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Step aside, cinnamon bread! | Dollywood Flower and Food Festival introduces new sweet treats

The springtime festival boasts 1 million blooms throughout the park and dozens of tasty treats in the bakery.

SEVIER COUNTY, Tenn. — Spring is in the air, and Dollywood is celebrating with its annual Flower and Food Festival. The fun officially started on Friday.

Over 1 million blooms line the park, with topiaries and plants in unique designs. Dollywood extended its festival footprint for 2022, with three new mosaic designs into Craftsman's Valley: a beekeeper, duck and peacock.

While the flowers and decorations are exciting for the eye, it's the food that gets those taste buds watering. Featured savory and sweet treats are at restaurants and bakeries throughout the park.

In the Spotlight Bakery near the front gates, the sweets are made from scratch every day.

The desserts in the display cases draw in the guests at Dollywood, but the staff behind the wall in the bakery bring the treats to life.

"The goal is always to do the best food possible, and to do the best food possible is to do as much as you can from scratch," Executive Chef Matthew Poorman said.

Poorman has the sweetest job in the park, overseeing each dab of icing and sprinkle of sugar.

"From making sugar cookie dough from the festival, to baking the cupcakes daily for the festival, making the icing every day, and all the other pastries that we have in the pastry case out front, it's all made fresh daily," Poorman said.

Every morning before the sun comes up, the bakers get the goodies ready for the day.

"The opening bakers start at 4 a.m. and then the closing bakers start at 12 o'clock," Poorman said. "It's anywhere from an eight to 10-hour shift depending on how much we have going on."

Baking, icing, and decorating every inch of the desserts is an art. With each festival, comes different food options.

Typically, the designs and concepts for each dessert are decided on a year prior. Poorman said the bakers get to share their input on what the festival might offer.

It takes a lot of ingredients to make everything perfect, including thousands of pounds of sugar.

“We try to buy as little processed products as possible, just so that we can we can give back to local communities, and we can work with the best ingredients possible," Poorman said.

While there will always be bakery staples and favorites, like the cinnamon bread and the 25-pound apple pie, the seasonal sweets are worth a try.

From the design space to the display case, the employees will keep crafting the sweets each day so there's plenty to eat.

The festival goes through June 5. 

There is entertainment all throughout the park too, including “Dolly’s Butterfly Garden." It's an interactive experience at the Chasing Rainbows museum across from Dolly's Closet.

Outside that building is a new show called “Bloom!” it happens high above the ground while performers are atop sway poles.

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