Gatlinburg Fireworks at The Space Needle – Photo by Pyro Shows
Break out the red, white, and blue! It’s time to start making plans for Independence Day, and there’s no better way to celebrate the 4th of July than with a stay near the Smokies. And with a full day’s activities in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, there’s enough patriotic fun for even the most die-hard July 4th enthusiast. Plan to start your stay early, as you might need to rest up for the festivities.
Gatlinburg will kick off Independence Day as early as possible. In fact, the parade there is the first in the nation, starting at the stroke of midnight on July 4th. Be among the first in the country to see the marching bands, balloons, and floats that make this early-morning event the much anticipated Gatlinburg 4th of July Midnight Parade. After the parade is over, you might want to retire for a bit, or you can grab an extra-early breakfast to fuel up for the rest of the day’s fun.
Floats of a different kind will be sailing at noon on the Little Pigeon River in Gatlinburg for the River Raft Regatta. Make your way to Christ in the Smokies bridge on River Road by 10 a.m. to register anything that can float, unmanned of course. At noon the river will be covered in sailing vessels of all shapes and sizes, with and end to the race at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. Trophies will be awarded for the top three entries in two categories: Trash and Treasure. “Trash” means anything not handmade; “Treasure” is any handmade float. Judges will also award prizes for the most creative raft and for oldest and youngest participants.