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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 12:01 a.m. 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 Baskins Creek Bypass on East Parkway, turning south onto Parkway at traffic light #3 and continuing until reaching traffic light #10 at Ski Mountain Road.
We recommend showing up early because there are expected to be over 80,000 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.
This year, attendees can choose to enter a rented rubber duck into the competition for only $2, $3, or $5. You can bring your own rubber duck to enter for no cost! All proceeds go to the Gatlinburg Chamber Foundation. Those who finish in first, second and third place in the Treasure, Duck and Most Creative Float categories will receive trophies.
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!
Marty Stuart will be headlining at this year’s July 4th Patriot Festival in Pigeon Forge! Stuart is a multi Grammy award-winning country singer. He is famous for his hit songs “The Whiskey Ain’t Workin'” and “Tempted.” Free Fallin, a Tom Petty tribute band, will also be playing at the festival. The fun will kick off at 2 p.m. at Patriot Park, located at 186 Old Mill Avenue at traffic light #7.
Patriot 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 4 p.m. Before Free Fallin and Marty Stuart 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!