The annual Festival of Nations is in full swing at Dollywood. The cool temperatures belie the hot action on stage, as performers from 20 countries present glimpse of their rich cultures with music, dance, food, and art. Here is a quick overview with some of the highlights for 2014.
Have you ever been to Columbia? Here is some dancing in the exotic costumes of various regions of the country. As you hear lots of percussion, remember that shows at Dollywood all feature live artists, which adds a vibrant atmosphere to the performance.
Who knew of the strong Celtic and Gaelic influences contained within the borders of Canada? If you watch this show, you will learn that all banjoes are not created equal and that instruments can be combined in new ways to create unique sounds.
This is the show Craig Ross talked about, Mother Africa. A world-class combination of African rhythms setting the pace for dancing and acrobatics, it is way too deep to explain it here. We enjoyed it so much we went twice during our visit.
Comedy and culture are featured in Moscow Nights. They even make audience temporary members of the band. If you watch the interaction with the spoon player, he cracks up the band. And watch the young boy out front, it won't be long before he is performing full time. With their compilation of Russian folksongs, they have something for everyone.
Have you every attended a performance that featured a harp and a set of bongos? If you go to Dollywood you can see this for yourself. Direct from Paraguay, Ramon Romero proves that his harp has strings of fire. The African rhythms provide a solid beat, but who doesn't enjoy a bongo solo.
All good things must come to an end, but this day's parade featured something special. None other than Dolly Parton herself. She was visiting the park to help open FireChaser Express, and great her many fans. During the day she had surprise walk-on visits at various show venues. It is hard to determine who enjoyed her the most, the performers she joined, or the audience because everyone was thrilled she was there. The parade occurs everyday, and many guests followed the end, with the children waving to the crowd.
Many thanks to Pete and Eric for their assistance in this story. Festival of Nations ends April 21, 2014 so if you like live exotic performances with eclectic cuisine, put it on your schedule.