For years visitors from around the country have loved to come to the Smokies to celebrate the Fourth of July. Parades, concerts, fireworks, cookouts, hiking, water activities and of course the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains compel people to return for the excitement year after year!
The agenda for this year’s festivities:
First Independence Day Parade in the Nation-Gatlinburg, TN- Starting at 12:00 am on July 4th, Gatlinburg will host the 38th annual showcase honoring the service men and women of our nation. Each year around 100,000 spectators gather to see the floats, ballons, marching bands and more that light up the streets of Gatlinburg on July 4th. The Fourth of July parade in Gatlinburg has been named a Top 20 event by the Southeast Tourism Society. Featured in the parade this year are:
- TN Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder
- Women Veterans of American Chapter 20 from Nashville
- 572nd U.S. Air Force Band
- U.S. Navy
- U.S. Air Force
- U.S. Coast Guard
- Vintage Military Vehicles
- Police and Fire Department vehicles
- Marching bands
- Decorated and lighted floats
- Horses and Large Ballons
The parade will begin at traffic light #1 on East Parkway, then turn south onto Parkway at traffic light #3, then travel the length of downtown to traffic light #10 at Ski Mtn Road. Traffic will be shut down at 11:00pm July 3rd for parade preparation.
After the parade, get some rest for the numerous Fourth of July activities held by both Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. The first activity of the day is the River Raft Regatta held in Gatlinburg. Anything flotable can be entered at 10:00am on July 4th at the Christ in the Smokies bridge on River Road. The raft race will start at 12:00pm and will end at the Ripley’s Aquarium bridge. Rafts can be entered into two different categories, Trash (not hand0made) and Treasure (hand-made). Awards will go to the top three in each category and a “Judges Choice” award will go to the most creative raft. Awards will also be given to the oldest and youngest participant. Trophies will be supplied by the Gatlinburg Recreation Department.
“This is something the whole family can enjoy doing together. A lot of times we’ve got the grandkids and the grandparents enter it.” -Gatlinburg Special Events Manager George Hawkins
Patriot Park 23rd Annual Festival- Pigeon Forge will host their annual Fourth of July celebration starting at 1:00pm. This event is free and open to the public. There will be great food, games, entertainment and a firework finale. Patriot Park is located on Old Mill Street at traffic light #7 behind the historic Old Mill. Entertainment will be provided by the Pigeon Forge Community Chorus, Hotel California and Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers. The fireworks show will begin between 9:30 and 9:45. Bring your blankets and chairs and camp out for the evening at Patriot Park to celebrate our nation’s Independence Day!
Gatlinburg’s Fourth of July Fireworks Show- Finish off your day of Fourth of July celebrations by viewing the fireworks show visible from the streets of downtown Gatlinburg. The show will be centered at traffic light #3 and will begin at 10:00pm. If you prefer not to be in the crowd ERA In The Smokies has cabin rentals available with a perfect view of the fireworks show. Call and reserve soon before they are gone!!