Celebrate July 4th in the Smoky Mountains
It’s not a celebration without a parade! The annual 4th of July parade in Gatlinburg was named by National Geographic Magazine as one of the Top 10 Parades to see in the United States. The big event starts at midnight, a tradition since 1976, and the Parkway will be closed to thru traffic after 11pm on Sunday, July 3rd to prepare. In addition to the community floats, giant balloons and exotic cars, this year’s parade is loaded with new marching units from around the country.
At 10am in Gatlinburg is the River Raft Regatta. Register at the bridge on River Road with your float (anything that floats!) and the race begins at Christ of the Smokies Bridge. The race will end at Ripley’s Aquarium bridge where prizes will be awarded. Trophies will be supplied by Gatlinburg Recreation Department with winners chosen for most creative raft, top 3 rafts, and awards to the oldest and youngest participants.
At noon, make your way over to Pigeon Forge for a free festival at Patriot Park. Enjoy great food and fun including live performances by Journey Tribute Band Departure and Thompson Square. The 27th annual Patriot Festival will conclude at 9:45pm with a fireworks display.
In Gatlinburg, the 129th Army Band will play a free concert at 9pm on the Ripley’s Aquarium Plaza. This will be followed by a grand fireworks finale lighting up the sky at 10pm. While you can get a good view downtown, the fireworks will be centered around traffic lights 3 and 5. The spectacular 20 minute show is a big highlight of the day you won’t want to miss.
Over 80,000 spectators are expected for the much anticipated annual parade. Since lodging is limited, select from Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge cabins to make your July 4th accommodations today.
Tuesday, June 27, 2017