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It’s almost time to once again celebrate America’s independence, and what better way for you and your family to celebrate than in the heart of the Smoky Mountains. With parades at midnight, water raft races and a huge fireworks display, all with the Smoky Mountains in the background, nothing compares to a July Fourth Gatlinburg celebration.
July Fourth Gatlinburg Parade
Known as the ‘First Independence Day Parade in the Nation,’ the July Fourth Gatlinburg parade begins at exactly 12:01 a.m. on Independence day. The parade begins at traffic light #1A on the East Parkway before turning right at traffic light #3 and ending at light #10 at Ski Mountain Road.
The featured participants for this year’s July Fourth Gatlinburg parade include members of the U.S. Air Force, Army, Marines, Navy, Coast Guard, along with representatives from local public safety departments. You also won’t want to miss the special performance from the 572nd U.S. Air Force Band. There will also be a special honors given to women veterans and other United States military heroes.
Organizers for the Gatlinburg event encourage attendees to arrive as early as possible for the best possible viewing area. For past July Fourth Gatlinburg parades, visitors are known to set up as early as 7 a.m. on July 3. An expected 100,000 attendants are expected to help celebrate America’s independence at the July Fourth Gatlinburg parade.
Gatlinburg’s River Raft Regatta
After you’ve had a couple hours to rest up after the July Fourth Gatlinburg parade, you and your family should head down to the Gatlinburg River Raft Regatta, a water race with an unusual twist.
The rules are simple, participants can enter any floatable raft into the race, but the twist is the rafts must remain unmanned the entire time. This means there is just as much luck as there is skill put into these boats, and anything can happen.
The race kicks off from River Terrace Bridge across from the Little Pigeon River at noon, and finishes up downtown at the Ripley’s Aquarium. Prizes will be awarded to the top three places for the Hand-made Decorated, Floatable Object, Small Entry, Oldest Entry, Youngest Entry, Judge’s Choice and the Ripley’s Believe it or Not divisions.
July Fourth Gatlinburg Fireworks Finale
It wouldn’t be a true Independence Day celebration without a fireworks show, and that is just what the “Stand Here” Fireworks Finale is. The show begins at 10 p.m. at traffic light #3 in downtown Gatlinburg. You haven’t seen a truly spectacular fireworks display until you have witnesses the July Fourth Gatlinburg Fireworks Finale. The fireworks lighting up the night sky with the Great Smoky Mountains in the background will create the perfect Fourth of July memory for you and your family this year.