Nowhere does fall make its arrival so abundantly known as in the Smoky Mountains, and Dollywood's annual National Gospel & Harvest Celebration presented by Humana (Now until Oct. 31; closed Tuesdays & Thursdays) honors the season with special music, crafts and food.
Southern gospel music takes top billing during the monthlong festival with more than 200 free concerts. Some of the artists appearing include The McKameys (Oct. 9 & 10), The Ball Brothers (Oct. 9 & 10), Brian Free & Assurance (Oct. 11 & 12), Michael Combs (Oct. 12), Legacy Five (Oct. 11 & 12), The Kingsmen (Oct. 16 & 17), Mark Bishop (Oct. 16 & 17), The Crist Family (Oct. 18 & 19), The Greenes (Oct. 18 & 19), The Inspirations (Oct. 23 & 24), The Whisnants (Oct. 23 & 24), Mark Trammell Trio (Oct. 25 & 26), The Isaacs (Oct. 25 & 26), Karen Peck & New River (Oct. 30 & 31) and The Perrys (Oct. 30 & 31). Plus, Dollywood's own award-winning Kingdom Heirs quartet performs daily.
Southern gospel and bluegrass music share a common ground with great songs deeply rooted in beautiful vocal harmonies and a powerful message. In addition to a lineup of gospel music's most popular acts, the festival welcomes special gospel performances by Riders in the Sky (Oct. 2 & 3), Chris Hillman & Herb Pedersen (Oct. 4 & 5), Dailey & Vincent (Oct. 18 & 19), and The Gibson Brothers (Oct. 14 & 21).
All concerts are included with Dollywood admission. A complete concert lineup is available at dollywood.com.
The country's most talented crafters visit Dollywood throughout the festival, showcasing a one-of-a-kind display of beautiful and unique artistry as well as up-close demonstrations as they create their works of art. Craft demonstrations include woodturning, spinning, dyeing, basket weaving, wool rug hooking, papermaking, and weaving. Crafters also will make hats, sorghum, fiddles, Windsor chairs, rugs, woodworking tools, and rope. Other featured crafters' booths will showcase stained glass, handmade jewelry, woodcarvings, glassworks, dulcimers, harps, oil and acrylic artwork, games, toys and more. Dollywood's 18th annual Woodcarving Showcase and Competition, one of the Southeast's top woodcarving events, takes place Oct. 2-4 with daily demonstrations by master carvers who showcase this unique art form through a variety of carving styles. This year's competition features a special competition honoring Great Smoky Mountains National Park's 75th anniversary. The exhibit will be displayed throughout the event. Each day also features a special carving competition. The Team Carving Championship is slated for Oct. 2 (2 p.m.) The Whittling Competition takes place Oct. 3 (1:30-3:30 p.m.) and the always-fun Pumpkin Carving Competition wraps things up on Oct. 4 (1:30-3 p.m.)
Rusty's Trailblazing Chuckwagon returns to this year's festival, bringing with him the nostalgia of the Western frontier as Rusty shares stories of feeding hungry cowboys from his completely restored 1901 John Deere wagon. From "tongue to tailgate," Rusty's working wagon is an accurate model of chuck wagons that date back to the 1860s. His trusty Dutch oven is the vessel through which Rusty prepares a variety of campfire dishes that are slow-cooked over an open fire. And don't miss Rusty as he shares the secrets behind the age-old technique of cowboy coffee.
The autumn harvest provides all the makings for some mouthwatering dishes which are featured on the menus at the various restaurants and special food booths throughout Dollywood. Maters & Taters serves Dollywood's signature red bliss potatoes & fried green tomatoes, while the Apple Market features fried apple pies. Dollywood's chefs' favorite Southern recipes shine throughout the festival.
Dollywood is a 150-acre family adventure park in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. Open nine months a year (March 28, 2009-Jan. 2, 2010), Dollywood offers more than 40 rides and attractions; award-winning live entertainment featuring country, bluegrass, gospel and mountain music; and a dozen crafters authentic to the East Tennessee region. For more information, call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD or visit dollywood.com. Operating days and hours vary.
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