Don’t Miss These Amazing July 4th Events in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge

Big colorful fireworks display

Independence Day is just around the corner, and the Great Smoky Mountains are gearing up for a bigger and better celebration than ever before! Read on to learn everything you need to know about all of the amazing July 4th events in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.

Gatlinburg July 4th Parade

Gatlinburg has the special distinction of hosting the first Independence Day parade in the nation! Starting at midnight on July 4th, this late night party rings in America’s Birthday with live music, colorful floats, and plenty of patriotic spirit.

The Gatlinburg July 4th parade route will begin at traffic light #1 A on East Parkway. At traffic light #3, the parade will turn onto the downtown Parkway and continue until reaching traffic light #10 at Ski Mountain Road.

We recommend showing up early because there are expected to be over 100,000 spectators at the parade! There is a city-owned parking garage next to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies and another garage at traffic light #3. You’ll also find privately owned parking lots downtown.

Gatlinburg River Raft Regatta

The River Raft Regatta brings hundreds of people to the Little Pigeon River in downtown Gatlinburg for an unmanned raft race. The competition is open to anyone who wants to buy or make their own raft.

The owners of the top 3 handmade rafts and the top 3 store bought rafts will receive trophies. Judges will also give Sisters playing with paper boats in a riverout prizes to the oldest competitor, the youngest competitor, and the builder of the most creative raft. The regatta is open to anything that floats, so go ahead and let your imagination run wild!

Registration for the Gatlinburg River Raft Regatta begins at the Christ in the Smokies bridge on River Road at 10 a.m. The race will officially kick off at noon and prizes will be given out in front of Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.

Christ in the Smokies is located at 510 River Road and Ripley’s Aquarium is located at 88 River Road.

Pigeon Forge Patriot Festival

The Pigeon Forge Patriot Festival at Patriot Park has been recognized as one of “America’s Best Fourth of July Fireworks Displays” by Fox News. If you’re in the Smoky Mountain area for the 4th of July, this is definitely the place to be!

The popular country group Thompson Square will be headlining at this year’s July 4th Patriot Festival in Pigeon Forge! This husband and wife duo is famous for their hit songs “If I Didn’t Have You” and “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not”. Departure, a Journey Tribute Band, will also perform at the festival. The fun will kick off at noon at Patriot Park, located at 186 Old Mill Avenue at traffic light #7.

Playing music on guitarPatriot Park will be filled with games, activities, and food vendors throughout the day. Children will have a blast playing in the special Kid’s Carnival area! Musical entertainment will start around 1:30 p.m. Before Departure and Thompson Square take the stage, guests will have the chance to hear performances from other great musical acts. Around 9:45 p.m., the Patriot Festival will finish with an amazing fireworks display!

The most convenient way to get to the festival is to leave your car at the LeConte Center Municipal Parking Lot and take a free trolley ride to Patriot Park. The city-owned parking lot is located at 2936 Teaster Lane.

Gatlinburg Fireworks Finale

The Gatlinburg July 4th fireworks are simply spectacular. This year’s display will begin at 10 p.m. The fireworks will be centered around traffic lights #3 and #5, but they will be clearly visible throughout the downtown area. Be sure you stick around until the very end because the finale is the best part!

Looking for a great cabin close to all of the awesome July 4th events in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge? Visit our Where to Stay in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge page to find the perfect vacation rental for your next trip to the Smokies!

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  • Morten

    great article !

    Have a question :”Starting at midnight on July 4th…” does that mean night between 3&4 or 4&5 ?

    Comming from Denamrk – visiting Gatlinburg for the first time – should we book a restaurant for the evening of 4. July ? Any Recommendations ?

    • Emily Wolff

      The parade takes place on the evening between the 3&4, so you will need to be enjoying dinner at a restaurant on the night of the 3rd to wait on the parade that will start at midnight that night. You will be able to see the fireworks and the parade from any of the restaurants that face downtown. We recommend starting the evening early and spending time in Gatlinburg on the 3rd. You can make reservations at one of the restaurants, but for the best view of the parade, you’ll want to finish up at the restaurant and head out to the street. Anywhere you are in downtown Gatlinburg, you’ll be able to see the fireworks, but you’ll have the best experience if you line up outside for the parade. There are lots of great restaurants in Gatlinburg, but check out some of our favorites: http://www.visitmysmokies.com/what-to-do/dining/