Smoky Mountain Fourth Of July Celebrations

Smoky Mountain Fourth of July Tips

The Smoky Mountain Region has all the 4th Fun!

Smoky Mountain Fourth Of July Celebrations. Celebrate the Fourth of July in these Smoky Mountain Communities!

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Get a jump start on the Fourth with a midnight parade in Gatlinburg! The first Independence Day Parade in the nation has been held in Gatlinburg for more than 40 years. More than 80,000 spectators gather along the route awaiting the stroke of midnight which signals the beginning of an iconic small-town patriotic parade featuring bands, floats and special honors for the nation’s military heroes. This unusual parade time also provides attendees the opportunity to wish the first happy birthday to America!

Gatlinburg River Raft Regatta invites you to “float your boat!” Bring your best unmanned raft, or really anything that floats, and enter the annual holiday race on the Little Pigeon River. The race begins at 10 a.m. at the bridge at Christ in the Smokies on River Road and ends at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. Three prizes will be handed out in two categories, Trash (not hand crafted) and Treasure (hand-crafted). Get your creative juices flowing and vie for the Judge’s Choice Award which will go to the most innovative craft. Trophies and prizes will also honor the oldest and youngest participants. For more information call 800-588-1817 or go to

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Pigeon Forge’s American Patriot Festival includes music, food and fireworks! The American Patriot Festival and Fireworks in Pigeon Forge kicks off mid-day with music, great street food and kid’s activities and continues well into the night. The Kids Carnival and food vendors open at noon and live entertainment begins at 1:30 p.m. This year’s event is highlighted by an 8:30 p.m. performance by country music star, Craig Morgan, whose hit songs include “That’s What I Love About Sunday,’” “When I’m Gone,” and “This Ole Boy.” Other featured entertainers include the Pigeon Forge Community Chorus and special guests Electric Avenue. Free parking is available at the Pigeon Forge Municipal Parking Lot on Teaster Lane, located between the LeConte Center and the Island. Complimentary trolley rides provide shuttle service between the parking lot and run every 15-20 minutes beginning at noon. Handicap parking is available at Patriot Park. A fireworks spectacular is scheduled at 9:45 p.m.
Attendees are encouraged to bring lots of sunscreen (Patriot Park is an open venue) lawn chairs and blankets (no coolers, umbrellas or pop-up tents allowed) and enjoy an afternoon and evening of patriotic family fun-Pigeon Forge style!

· Noon – Gates open with a Kid’s Carnival and food vendors
· 1:30 p.m. – Live music
· 8:30 p.m. – Performance by country music star Craig Morgan
· 9:45 p.m. – Fireworks Display

Knoxville, Tennessee

Knoxville celebrates the fourth in “worldly” style. Knoxville, Tennessee Fourth of July celebration is scheduled at the World’s Fair Park and features a variety of entertainment and activities on the Festival Lawn that are guaranteed to please both young and old. The all-new Home Federal Bank Family Fun Stage will feature live entertainment from 4 p.m. – 7:45 p.m. and exciting interactive fun for the whole family takes place inside the Amphitheatre. The free festival begins at 4 p.m. and ends at the conclusion of the fireworks display at about 10 p.m.

Regal Kid Zone

4 p.m. – 7:45 p.m. paddle boats on the “Lazy River;” balloon artistry; mini golf; Legos byBricks 4 Kids; face painting and a variety of other entertainment.

· 4 p.m. – 4:45 p.m. Asian Festival Lion Dancers
· 5:15 p.m. – 5:35 p.m. Zoo Knoxville’s Einstein and Friends
· 6 p.m. – 6:45 p.m. Children’s Musical Artist Dre Helton
· 7 p.m. – 7:45 p.m. Tim Pressley and his Amazing Magic Show

Live Music
Festival Lawn Stage
· 4:15 p.m. – 5:45 p.m. Bary Jolly Pirates ( a Jimmy Buffet Tribute Band) on the patio of the Festival Lawn Stage
· 5 p.m. – 5:45 p.m. Stony Grass Bluegrass Band
· 6:15 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Kendall Ray, a piano pop artist covering hits of Billy Joel and Elton John
· 8 p.m. The KSO’s 34th Free Pilot Flying J Independence Day Concert
* 9:35 p.m. Fireworks launched from Henley Street Bridge

Kodak, Tennessee

What is more American than the Fourth of July, baseball and fireworks? The Tennessee Smokies plan an early celebration of America’s birthday on July 3rd when Smokies Stadium in Kodak, Tennessee features the Tennessee Smokies battling it out with the Chattanooga Lookouts. The evening’s event includes an Independence Day themed extravaganza. Videoboard graphics and music are on schedule, and the night ends with an amazing post-game fireworks display. The Tennessee Smokies are the Double-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. Members of the ten-team Southern League Smokies Baseball have entertained fans of the nation’s pastime for more than 100 years. For ticket information and the team’s schedule go to

North Carolina communities schedule Fourth of July fun too!

Maggie Valley, North Carolina

Maggie Valley offers a big bang on the Fourth of July at its annual “Backyard Fourth
Celebrate a traditional Fourth of July in beautiful Maggie Valley’s Festival Grounds. Gates open at 6 p.m. and guests are invited to bring blankets, chairs, picnic baskets and yard games to this alcohol-free event and kick back until “dark-thirty” for the explosive and colorful fireworks. For additional information, visit

Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville’s downtown Pack Park is the place to be on the Fourth of July. Youth activities include bouncy houses, giant slides and slack lining lessons by Slack-Librium. Beer and wine are available for purchase. Bring your own picnic or opt for some of the gourmet food trucks and restaurants located nearby. Ample parking is available at nearby parking decks, on the street, or in private lots. No outside liquor, coolers or pets are allowed in the park.

* 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. – Crafts by LEAF Easel Rider and yard games, by Girl Scouts Peak to Piedmont (no wristbands required.)
* 6 p.m. – Splash Fountain opens, bring a swimsuit and prepare to get wet!
* 2 p.m. – 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. – Ultimate Air Dog competitions, an exciting event that tests dog’s diving, retrieving and swimming talents (for more information on the event go to

South Asheville, North Carolina

South Asheville invites you to come early and find the perfect site along beautiful Lake Julian. Relax and enjoy a day at the park which features picnic tables, grills, a sand volleyball court, horseshoe pits and boat rentals. Park at nearby Estes Elementary School on Long Shoals Road and enjoy a free daytime shuttle from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Fireworks begin at dusk. Due to large crowds, no pets are allowed at this festival.

Lake Junaluska, North Carolina

Lake Junaluska’s Fourth offers fun along the picturesque lake with and afternoon parade, food, music and fireworks.

· 11 a.m. parade
· 12 p.m.- 2 p.m. BBQ picnic
· 7:30 p.m. Lake Junaluska singers concert
· 9:30 p.m. fireworks

Bryson City, North Carolina

Bryson City North Carolina welcomes the fourth with Freedom Fest
Bryson City’s Freedom Fest begins with a Firecracker 5K run and continues throughout the day. Adults will enjoy the displays by more than 60 local artisans and crafters and kids will love the multiple bouncy houses. Bring your appetite and participate in the watermelon eating contest, or grab your best friend (the four-legged kind) and enter the “Strut Your Mutt” event at Riverfront Park. Ribbons will be awarded for “best tail wag” and “Looks Most like Owner.”
Multiple bands will help you rock away the evening which culminates with a spectacular fireworks show set to a rousing rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner.”

Freedom Fest Schedule of Events

Rotary International Firecracker 5K run begins at Swain County Administration Building on Mitchell St.
· 6:30 a.m. – 7:30. a.m. – registration
· Race begins at Riverfront Park on Everett Street
· 4 p.m. – Somebody’s Child – Americana
· 6 p.m. – Colby Deitz Ban – Rock and Roll
· 8 p.m. – Mountain Faith – Americana music, and a 2015 semifinalist on America’s got Talent and 2014 momentum Vocalist of the Year by IBWMA
· The National Anthem
· Fireworks

For more information on Freedom Fest, call toll-free 800-867-9246


Happy Independence Day, America! Fireworks are shown from the 2005 celebration at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. (U.S. Air Force photo/Robbin Cresswell)

Smoky Mountain Region Travel Advisories

Smoky Mountain travel advisorySmoky Mountain Region Travel Advisories. Upcoming Single-Lane Closure on Southbound Spur between Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park will temporarily close a single land on the southbound Spur between the Flat Branch intersection and the Gatlinburg Welcome Center Tuesday, June 26 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The closure of the right-hand lane is necessary to make repairs to the guard rail. The roadway will remain open, but motorists should expect delays with the single-lane closure.

Visitors can also expect delays when traveling from Asheville N.C. to Cherokee N.C. along Blue Ridge Parkway. Work underway to repave a portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway between Asheville and Cherokee N.C. will cause lane closures and traffic delays, according to a spokesperson for the project.

Currently the “pavement Preservation” project, which began June 18, is between Mileposts 393 and Milepost 413. The total project will involve more than 65 miles between Milepost 359 to where the well-traveled road ends at Milepost 469 in Cherokee. Expect single lane closures, flaggers and traffic delays during the paving project which is expected to last until mid-to late-July. The $4 million project, funded through the Federal Highway Administration, is an effort to upgrade the scenic road which draws some 16.1 million visitors a year and was originally constructed more than 80 years ago.

In a related issue a landslide closed a portion N.C. Highway 9.
North Carolina state transportation officials say it will take until the end of July to clear the massive landslide which closed part of N.C. Highway 9. The N.C. Department of Transportation said that more than 110,000 cubic yards of dirt and rock slid into the road on June 5 and indicated that the target date to reopen the road is July 27. The slide, located about a mile north of U.S. 74-A near the Buncombe-Henderson County lines, covers only about 100 feet of roadway but has created a 50-mile detour. An NCDOT spokesman says that workers are on-site and working from sunrise to sunset daily.

Cades Cove Storytelling

Cades Cove stortytelling

Don’t miss this chance to enjoy a master storyteller in beautiful Cades Cove!

Cades Cove Storytelling. Great Smoky Mountains National Park Cherokee Storytelling Series in Cades Cove.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park invites the public to join master Cherokee storyteller Kathi Littlejohn in Cades Cove for a series of engaging storytelling sessions. Make plans to enjoy this Smoky Mountain special event Saturday, July 14 at 8:00 p.m. at the Cades Cove Campground Amphitheater.

Kathi, a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee, has shared her stories since 1986. She is well known for delivering her stories in a dramatic fashion. Her entertaining, expressive and down-to-earth style is a pleasure to hear. Another storytelling sessions will be held on Thursday, August 2 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Cades Cove Visitor Center area near Cable Mill.

Kathi is a board member of the NC Folklore Association and was a featured artist at the 2017 Solar Eclipse Event at Clingmans Dome. The National American Indian Museum in Washington, D.C., Colonial Williamsburg in VA, and the Museum of Cherokee Indian in NC have enjoyed Kathi’s yarns. Kathi was featured in “Living Stories of the Cherokee,” an award winning collection of stories published by the University of North Carolina Press. She is regularly consulted by universities, organizations, and schools for her cultural knowledge.

For more information about the program, please contact Park Ranger Beth Bramhall at 865-448-4123.

Biltmore Estate Chihuly Glass Exhibit

Chihuly Biltmore Exhibit

Biltmore Estate must be experienced to be believed! Photo credit – Biltmore Estate.

Biltmore Estate Chihuly Glass Exhibit. Chihuly glass creations brighten the day and light up the night during Chihuly at Biltmore.
Famed glass artist Dale Chihuly brings his incredible sculptures to Biltmore Estate during May – October.

Chihuly’s fabulous glass creations, Biltmore’s first ever outdoor art exhibit, are displayed throughout Biltmore House and the surrounding gardens – providing a perfect complement to Biltmore’s Winter Garden, Italian Garden and Walled Garden. “The display has been in the planning stage for more than a year,” said Travis Tatham, director of entertainment and event programming at Biltmore. Each large scale structure is composed of numerous pieces and each required a base and power access. Lighting the delicate displays proved quite a challenge, according to Parker Andes, Director of Horticulture at Biltmore, who added that Biltmore’s landscaping team collaborated with the Chihuly team to arrange intricate designs, to complement each piece. The massive creations are spectacular by day but on Thursday through Sunday evenings, the amazing sculptures are carefully lit to provide a dazzling dimension to this fabulous exhibit dubbed, Chihuly Nights at Biltmore, and marks the first time Biltmore is hosting evening hours for an outdoor exhibit. On those nights, attendees can also enjoy a wine bar and live music in the gardens.
Daytime viewing of the exhibit is included in general admission to Biltmore Estate while nighttime viewing requires a separate ticket which ranges in price from $57-$65. For more information call 800-411-3812 or go to Biltmore.

Asheville’s North Carolina Glass artisans celebrate the Chihuly exhibit with Summer of Glass. Asheville’s North Carolina Glass Center

Biltmore Estate Chihuly Exhibit

Tour these magical gardens day or night for the visual experience of a lifetime! Photo credit – Biltmore Estate.

announces a six-month celebration of Western North Carolina’s glass artisans during the Summer of Glass. In conjunction with Chihuly at Biltmore, regional glass artists are offering several major events and exhibits. “The celebration kicked off with the Downtown Asheville Arts District First Friday gallery stroll and continues with four VIP weekends throughout the summer that include studio tours, hands-on opportunities, tickets to Chihuly at Biltmore, and a few collector home visits,” said Sherry Masters, owner of Art Connections tours.

For more information about Summer of Glass, visit GLASS.

Synchronous Fireflies Great Smoky Mountains June 2019

Synchronous Fireflies Great Smoky Mountains June 2019. It’s never to early to start making plans to see the Synchronous Fireflies (and the Blue Ghost Fireflies) that will light up the night sky in late May and early June 2019 in the Great Smoky Mountains. Firefly viewing in the Smokies has become such a popular event that there are now several venues available to enjoy the spectacular shows.

Smoky Mountain Synchronous FirefliesThe Synchronous Firefly (Photinus carolinus) and the Blue Ghost Firefly (Phausis reticulata) are two species that are found only in the Southern Appalachian Mountains which include the Great Smokies. And during the short mating season in late May and early June, both firefly species put on quite a show to behold! The male Synchronous Fireflies flash their little green-yellow bioluminescent lanterns in unison for about 6-8 blinks and then they go dark for a few seconds creating a sublime wave of light throughout the forest. The male Blue Ghost Fireflies don’t flash their blue-white lanterns, instead they glow continuously just a few inches above the ground. The ethereal experience of either nighttime show should be on everyone’s bucket list!  National Park scientists mostly use air and soil temperatures to predict the timing of each year’s mating season.

Synchronous Fireflies with Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN
One of the most popular places to view the Synchronous Fireflies is in Elkmont in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This event has become so popular that a free lottery system was instituted this year for the $1.50 parking passes for the eight-day shuttle period to Elkmont. During this time of peak viewing, Elkmont is closed at nighttime with the exception of shuttle users and campers in Elkmont Campground. Dates for the 2018 Lottery and Elkmont Shuttle will be announced sometime in April 2018. HeySmokies will keep you updated, so be sure to check back with us. We’ll provide you all the details of what you need to know to register for the lottery. For more information in the meantime, visit

Synchronous Fireflies with Discover Life in America in Gatlinburg, TNBlue ghost fireflies
For a few nights during peak firefly viewing time, Discover Life in America hosts a fundraising event featuring nightly presentations and field walks at the Norton Creek Sanctuary near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Tickets for the event are $100 each and the event is geared toward persons ages 10 and older. For reservations for this exclusive event, call Discover Life in America at 865-430-4757 or email

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