Dollywood’s Festival of Nations

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The Festival of Nations at Dollywood brought the world’s cultures together in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains. This annual event transformed the theme park into a vibrant tapestry of global diversity, featuring performances, delicious food, and artisanal crafts from various nations.

Metal globe sculpture at Dollywood.

I was a guest of  The following post was written after I experienced firsthand the Festival of Nations at Dollywood.  Opinions and grammatical errors are my own.

Dollywood’s Festival of Nations took place throughout the park in March of each year.  The guest-favorite event featured food and performances from around the globe all in one place – Dollywood. The following was written in 2018 while the festival was still taking place.

Festival of Nations:  The Food

A World of Flavors sign.

There’s no better way for guests to start (or finish) their world culinary journey than to stop at Spotlight Bakery near the entrance and trying Baklava (Greece), Apple Strudel (Germany), Cannoli and Large Chocolate  Dipped Biscotti (Italy), S’more Cookie Bars (USA), Toffee Brownie Trifle (England), or Tres Leches Cake (Mexico).


For a satisfying meal, dishes honoring countries from around the world can be found at the Front Porch Cafe, where guests can order Chicken Samosas with Coconut Cilantro Chutney (South Africa), Citrus Ancho & Coca-Cola Braised Beef Tostada (Mexico), a Cuban sandwich, Bobotie (South Africa), Chicken Tofu Pad Thai (Thailand), as well as Vanilla Bean Crème Brulee (France).

Bowl of Pad Thai.

Tastes from Germany (German Sausage sampler on a stick) and Spain (Paella) can be had at Market Square.  At the Market Square Booths, guests can enjoy Elote with Pimente Espelette and Elote Con Queso (Mexico), or delve into tasty Crepes (France)!

Nutella crepe topped with strawberries.

Guests can also celebrate the United States of America by enjoying a funnel cake customized with mouthwatering toppings.

Funnel cake with ice cream and Reese's cups.

Festival of Nations:  The Shows

The second best thing about the Festival of Nations (the food is the best thing, naturally), is the shows!  Incredible performers from around the world share their culture through world-class performances – all included with admission to Dollywood.  The 2018 lineup features acts from four continents plus a Caribbean nation.

National Dance Company of Siberia

Siberian Dance Company on stage.

The National Dance Company of Siberia is amazing!  The female dancers come out in gorgeous costumes and appear to glide on the stage.  It’s truly mesmerizing.

Siberian dancers on stage.

The male dancers are equally talented and don’t disappoint guests with their Russian squat dancing.

The Flamenco Kings

The Flamenco Kings star Los Vivancos – seven brothers from Spain who each speak a minimum of three languages and play at least 2 musical instruments each.

Flamenco King playing string instrument.

If that wasn’t enough, the brothers are also award-winning dancers who combine Flamenco, martial arts, and ballet into their performances.

Flamenco Kings on stage.

Zebra Stelzentheater

Gnomes taking pictures.

The Zebra Stelzentheater can be found roaming the streets of Dollywood, bringing their good-hearted German fun to Tennessee.  They are often spotted taking pictures of Dollywood guests with their micro-cameras.

Additional 2018 Shows:

  • Ladysmith Black Mambazo has a unique Mbube vocal style and they share their music along with the history and culture of South Africa.
  • Invaders Steel Orchestra brings the tropical sounds and amazing musicianship of one of the Caribbean’s most recognized steel pan orchestras.
  • JigJam, the “best Irish group so far in Bluegrass” by Irish American News, bring their award-winning sound from the heart of the midlands of Ireland to Dollywood.
  • Atahualpa shares the history and culture of the Andes Mountains in Ecuador through beautiful traditional music, dance, and fun.

Remember, all of the shows are included in the price of admission.  Tickets can be purchased online or at the gate.

Event Schedule

Other events taking place at Dollywood during the 2018 season are:

  • Spring Mix (April 11 – 29) – concert series features three weeks of classic artists, country legends, inspirational hits, and more.
  • Barbecue and Bluegrass (May 25 – June 10) – barbecue and performances by Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Dailey & Vincent, The Grascals, and many more.
  • Summer Celebration (June 16 – August 5) –  extended park hours, exciting summer entertainment, and nightly fireworks.
  • Thrills in the Hills (July 13 & 14) – behind-the-scenes tours and exclusive ride time on some of your favorite Dollywood roller coasters.
  • Rock the Smokies (August 25) –  a time of worship unlike any other during Dollywood’s Rock the Smokies featuring a number of the genre’s biggest acts, including Toby Mac and Crowder.
  • Harvest Festival (September 28 – November 3)
  • Smoky Mountain Christmas (November 10 – January 5) – the Smokies’ most spectacular light display and a lineup of live Christmas shows that celebrate the true meaning of Christmas, all at Dollywood.

With all that Dollywood has to offer, it might be a good investment to purchase season passes.

For more information about Pigeon Forge, visit

This post about the Festival of Nations originally appeared on Southern Kissed on March 27, 2018.

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