Take a trip around the world without leaving the Smokies. The Festival of Nations is hands-down, my favorite time to visit Dollywood. With world-class performers and delicious food from around the globe, it’s a great way to experience a bit of culture from somewhere you may have never visited before.
As a Dollywood Insider, I had the opportunity to visit the park on the festivals opening day. My oldest son accompanied me and while I was busy with the media event, he was traipsing from one show to another and he loved it.
Plan to spend a full day at the park to experience all that the Festival of Nations has to offer. Most of the entertainment is offered inside Dollywood’s theaters with performers from around the globe providing a glimpse into their culture.
Tip: View the show schedule prior to arriving in the park so you can plan your day and not miss a single thing!
Dollywood’s 2018 Festival of Nations lineup includes the following shows and acts:
- National Dance Company of Siberia– Founded in 1960, this renowned dance company has wowed audiences around the globe with colorful and expressive dance, traditional folk music and vivid costumes. They bring their amazing performance to life for guests in a must-see display of talent and passion. High energy, dazzling colors and authentic Siberian customs combine for an astonishing visual masterpiece. Location: DP’s Celebrity Theater
- Ladysmith Black Mambazo– These Grammy Award winners have transcended musical barriers to produce awe-inspiring projects with artists such as Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, and even Dolly Parton herself. The group, which sings of peace, love and harmony, is in its sixth decade, and has produced more than 60 albums during its existence. They won their fifth Grammy in January, this time for Best World Music Album. Location: Showstreet Palace Theater
- Los Vivancos– These Spanish brothers draw from their years of study at the prestigious Barcelona Dance Conservatory to create an eclectic style that combines flamenco, ballet, martial arts, street dance, theater and acrobatics into one thrilling, non-stop performance that truly showcases their charisma and flair. The brothers have served as guest performers on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. Location: Pines Theater
- JigJam- This quartet hails from the heart of Ireland and blends the best of traditional Irish music with the unique sound of American bluegrass to create a genre of music affectionately known as “Celtgrass.” The group has been humorously described as “the best Irish group so far in bluegrass.” Thanks to their gregarious personalities and entertaining antics, this show is an upbeat, foot-stomping good time Dollywood guests won’t want to miss. Location: Back Porch Theater
- Invaders Steel Orchestra-One of the world’s oldest and most respected steel drum bands, Invaders Steel Orchestra celebrates more than 75 years of creating festive music for audiences around the world. This guest-favorite group returns to Dollywood to bring the tropical sounds of the Caribbean to the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. While the songs they play are familiar, the unique sounds of Invaders Steel Orchestra’s drums will transport guests to a sandy beach far away. Location: The Valley Theater
- Atahualpa– Hailing from Ecuador, Atahualpa combines native Incan instruments with contemporary backups to celebrate the history and culture of the Andes Mountains. Atahualpa’s mix of songs includes contemporary music, South American dance rhythms, as well as the traditional music of the Andes. Through their sharing of music, culture and heritage, Atahualpa hopes to promote brotherhood, friendship and peace to all the people of the world. Location: Showstreet Gazebo
- Zebra Stelzentheater –Zebra Stelzentheater features German stilt dancers in original costumes who perform while roaming the streets of Dollywood. They are always looking for guest interaction, so be on the lookout for fun. This lively troop is always on the search for new friends! Location: Roaming
Just take my word for it when I say you’ll want to see them all!
Don’t forget to pack your appetite! Dollywood’s Festival of Nations culinary offerings include a variety of delectable options throughout the park. The warm, inviting atmosphere of Front Porch Café is home to several of the items, including Pad Thai, Chicken Samosas, Citrus Ancho & Coca-Cola Braised Beef Tostadas, a Cuban Sandwich and more. Other great items include Lamb or Chicken Gyros, Greek Salad, grilled Elote and a German Sausage Sampler. Satisfy your sweet tooth with Cannoli, Baklava, Apple Strudel and Crepe Suzette.
Dollywood’s Festival of Nations is truly remarkable and if you’ve had the opportunity to visit before, you’ll understand why it’s my favorite time to visit during the year but it’s not the only festival I look forward too.
The Festival of Nations will end on April 9th. The Spring Mix will kick off after the Festival of Nations ends and later in the year, I’ll return to Dollywood for Rock the Smokies to see and hear some of my favorite Contemporary Christian recording artists. And let’s not forget Christmas. It’s so hard to visit only once. Consider buying a season pass that will allow you to visit over and over again. And, if you can only visit one time, use my discount code to save $5 off each one-day ticket you purchase. Just remember that you must purchase your ticket online and print it before you arrive at Dollywood. My code is: DWINSIDERS10
You may also want to consider a stay at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort.
Have you visited Dollywood during the Festival of Nations?
© 2018, Tonya Prater. All rights reserved.