DATE : June 15, 2015
Anyone searching for fun things to do during a Gatlinburg 4th of July will be pleased with what they find in this beautiful and interesting area of the country. The Gatlinburg calendar is packed with special events and seasonal festivals, and the most difficult task for most visitors is deciding what to do first. Scheduled for the Fourth of July are some of the area's most popular events and activities, such as the famous River Raft Regatta and the Independence Day fireworks display, which is scheduled this year following Gatlinburg's Fourth of July Parade. Below are some of the top attractions and activities that should be added to any visitor's must–see list.
Smoky Mountain Tunes and Tales
On Friday, June 12th, 2015, Gatlinburg presents Smoky Mountain Tunes and Tales' 10th season in the city's downtown district. The ongoing event runs through August 1st, featuring special attractions and performers on the Fourth of July. This large-scale street performance festival showcases the talents of artists, storytellers, musical performers and period character impersonators dating back to the 1800s.
This seven week event is highly popular among both visitors and residents, and truly highlights the characteristics that made the city of Gatlinburg great. It provides residents and guests with educational, interactive and entertaining experiences that can be enjoyed by young and old alike. Any visitor's experience to this area of Tennessee can be enhanced by participating in this event, which highlights the culture and heritage of the entire area. Performances begin each night at 6 PM in the town's center and continue until approximately midnight on the weekends and 11 PM on weekdays.
Gatlinburg Farmers Market
The Gatlinburg Farmers Market is much more than a place to purchase fresh fruit. Rather, it is a Gatlinburg landmark that offers visitors the chance to buy produce, eggs, meat, honey, homemade prepared foods, arts and crafts, decorative food products and of course, homegrown fruits and vegetables. The market opens each year in mid-May and remains open until mid-October. Special discounts and items are available on the Fourth of July. In addition, several new things were added to the 2015 marketing season, such as the acceptance of EBT/SNAP cards by certain vendors.
A terrific line up of special events are also planned for Independence Day, such as a cooking demonstration, children's activities, a seed swap and many other free activities in which visitors can participate. The farmers market opens at 8:30 each morning and typically does not close until dusk.
Gatlinburg 4th of July Midnight Parade and Fireworks Display
Gatlinburg's Independence Day Parade marks its 40th year in 2015, at which time it will honor United States military heroes and all Military Veterans. Also referred to as the annual Gatlinburg 4th of July Midnight Parade, it begins at 12 AM on Friday, July 3rd, to the cheers of up to 100,000 spectators who typically line the streets to enjoy this exciting, award-winning event.
Those who wish to join a spectacular celebration in downtown Gatlinburg will not want to miss the city's outstanding fireworks display. Designated by the Southeast Tourism Society as a Top 20 event, it is an outstanding sight that is worthy of a place on one's must see list.
One of Gatlinburg's newest attractions is free trolley service along the length of the Gatlinburg Parkway on Independence Day. These open air shuttles are painted in specific designs. The individual designs that are painted on each shuttle car indicate the route it will follow, making it easy for individuals to make changes along the way. The trolley system will operate free of charge from 10 in the morning until 10 at night on July 4th. The trollies typically run from June 13th to the end of August each year, but a fare of 2-6 dollars is charged on non holiday dates, depending on one's route.
The total number of stops along the Parkway is approximately 40, and up to 800,000 individuals use this trolley system on an annual basis, which makes it the fifth largest trolley system in the country and an impressive Gatlinburg landmark. Anyone who wishes to view this enchanting city and the beautiful scenery by which it is surrounded should consider a Fourth of July trolley ride. The cars are also handicapped accessible and perfect for those who cannot walk long distances. Virtually all landmarks and attractions can be viewed from some point of the trolley route, making it ideal for anyone who wants to enjoy a day of sightseeing without becoming worn out for evening attractions, such as fireworks and the aforementioned parade.
Gatlinburg 4th of July River Raft Regatta
Gatlinburg's 2015 Fourth of July celebration always features another infamous event, which is the River Raft Regatta Competition. Unlike many river raft contests, this particular event features unmanned vessels.
Virtually anything that floats can be entered at the starting gate at 10 o'clock. The race begins on River Road, at the Christ in the Smokies Bridge, and ends at Gatlinburg's Ripley's Aquarium. The two categories of the competition are called Trash and Treasure. They refer to commercial and handmade vessels, respectively. Awards are given to the top three rafts in each of the two categories. There is also an award for the most creative raft, and awards are also given to the oldest and the youngest participants, as well. The race begins at noon, and the Gatlinburg Recreation Department plans to pay for and supply all 2015 trophies. Each year, the event is sponsored by a different organization or individual, which will be the City of Gatlinburg Special Event Office for the 2015 competition. Whether one wishes to enter the competition or merely visit as a spectator, he or she is guaranteed to have an enjoyable and interesting experience.
Making Timely Reservations
It is important to understand that when making Gatlinburg 4th of July reservations, one must book as far in advance as possible. Due to the popularity of the area and its many alluring attractions and events, hotels and lodges tend to book quickly. Those planning to spend Independence Day in this exciting and memorable city will certainly not regret their decision, as the area offers something for everyone.