Gatlinburg Celebrates 43 years of 4th of July Midnight Parade

Gatlinburg’s award-winning Fourth of July Midnight Parade steps off at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, July 4 with a lineup of entertainment, performers and stunning floats. Celebrating our local community, Gatlinburg-Pittman High School Athletics will act as the Grand Marshal in this year’s Parade.

Famed as the First Independence Day Parade in the Nation, the Fourth of July Midnight Parade has won numerous awards for its early celebration of America’s freedom and was most recently listed by Thrillist Travel as one of “The Best Places to Spend A Blowout Fourth of July.”

Stretching more than a mile, the Parade route begins at Baskins Creek Bypass and travels the length of downtown to traffic light #10 at Ski Mountain Road. Parade goers are encouraged to arrive early on Friday, July 3 to find a place along the Parkway to watch the Midnight Parade.

During the day on July 3, visitors can enjoy performances from the 100th Army “Hard Knox” Rock Band. Festivities continue through July 4 with the River Raft Regatta and conclude with a magnificent firework show starting at 10 p.m. The 100th Army Band will play prior to the fireworks in a free concert at 9 p.m. on the Ripley’s Aquarium Plaza.

Participants in the River Raft Regatta race can register their floatables at the Christ in the Smokies bridge beginning at 10 a.m. From there, racers will set sail at noon and conclude the competition after all floatables have crossed the finish line at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. This year, eventgoers can rent a rubber duck to enter the competition for the bargain price of $1. Trophies will be awarded to those who finish 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the Treasure, Duck and Most Creative Float categories.

Keep up with what’s going on in Gatlinburg this summer by following Visit Gatlinburg on Facebook. For more information about Gatlinburg’s special events, call (800) 588-1817 or visit