Gatlinburg, TN is a great destination for fun at any time of year. But, the 4th of July weekend in Gatlinburg has special activities that will make your visit even more exciting. Take a look at what is going on in this mountain town.
Annual Gatlinburg Fourth of July Parade
This parade is called “The First Independence Day Parade in The Nation.” The reason for that title is pretty straightforward. The parade starts at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, July 4. That’s right. It starts just after midnight. That makes it the first in the nation. If you have never experienced a nighttime parade, now is your chance. The parade route starts at traffic light #1A on East parkway and travels the length of downtown to traffic light # 10 at Ski Mountain Road. It stretch’s more than a mile. There will be marching bands, entertainment acts, floats, giant balloons, and exotic cars. The city expects about 100,000 people to watch the parade. Get there early for the best viewing spots because some people will “mark their spot” as early as 7:00 a.m. July 3.
Gatlinburg Fireworks Finale
This 20-minute fireworks display is visible from the downtown streets. The best viewing is around traffic lights #3 and #5. Prior to the Parade, the 100th Army Band from Ft. Knox will give concerts on Ripley’s Aquarium Plaza from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. They will also perform before the fireworks at 8:30 p.m. and once again at 10:20 p.m. following the fireworks.
River Raft Regatta
What Fourth of July in a river town be without a regatta. Well, Gatlinburg has one only it is for unmanned watercraft. Basically, anything that floats can be entered. The Regatta starts at 12:00 noon (registration at 10:00 a.m.) at the Christ in the Smokies Bridge on River Road. There are two categories of rafts: Trash (floatable, but not hand-made) and Treasure (hand-made rafts). Prizes are given to the top three rafts from each category to cross the finish line. The most creative raft will receive the “Judges Choice” award.
Smoky Mountain Tunes and Tales
This street performance consists of costumed musicians, storytellers, and artisans. They portray characters from time periods going back to the 1800s. The performance starts nightly at 6:00 p.m. in the center of town and disperse along the downtown Parkway.
So, if you are looking for a fun filled Fourth of July Weekend, come to Gatlinburg, TN.