When night falls over the Smokies on the Fourth of July, Gatlinburg is the place to be.
One of Gatlinburg’s most famous and widely-attended events is its Midnight Parade on the Fourth. Attracting approximately 100,000 visitors in 2010, the Parade is a favorite venue for visitors and locals alike. This was the first parade in the nation, and attendees have started a tradition of setting out their chairs as early as three in the morning on the 3rd.
This year, the 100th Army Band from Fort Knox, Kentucky will play in the parade and on July 3rd. The Army Band will be a kickoff for Gatlinburg’s fabulous fireworks show, which begins at 10PM. Other bands scheduled to perform are Dixieland Band, the Brass Quintet, and the Jazz Band. All performances will take place on the Plaza at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, in the central hub of downtown Gatlinburg.
The Parade is over a mile in length and typically features 100 units or more. Grandiose floats, musical performers, horses, and best of all, spirited tributes to our military personnel make this parade unforgettable. The Parade will also feature soldiers home from the 101st Airborne Division after their tour in Afghanistan.
For families looking to spend time in town before the Parade and fireworks begin, a great choice is the Gatlinburg River Regatta—a hilarious, kid-friendly event featuring an unmanned boat race down the Little Pigeon River downtown. Entries to the race may include virtually anything that floats, from matchstick boats to rubber duckies. Registration begins at 10AM and the race starts at noonsharp.
Honor our troops and our country’s history among the beauty of the Smokies, and be in Gatlinburg for the stroke of midnight on the Fourth of July!
Written by Elizabeth Genovise. Reprinted from VisitSouth.com.