Gatlinburg gears up for 4th of July parade

Gatlinburg gears up for 4th of July parade

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By JAMIE LYNN DROHAN
6 News Reporter 

GATLINBURG (WATE) - One of the most popular local 4th of July events is Gatlinburg's parade, known each year as the first in the nation since it kicks off at midnight.

"Fourth of July is motherhood and apple pie for the United States of America," said George Hawkins, event planner for the city of Gatlinburg.

Although it's four days away, Gatlinburg is already in rehearsals for the 4th of July celebration.

This year, the parade will be led by police and fire officials to honor the memory of those lost during 9/11 and at Iwo Jima.

Hawkins says as always the parade is geared toward the entire family and it's something you have to see in person to truly understand.

"It's the first parade in the country at midnight and there's 100,000 people out on the streets and the streets are close enough that you feel them. You just feel them," Hawkins said.

The parade is green too with LED lights on every float this year.

Gatlinburg fire officials were on hand Thursday practicing their roles for the big event. They say they're hoping to crack down on security this year.

"One problem we do have is people running out in the roadway during the parade and they throw stuff out in the road. They need to stay out on the sidewalk," said Lt. Terry Maney, with the Gatlinburg Fire Department.

If you're planning to attend, "Get here early to have a place to sit and be patient after the parade trying to get out of town," Maney said.

City officials hope 4th of July participants will take advantage of the new trolley system that gets people around for free.

The trolley runs from traffic light 1 to traffic light 10 in downtown Gatlinburg from 10:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. The program lasts through August 14.

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