Gatlinburg’s July Fourth festivities bring out big crowds


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Gatlinburg spent all of July Fourth celebrating the nation’s independence. Kick-off began at midnight with the annual 4th of July Midnight Parade and ended nearly 24 hours later with a fireworks display from the Space Needle.

The event coordinators say they “were very happy with the number of people who come out to enjoy all the holiday events,” according to a release from the city.

There were thousands of people along the Parkway to watch beautifully decorated floats from local attractions, businesses, community organizations and public safety agencies. The 100th Army Band from Fort Knox, Kentucky, also marched in the parade and provided concerts throughout the day. The parade honored military veterans and frontline healthcare workers for their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Midnight Parade Awards

At noon, the River Raft Regatta boasted a successful turnout with participants coming from Tennessee, Alabama, Ohio, South Carolina, and Arizona. People entered their rafts to race along the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River.

River Raft Regatta Awards

Fastest Duck Category
  1. Melissa Rhodes, Newcomerstown, Ohio
  2. Abe Griswold, Spartanburg, South Carolina
  3. Melissa Rhodes, Newcomerstown, Ohio
Fastest Treasure Category
  1. Jude Griswold, Spartanburg, South Carolina
  2. Micah Floyd, Sevierville
  3. Ann Marie Boyles, Haleyville, Alabama
Most Creative Design Category
  1. Tracey Burns, Greenville, South Carolina
  2. The Porter Family, Dunlow, West Virginia
  3. Hayley Rickleff, Tucson, Arizona

To wrap up the festivities, people gathered in downtown to watch the Fireworks Finale from the Space Needle Sunday night.

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