4th of July In the Smokies!
We're only a few days away from the biggest day of the season. Like Christmas and New Years, the 4th of July comes earlier than later in the Summer and often is the peak moment of the season for lots of people, but it's practically always for good reason - especially here in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg!
In the two cities, we have a very traditional way of celebrating our country's independence - and by "traditional", that means we have been celebrating them the same way for a few decades and still look forward to them each year. They are indeed that much fun!
Starting in Gatlinburg, their 4th of July celebrations are spread across a 22-hour period and revolve around 3 activities:
Starting the very MOMENT it turns the 4th of July at midnight in Gatlinburg, this Summer parade will fill the streets of downtown Gatlinburg with festivity and joy you won't see at this time of night on any other day of on the calendar. For an hour or more, patriotic floats and groups will go from traffic light #3 to traffic light #10 and get the 4th of July started off right!
- The First Independence Day Parade in the Nation
The following morning is another Gatlinburg Summer tradition where we race all manner of floatable objects down the river in Gatlinburg; starting from Christ in the Smokies on River Road and ending at Ripley's Aquarium. Trophies are awarded to winners in 1st, 2nd and 3rd categories, among others, and all proceeds benefit the Gatlinburg Chamber Foundation. The event begins at 10:00AM.
- Gatlinburg River Raft Regatta
Yep, the main event itself! And they go off overhead downtown Gatlinburg at 10:00PM. The best viewing area will be between traffic lights #3 and #5.
You can see more on these events at CLICK HERE
And in Pigeon Forge, we keep the 4th of July events relegated to one municipal event, but it's a pretty good sized one that lasts all day - the ever famous Patriot Fest at Patriot Park. Patriot Park is our big, flat, riverside park at the Old Mill district and it is a PERFECT spot to hold a public all-day festival where visitors can expect to bring chairs, towels and picnic supplies as well as enjoy onsite amenities such as food vendors, children's fun area, water sprinkling area (because it will definitely get hot), inflatables and other potential surprises.
At the west end of the park, a large music stage is erected and we typically have professional entertainment performing throughout the day - Country, Bluegrass, Patriotic tribute music, the Pigeon Forge Community Chorus and more. Our headlining entertainment this year is singer-songwriter Craig Morgan.
Then between 9:45PM and 10:00PM, the fireworks you've been waiting for go off overhead for more than 15 minutes while a mix of patriotic music plays. A fitting end to a wonderful day!
You can see more information on the Patriot Festival
Please be aware that all events going on in relation to the 4th of July festivities WILL have a large amount of foot and road traffic and proper planning, scheduling and such will need to be enacted to enjoy the festivities to their fullest.
- The Fireworks