Big fireworks display in downtown Gatlinburg
June 22, 2015

While there are plenty of exciting things to do in Gatlinburg all year long, the city’s 4th of July events and activities are something you won’t want to miss. Independence Day festivities start in Gatlinburg before anywhere else in the country, with the annual Midnight Parade kicking off the day’s events right at 12 a.m. After a nap and some breakfast, you can gather around the riverside to cheer on your favorite watercraft or enter the competitive Gatlinburg River Raft Regatta yourself. The Independence Day celebration will conclude with the Gatlinburg 4th of July Fireworks finale. In addition to these events, the annual Patriot Festival offers a day full of activities, just minutes away from downtown Gatlinburg in Patriot Park. Celebrating the 4th of July in Gatlinburg TN guarantees you a fun-filled day, so be sure to read all the event details below.

Grab a Spot at the July 4th Gatlinburg TN Midnight Parade

Known as the “First July Fourth Parade in the Nation,” parade festivities begin right at midnight on July 4th. This year marks the celebration’s 40th anniversary which will honor military veterans and heroes.

On average, about 100,000 visitors line the streets of downtown Gatlinburg for the award-winning Midnight Parade, with many arriving early in the morning on July 3rd with folding chairs in-hand to reserve their spots. We suggest arriving at least an hour or so early to reserve a spot for viewing the parade. Please do be aware that placing chairs along the road will not necessarily guarantee your spot, as they may be moved if you’re not accompanying them.

The Gatlinburg Midnight Parade route begins at traffic light #1a on East Parkway, turning South onto the Parkway at traffic light #3 and traveling the length of the road until traffic light #10.

little girls playing in a riverSail Alongside the Gatlinburg River Raft Regatta

Celebrate Independence Day by cheering on some of the oddest rafts you’ve ever seen or constructing one of your own for the Gatlinburg River Raft Regatta. This event welcomes anything float-able to join in a race that runs from Christ in the Smokies bridge on River Road to Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies. Various awards will be presented, including youngest participant, oldest participant and most creative raft. Registration begins at 10 a.m., and the race will start at noon. We can’t think of a better way to spend your 4th of July in Gatlinburg TN.

Stay Patriotic at the Patriot Park Festival

In addition to downtown Gatlinburg events, there are more opportunities for enjoying great fireworks and events located just a quick drive away from downtown at Patriot Park’s annual Patriot Festival. This July 4th celebration lasts all day long and features musical talent from several well-known artists from across the country and local talent from right here in the Smokies. A huge selection of of food, games and other activities will be available until the day’s concluding fireworks show at dusk.

fireworksSee the Gatlinburg 4th of July


Concluding the day’s celebration downtown, the Gatlinburg 4th of July Fireworks finale is a spectacular fireworks show

that you can see from anywhere offering a view of the downtown skyline.

You can simply take a walk down the strip and look up to see the fireworks show, or watch the fireworks from your cabin! This breathtaking event has even been featured on the Southeast Tourism Society’s top 20 list for July, so this is one fireworks show not to be missed.

Staying in cabins close to downtown Gatlinburg is a great way to spend 4th of July in Gatlinburg TN while also having a great observation point for this dazzling show.

Interested in booking a cabin for your Independence Day stay? Browse our Gatlinburg cabins today!

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