Gatlinburg celebrated the 41st Anniversary of the 4th of July Midnight Parade in grand style. More than 70,000 people lined the Parkway for the mile long parade honoring US Veterans and military heroes. Parade entries came from as far away as Minnesota to march in the parade. The 100th Army Band from Fort Knox, Kentucky also marched in the parade and provided patriotic concerts over the course of the holiday.
During the parade, Gatlinburg visitors were entertained by elaborately decorated and lighted floats from local attractions and area businesses, community organizations, marching bands, local pubic safety agencies and more. The Litchfield Marching Dragons from Minnesota, the Baltimore Twilighters and the Baltimore Entertainers also marched in the parade along with featured floats, giant balloons and exotic cars.
The River Raft Regatta, held at noon on Monday, July 4th, was well attended, with more than 120 entries. Participants from Tennessee, Wisconsin, West Virginia, South Carolina, Ohio and Kentucky brought entries for racing on the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River.
To wrap up the 4th of July festivities, visitors gathered in downtown Gatlinburg to enjoy a spectacular fireworks display just after dark. The 100th Army Band entertained visitors by accompanying the fireworks show.
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MIDNIGHT PARADE AWARDS
Best Professional Float 1st - Ripley's Entertainment
Best Original Entry 1st - Dixie Stampede/Lumberjack Adventure 2nd - Cuzzin' Eddie's Toors 3rd - Ole Smoky Moonshine
Best Use of Lights 1st - Ripley's Entertainment 2nd - Litchfield Marching Dragons 3rd - Dixie Stampede/Lumberjack Adventure
Most Entertaining Float/Unit 1st - Litchfield Marching Dragons 2nd - Ripley's Entertainment 3rd - Kerbela Shriners
Best Marching Band 1st - Litchfield Marching Dragons 2nd - Baltimore Twilighters Marching Band 3rd - 100th Army Band
RIVER RAFT REGATTA AWARDS
Oldest Entrant: Pauleen Green from Powder Springs, GA - 85 years old Youngest Entrant: Abe Griswold from South Carolina - 1 year old
TRASH: 1st: Allen Bonar - Falmouth, KY 2nd: Jane Holman - Maumee, OH 3rd: Tracy Porter - Genoa, WV
TREASURE: 1st: Brett Bonar - Falmouth, KY 2nd: Andrew Addis - South Carolina 3rd: Alan Stuller - Milwaukee, WI
MOST CREATIVE: The Benniger Family