130758236521083413The season of summer fun has arrived in Gatlinburg, and it comes with no shortage of activities for the whole family. This summer, visitors will have the chance to spend their evenings enjoying live entertainment, attending award-winning Independence Day festivities and getting a firsthand look at unique items hand-crafted in Gatlinburg for generations.

Gatlinburg’s award-winning Fourth of July Midnight Parade is the first Independence Day parade held in the country and has garnered much national attention and award recognition for excellence in entertainment. For 41 years, the parade has honored our nation’s Military Veterans and other U.S. Military Heroes with this classic, small town American parade. The parade steps off at the stroke of midnight on July 4th. The Army Band from the 100th Army National Guard Unit in Knoxville will perform Sunday night leading up to the parade. Family entertainment continues on Monday, July 4th with the River Raft Regatta at 10:00 a.m. and a patriotic concert with the 100th Army Band at 9:00 p.m. on Ripley’s Aquarium Plaza immediately followed by fireworks at 10:00 p.m.

Back for its 11th season, Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales is a one of a kind experience for Gatlinburg visitors. Tunes & Tales is a summer-long street performance event featuring costumed musical performers, storytellers and artisans portraying characters from time periods as far back as 1800. This year’s cast hails from six states and brings a diversity of talent to entertain Gatlinburg visitors. Tunes & Tales runs from June 10 to July 30 every night beginning at 6:00 p.m in the center of town.

Arts, crafts and music lovers can explore more than 150 booths filled with work from America’s largest group of independent artisans at the Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair held July 14 to July 17 at the Gatlinburg Convention Center. Artists and craftsmen will be on-hand to demonstrate their skills, answer questions and sell their fine works of art. Live country and bluegrass music will also be on site for entertainment.

Another arts and crafts opportunity this summer is the “July Arts & Crafts in the Community” Celebration. From July 18 to July 24, craft enthusiasts are invited to the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community, comprised of more than 100 shops, for a week full of demonstrations and “hands on” activities, prize drawings and goodies for the whole family. Parking and entry into the shops is always free.

Best of all, navigating the summer festivities are made easy for visitors with the availability of free trolley service throughout the summer. From June 17 to August 20, the open-air trolleys will operate from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. The shuttle service will extend from traffic light #1 at the north end of town to light #10 at the entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

For more information about the events in Gatlinburg this summer, call 1-800-588-1817 or visit Gatlinburg.com.