Every year downtown Gatlinburg lights up with patriotic spirit to celebrate America’s birthday on July 4. Exciting Gatlinburg events that take place on this day include the annual Gatlinburg 4th of July Parade, the Gatlinburg River Raft Regatta, and the grand finale fireworks show. When It Starts Proudly known as the “First July Fourth Parade in the Nation,” the annual Gatlinburg 4th of July parade and celebrations begins promptly when the clock strikes midnight on July 4. We encourage guests to arrive early to make sure that you get both a good parking spot and place to sit! Parade Route The Gatlinburg 4th of July Parade will begin at Traffic Light #1 at the intersection of Parkway and Dudley Creek Road. From there the route will continue southbound and take a right at Traffic Light #3 and continue down the Parkway before ending at Traffic Light #10 at Ski Mountain Road.
Who Will Be There The Gatlinburg 4th of July Parade is by far one of the most popular Fourth of July celebrations in the area. On average, over 100,000 people travel to our relaxing Smoky Mountain town to cheer as their favorite Gatlinburg attraction and restaurant’s float passes them by. The Grand Marshal for this year’s parade is retired Army Staff Sergeant Heath Calhoun. He will be riding on the Rocky Top Sports World float. This year’s parade is in honor of the sacrifice from both Staff Sergeant Calhoun and all the other men and women who have served in our armed forces.
What to Bring We definitely suggest that guests bring foldable chairs or something to sit on. If you plan on waiting for a little while before the parade starts, you may also want to consider bringing some light snacks and something to drink.
Where To Park Parking can always be a little bit tricky in downtown Gatlinburg, but thankfully there are still several parking lots and garages that parade goers can park in. If you look at the map of the parade route provided above, there are markers for two of the city’s parking garages, as well as one of the many parking lots close to the Parkway.
Where To Stay For out of town guests traveling to the area to enjoy this year’s Gatlinburg 4th of July celebration, Highlands Condos in Gatlinburg is offering two exclusive Gatlinburg condo rental discounts.
Gatlinburg River Regatta After you enjoy a quick disco nap after watching the existing Gatlinburg 4th of July Parade, be sure to head back down to the Parkway at noon to partake in the Gatlinburg River Regatta. The River Regatta is an unmanned floatables race. Contestants have the option of entering one of two categories: Trash (not handmade) and Treasure (handmade). Registration for the Gatlinburg River Regatta begins at 10 a.m. at Christ in the Smokies located at 510 River Road. Prizes will be awarded for the top 3 in each category, as well as for the youngest, oldest and ‘most creative’ contestants. The route for the race will begin on River Road next to Christ in the Smokies, and it will end in front of the Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg.
Gatlinburg 4th of July Fireworks Finale Rounding out the festivities for this year’s Gatlinburg 4th of July celebration is the grand fireworks finale. Considered among the top 20 events in the Southeast, the Gatlinburg fireworks finale will start around 10 p.m. at Traffic Light #3. Guests will be in awe as the night sky comes alive with stunning firework displays behind the scenic downtown Gatlinburg sky line. Be sure to arrive early for the fireworks as there will be a free concert and lots of kid-friendly activities going on. Have a favorite Gatlinburg 4th of July memory you would like to share with us? Let us know in the comments below!