Summer in the Smoky Mountains is undoubtedly the most popular time to visit, and with good reason. The warmer weather encourages a wide-ranging variety of activities that everyone can enjoy and create lasting memories, whether you’re here on a romantic weekend getaway or you’re on a family vacation or reunion. Try these summertime events when you make your plans to visit the National Park, or any of the surrounding areas.
Here are 4 great summer events in Gatlinburg
1. First Independence Day Parade in the Nation
Saluting the valiant men and women of our military services, this 42nd annual showcase is the “First July Fourth Parade in the Nation!” Parade starts at the stroke of midnight to begin Independence Day. The 42nd Annual Gatlinburg Fourth of July Midnight Parade steps off at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, July 4, 2017 to the cheers of close to 80,000 spectators. For more than 40 years, the parade has honored our nation’s Military Veterans and other U.S. Military Heroes with this classic, small town American parade.
Date: July 4
Time: 12:00 am – 2:00 am
2. Smoky Mountain Tunes and Tales
Tunes & Tales is a summer-long street performance festival featuring costumed musical performers, storytellers and artisans portraying characters from time periods as far back as the 1800s. On Friday, June 9, Gatlinburg will present the 12th season of Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales daily in downtown Gatlinburg through July 29. This popular seven-week event truly highlights one of Gatlinburg’s greatest assets in the walkability of the city and provides guests with an interactive, educational and entertaining experience the whole family can enjoy.
3. Gatlinburg River Raft Regatta
Gatlinburg’s popular River Raft Regatta takes place at noon on July 4th, on the Little Pigeon River in Downtown Gatlinburg.
This year’s fun-filled Fourth of July celebration in Gatlinburg will feature the always-competitive River Raft Regatta, the unmanned kind. Anything floatable can be entered, registration begins at 10 am and the race will start at 12:00 pm. at the Christ in the Smokies bridge on River Road and will end at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. There are two categories: Trash (not hand-made) and Treasure (hand-made) – awards will go to the top 3 in each category. Additionally, the “Judges Choice” award will go to the most creative “raft.” Awards will be given to the oldest and the youngest participant.
4. Art shows in Townsend
Throughout the summer, different local artisans will display their works at the Townsend Visitors Center for several days on a rotating basis. Some of the types of art exhibits you’ll see include paintings, woodworks, photography and more.