Top 5 Things to Do on July 4th in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge

There’s no better place to celebrate Independence Day than the Great Smoky Mountains! To help you make the most of your vacation, we’ve put together a list of the top 5 things to do on July 4th in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge:  

(See Related: Free Music and Entertainment Returns to Gatlinburg This Spring)

1. The First Independence Day Parade in the Nation – 12:00 a.m.

The people of Gatlinburg are so excited about July 4th they start celebrating at midnight! As soon as the clock strikes 12, the First Independence Day Parade in the Nation kicks off in the Smokies. This year’s parade will feature the 572nd U.S. Air Force Band and other brave men and women who serve in the armed forces. Over 100,000 people are expected to attend, so it’s a good idea to come early!

The parade will start at traffic light #1a on East Parkway and pass by traffic light #3 on Parkway and traffic light #10 on Ski Mountain Road.

2. Gatlinburg River Raft Regatta – 10 a.m.  

The fun continues in Gatlinburg with the annual River Raft Regatta. Visitors and locals alike will race unmanned rafts and compete for great prizes. Registration begins at 10 a.m. at the Christ in the Smokies bridge on River Road and the race will start at 12:00 p.m.

The competition is open to anything that floats, with separate categories for handmade and store-bought rafts. A special Judges Choice award will be given to the most creative raft. The rafts will float down from River Road to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.

3. Pigeon Forge Patriot Festival – 12:00 p.m.

If you love free music, this event is for you! Patriot Park in Pigeon Forge is hosting a July 4th party featuring a kid’s carnival, food vendors, and great musical entertainment. This year’s headliner is the country group Lonestar. Known for their smash hits “Amazed”, “No News” and “Come Crying to Me”, Lonestar has sold over 10 million albums.

The festivities will start at noon and local bands will begin playing music around 1:30 p.m. The Patriot Festival will end around 9:45 or 10:00 with an awesome fireworks display.

4. Mark Chesnutt Concert at Country Tonite  – 8:00 p.m.fireworks in the night sky

With 14 number one hits and four platinum albums, Mark Chesnutt is a huge name in the world of country music. This talented artist will take the stage at the Country Tonite Theater for a very special July 4th show. You can expect to hear some of Mark’s biggest hits including “Too Cold at Home,” “Goin’ Through the Big D,” and “It Sure Is Monday”.

Tickets are $35.00 + tax and can be purchased by calling the Country Tonite box office at 1-800-792-4308.

5. Gatlinburg Fireworks Display – 10:00 p.m.    

Gatlinburg is serious about its fireworks. Designated a top 20 event by the Southeast Tourism Society, Gatlinburg’s Independence Day pyrotechnic display is unlike any other. Be sure to stay until the very end, because the finale gets better and better every year.

The fireworks start at and are centered around traffic light #3, but they are visible anywhere around downtown Gatlinburg.

Where to Stay

Our vacation rentals are just minutes away from all of the amazing things to do on July 4th in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge! With stunning mountain views, the very best amenities, and first rate customer service, Acorn Cabins has everything you need for a spectacular vacation. Visit our Gatlinburg Cabins page to find the perfect place to stay in the Smokies, or give us a call at 1-800-953-5655.