Dollywood’s Great Pumpkin LumiNights Wins USA Today 10Best Award


Dollywood’s Great Pumpkin LumiNights has won the 2019 USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice travel award for Best Theme Park Halloween Event, thanks to votes from park supporters from around the country.

Now entering its third season, Great Pumpkin LumiNights is part of Dollywood’s Harvest Festival happening September 27-November 2, and has quickly become a new Smoky Mountain tradition. The event features family-friendly activities sure to entertain kids of every age. Dollywood is open until 9 p.m. every evening (but is closed October 22 & 29) allowing families even more time to enjoy the glow of thousands of carved pumpkins throughout the park.

The 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards include nominees selected by a panel of experts, and after four weeks of voting the results are revealed. Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights finished second to Dollywood, with Halloween Haunt at Kings Island third.

Great Pumpkin LumiNights at Dollywood. Photo by Steven Bridges.

“We knew Great Pumpkin LumiNights was a hit during the first few evenings of the event in 2017,” said Pete Owens, Dollywood Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations. “We received a lot of great feedback from guests about how much they liked it, but also about what we could add and change to make it even better. Last year, we doubled the size of Great Pumpkin LumiNights by putting in a number of new displays, and this year the event grows even larger with the addition of Wildwood Grove, which includes the harvest story experience at the Wildwood Tree.

“Awards like these give us the opportunity to share with the world what our guests already know,” he continued. “The memories made and experiences shared at Dollywood really are unlike anything found elsewhere. We hope new guests will come see why this event has earned the title of best in the country!”

Great Pumpkin LumiNights has grown again this year, stretching to the newly-opened Wildwood Grove. In addition to the pumpkin displays, the Wildwood Tree tells a Smoky Mountain harvest story several times every evening. The Plaza at Wilderness Pass serves as a main centerpiece for the event with an area for character interaction, additional displays and a 40-ft. tall pumpkin tree.

Families can bask in the glow of thousands of intricately-carved pumpkins as they meander through the displays throughout Dollywood’s Timber Canyon, Wilderness Pass and upper Craftsman’s Valley areas. Beyond the displays, guests can find a number of activities to create lasting memories together.

Dollywood’s Harvest Festival also includes several hundred performances by award-winning Southern gospel artists, making the Harvest Festival’s Southern Gospel Jubilee the genre’s largest event in America. Dollywood guests can also enjoy the artistry of visiting crafters from across the U.S. and sample the specially themed food from Dollywood’s award-winning foods team. Every day is a picture-perfect chance for families to enjoy the experiences of a Smoky Mountain harvest!

Brianna works full time in the publishing industry, passionately building books to bring to the masses. Her first fandom was Harry Potter, which she joined at age 11. Her love for books took her abroad to earn her Masters Degree at University College London, after which she lived in New York City, and now resides in Austin. She loves all things fandom including Supernatural, Doctor Who, and more. Ever the introvert, she can usually be found reading, playing with her dog, listening to music and practicing yoga. Brianna joined the Nerds and Beyond staff in 2018 where she unites her love for all things "nerd" with her passion for writing. Find her on Twitter here: @bookbag09

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