Dollywood in East Tennessee takes springtime to a new level by serving up both a display of Mother Nature’s finest handiwork and some of the most impressive menu items during its Flower & Food Festival. Now through June 11, elaborate floral installations will emerge around every corner, with more than a million blooms coming together to create a presentation of color.
Plants and flowers have been transformed into an array of woodland creatures one might find during a hike in the Smokies, including playful bears, meandering turtles, chatty mallard ducks and rascally raccoons. But perhaps the most popular sculpture of all depicts a person who once called these mountains “home”: Dolly Parton’s mother, Avie Lee, stitching the famed Coat of Many Colors.
New this year: Beehives!
Another popular “human” figure made from plants is the beekeeper sculpture located in the park’s Craftsman’s Valley section. New this year, a real keeper will display beehives, showcase beekeeping techniques and educate park guests about the importance of nature’s noble pollinator, the honey bee.
And that talk of honey is the perfect tie-in to the culinary side of this annual festival. The Flower & Food Festival menu was inspired by fresh spring flavors, then given some Smoky Mountain flair. This year’s menu includes a Cuban sandwich with mojo sauce, street tacos, pretzel crab melt, grilled shrimp mac & cheese, beef bulgogi nachos, street corn salad, quinoa salad, berry and honey funnel cakes, and hand-decorated cookies and cupcakes with a flower theme.
For those who can’t choose among all the delicacies, Dollywood offers a “tasting pass” that lets guests partake in a variety of food items. The pass, which can be purchased in the park or online, costs $36.99 plus tax and allows guests to sample five food offerings at special locations.
And as if all this wasn’t exciting enough, Dollywood is debuting Big Bear Mountain, the longest roller coaster in the park’s history. The ride pays homage to the Smokies’ favorite critter, the ubiquitous black bear and serves as another reminder of the natural wonders of the region.
Learn more about Dollywood here.