WATE 6 On Your Side Staff - GATLINBURG (WATE) - Many people gathered in Sevier County overnight for Independence Day activities. Gatlinburg is home to the First Independence Day Parade in the Nation. The event began more than 40 years ago.
The city kicked off its parade at 12:01 a.m. Attendees were able to buy souvenirs from stores lining the parade route. The parade featured floats, balloons, exotic cars, the Litchfield Marching Dragons of Minnesota, the Baltimore Twilighters and the Baltimore Entertainers of Maryland. Also, the 100th Army Band of Fort Knox, Kentucky performed.
Gina Wilson believes the day is a time to remember those who have served.
"Every time I see somebody in a uniform, I thank him," said Gina. "It's not just the person fighting overseas, it is the one right here in this county: our police officers, it's our firemen. They're all out here working for us."
The parade was a first for many. Zach and Samantha Elam traveled from out of town to support their father. Their father's band marched in the parade. Usually, the teens stay at home and watch fireworks.
Also, it was the first time Scott and Gina Wilson watched the parade. The couple has attended the city's Christmas parade for many years.
Scott thought it would be a good idea to come after his fire chief suggested it.