There is something about this time of year that just makes everything seem a little more special and fun. If you’re like me, you look for any chance to share holidays and to form new traditions with the ones you love. Something I’ve looked forward to from childhood on is, well, lights! Maybe I’m a long-lost Griswold, but in my opinion, everything looks a little better with at least twenty-or-so watts behind it.
On Sept. 27, Dollywood kicked off its third annual Great Pumpkin LumiNights celebration in conjunction with the 2019 Harvest Festival, and y’all, it is pretty spectacular. From tiny kiddos to kiddos at heart (raises hand) there really is something for everyone. Here are a few of my favorite things from Great Pumpkin LumiNights 2019:
1. The Grand Scale of it All.
Thousands and thousands of real pumpkins are carved and replaced throughout the festival and set in beautiful and whimsical displays from Craftsman’s Valley, Wilderness Pass, Wildwood Grove and Timber Canyon. There are lights everywhere, festive fall instrumental music playing, and there’s even a giant pumpkin tree in The Plaza at Wilderness Pass. Literally, everywhere you look there is something glowing. I’ve been twice this season and both times I was there, people were stopping in their tracks to look around them from time to time.
2. Extended Park Hours Means Riding in the Dark!
The park stays open until 9 p.m. during Great Pumpkin LumiNights—allowing for optimal viewing of all the pumpkins and the lights but it also allows for one of my absolute favorite activities: ROLLERCOASTERS IN THE DARK! If your family consists of older kids and/or thrill seekers, there is no better view of Wilderness Pass and its giant pumpkin tree than climbing up the first hill of FireChaser Express. And, don’t be a chicken on Wild Eagle! Keep your eyes open!
3. It’s a Little Spooky, But its Certainly Not Scary.
There’s a time and a place for the more sinister side of the fall season, but Great Pumpkin LumiNights isn’t that. It’s perfect for families. All the characters in Wilderness Pass are happy and smiling—none of the displays are horror-themed. And there are stands set up all along the walking trails to purchase everything from glowing memorabilia to glow-in-the-dark face paint. Everything is self- guided, so those with little feet in tow won’t feel rushed.
Great Pumpkin LumiNights is such a fun, family-friendly sight to see for any age group, and hopefully some of my favorite things about this special celebration will make it into your family’s list as well.