Home Cades Cove 7 Fun Activities to Do in Gatlinburg for the 4th of July Weekend

7 Fun Activities to Do in Gatlinburg for the 4th of July Weekend

by Millie

Summer is the most popular time for visitors to vacation in Gatlinburg, and July is a very busy month for fun. Many events happen annually in July that add excitement to the already fun attractions, restaurants and shopping. If you were looking for more fun things to do in Gatlinburg TN in July, check out some of these events that are sure to have all guests of Gatlinburg smiling.

1. First Independence Parade in the Nation

Each year Gatlinburg hosts the “First Independence Day Parade in the Nation”, which is an event to celebrate the 4th of July. What makes this event so special is it’s time. The parade starts at midnight on the 4th of July in the streets of downtown Gatlinburg. Thousands of people flock to this event each year to celebrate our nation’s independence and the people who have helped us achieve and keep it. For 42 years, Gatlinburg has kicked off the holiday with the first Independence Parade in the Nation stepping off at 12:01 a.m. on July 4. In recognition of their heroic efforts during the 2016 wildfires, Gatlinburg is proud to announce that the Grand Marshals for the Midnight Parade will be the Firefighters, First Responders and Law Enforcement Officers who came to our aid.


The Gatlinburg Fourth of July Midnight Parade has garnered national attention and award recognition for excellence in entertainment. The parade has been named by National Geographic Traveler Magazine as a “Top Ten Parade to see in the US” and recognized by Livability.com as one of the “Five Best Fourth of July Celebrations in Smaller Cities.” Additionally, the event has earned multiple Grand Pinnacle Awards by the International Festivals and Events Association and was named a Top 20 Event for 2016 by Southeast Tourism Society.

Date: July 3, 2017 – July 4, 2017

Location: Downtown Gatlinburg

2. Gatlinburg Fireworks Finale

On the night of July 4th, Gatlinburg ends the day of celebrating our nation’s independence by putting on a spectacular fireworks show that can be viewed from almost anywhere in downtown Gatlinburg. Join the celebration in downtown Gatlinburg to mark our nation’s “Independence Day” with a spectacular 20-minute fireworks show starting at 10:00pm. The best viewing will be the area around traffic lights #3 and #5. This event is designated as a Top 20 event by Southeast Tourism Society, and is one of the most popular events in Gatlinburg every year.

Date: July 4, 2017
Admission: Free
Location: Downtown Gatlinburg

3. Smoky Mountain Tunes and Tales

This Gatlinburg runs throughout the summer, and is found around every corner in the streets of downtown Gatlinburg, which makes it one of the best things to do in Gatlinburg TN in July. This is a summer street festival that showcases the talent of many musicians, dancers, singers, storytellers and artists in the area. Smoky Mountain Tunes and Tales is fun as well as educational. You can find history from time periods as early as the 1800s. It is known to be one of the best things offered in the summer to enhance a stroll along the Gatlinburg parkway.


4. Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair

The amazing skill of Gatlinburg’s finest artists and craftsmen is displayed during this festival of nearly 200 booths. Even if you’re not into purchasing some of the unique creations at this event, you can bring a chair and a listening ear for some live music and entertainment. This is another Gatlinburg event featured on the top 20 events in the Southern United States by the Southeast Tourism Society. What makes the Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair so great is that each of the craftsmen show their skills as you browse by creating masterpieces right in front of you.

5. Visit the Gatlinburg Farmers Market

The Gatlinburg Farmers Market opens every year just before the summer begins. It is the best place in town to get the ripest and tastiest plants for your picking. Vendors at the farmers’ market offer fruits and veggies as well as home baked goods. You can even find the sweetest honey and the freshest eggs and meat in town. You can head downtown each Saturday in the summer to get these delightful treats, or you can hang around for the different events held by the farmers’ market such as Kids Day and Seed Swap Day, plus more.

6. Gatlinburg River Raft Regatta

The River Raft Regatta is an event held each year on July 4th where you race floatable objects in downtown Gatlinburg’s Little Pigeon River. They race all kinds of unmanned floatables, including those that are handmade, and non-handmade. The race begins underneath the River Terrace Bridge, and ends at the Gatlinburg Aquarium. Registration starts two hours before the event. During your stay in Gatlinburg, you can create or buy your own floatable object for a chance to win some awesome prizes handed out in many categories. This one-of-a-kind event makes it one of the best things to do in Gatlinburg TN in July, especially if you enjoy creating, building or racing.

Date: July 4, 2017
Admission: Free
Location: Downtown Gatlinburg


7. Annual Patriot Festival

This annual event is held on the 4th of July, and is the perfect festival for any family looking for fun activities to celebrate our nation’s birthday. This celebration held at Patriot Park, just a short drive from downtown Gatlinburg, has live musical entertainment from well-known artists, as well as talented local artists from the area. You will find a large selection of food, games and other activities for everyone in your family to enjoy. After the sun sets, the event will end by lighting up the sky with a spectacular fireworks show.

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