” and “Pirates Voyage” offer guests dinner and a spectacle. These all-ages performances showcase many talented singers, actors and acrobats. Horses are a part of the fun too.

Dollywood’s entertainment director Paige Bales also touches on the value of these shows.

“Many of our guests have made these performances part of their annual holiday traditions for decades. Multiple generations of guests — and even Dollywood performers — have grown up with this show,” Bales says.

How Long Does It Last?

Dolly Parton‘s Dollywood Smoky Mountain Christmas runs through January 2, 2022. But if you are looking for a family-friendly holiday experience, Dollywood is the place to be.

While the park hosts family festivals throughout the year, Christmas is Parton’s favorite time of year.

“My hope was that people could come as a family and experience what they fantasize Christmas being,” Dolly Parton also says.

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