Holiday lights are going up at Dollywood

Dollywood has started putting up holiday light displays. (Source: Kyle Grainger, WVLT)

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The holiday lights are going up at Dollywood in the middle of summer as the theme park gets ready for a Smoky Mountain Christmas.

Decorators say it takes about four months to get the four million lights hung. They also start in August, because the heat actually works to their advantage.

"We're very picky about how our lights are hung. They have to be neat, they have to be up against the building," said Andrea Fontana, a 17-year decorator with Dollywood. "It makes it hard to take what we've hung in the valley this time of year, it's hard to replace it when it's cold because it makes it the strand don't give like it does in the summer."

Fontana says they've already replaced some lights, but they have a long way to go.

The Gates couple have hung lights together for 7 years.

"I tell people every bulb is touched by a human. There's not a bulb in here that has not been touched by a human hand," said Carol Gates. 'It's not only stringing up some lights, you got to figure out direction. You can't have 15 lights left at the end."

The Gates say sometimes you have to get a second opinion on the lights to help. However, it might not be the best idea to ask your better half.

"There can be disagreements on how a particular job should be done," said Rick.

The Gates say it's convenient for travels to work to work together.

The Gates say seeing the work completed is just a part of what makes the sweat and mental stress of getting the lights right worth it.

"You recognize work that you have done. and you hear peoples comments about how they feel about how it's done and it kind of makes you proud at what you've done."

Dollywood plans to open for the holiday season on November 8.

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