Fourth of July in the Smokies

That time is here again! Bring out the sparklers, the smell of hotdogs and hamburgers fired on the grill, picnics, and entertainment. The Fourth of July is coming up, and there are plenty of ways to celebrate in the Smokies.

Gatlinburg Fourth of July Events

The First Independence Day Parade in Gatlinburg is a nationally-recognized event that has been traveling down the Parkway for 43 years! Catch the unique nighttime parade as it kicks off at 12:01 a.m. on the Fourth of July from Baskins Creek Bypass to traffic light #10 at Ski Mountain Road. During the Fourth, Gatlinburg River Raft Regatta will be setting the stage for a competitive floatable race down the Little Pigeon River. Interested parties can enter a rented rubber duck (or bring your own floatable) for $1. Registration starts at the Christ in the Smokies bridge at 10:00 a.m. Proceeds from registration will support the Gatlinburg Chamber Foundation. Trophies will be issued to 1st through 3rd place winners in the following categories: Treasure, Duck, and Most Creative. At the end of the Fourth, visitors can watch the Gatlinburg night sky light up around 10 p.m. with a 20-minute fireworks display (the best spots to view are around lights #3 and #5).

Pigeon Forge Events

In its 28th year, the Patriot Festival covers Patriot Park in Pigeon Forge with entertainment, kids activities, food, and games. All activities are free to the public—don’t be shy about taking your lawn chairs and blankets. If you want to spend the Fourth in Pigeon Forge at Patriot Park, make sure you park at the LeConte Center Municipal Parking Lot on Teaster Lane. There you’ll find a free trolley shuttle that will take you from the parking lot to the park. Musical numbers start with the Pigeon Forge Community Chorus, and Electric Avenue, an 80s pop tribute band. Headlining at 8:30 p.m. is Grand Ole Opry member and Tennessee native, Craig Morgan. He has seven top-10 hits and doesn’t forget his past as a U.S. Army veteran. He frequently performs for military bases all over the world and participates in USO tours.

Places to Stay

In Gatlinburg, The Greystone Lodge on the River is conveniently located near the Municipal Parking Garage and the Trolley Depot. Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott is down the road from the Gatlinburg Space Needle, where the fireworks festivities are held in Gatlinburg. In Pigeon Forge, you can check into the Riverstone Resort and Spa. It offers cabin and condo rentals and is not too far away from the activity happening at Patriot Park. Just take Dollywood Lane to Veterans Boulevard and pick up Teaster Lane on the left from there. EconoLodge on the Parkway in Pigeon Forge is just north of Christmas Tree Lane. If you want to head in from the EconoLodge to Patriot Park, make your way south on the Parkway, turn left onto Christmas Tree Lane, and then right on Teaster Lane. Courtyard by Marriott is also an easy drive to the LeConte Center lot. Just head east on Community Center Drive, turn right on the Parkway, then turn left onto East Wears Valley Road until it intersects with Teaster Lane. You’ll want to turn right on Teaster.


We hope you enjoy the Fourth of July festivities that both Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg have planned for this year. Have you ever been to one of them? How was it? Let us know in the comments section below.

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About April Sadowski

April Sadowski is a wife, mother of a toddler, and a travel junkie. She's a content author for the Smoky Mountain region and is always looking for the latest tip for making a vacation a memorable one.

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