First Independence Day Parade in the Nation

(865) 430-4148
  • Dates: July 3, 2021 - July 4, 2021
  • Recurrence: Recurring daily
  • Time: 11:59 PM to 2:00 AM

The nation's “first” celebration and Gatlinburg’s award-winning Fourth of July Midnight Parade, will step off at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, July 4, honoring First Responders, U.S. Veterans, military heroes, and frontline healthcare workers. Parade-goers can enjoy a celebration of red, white, and blue as patriotically decorated and lighted floats line downtown streets and the 100th Army Band from Fort Knox, Kentucky commemorates the holiday with a musical performance.

American Idol contestant, EmiSunshine will lead the festivities as the official Grand Marshal of Gatlinburg’s annual parade. An East Tennessee native, EmiSunshine’s unique musical talent has been featured everywhere from the Grand Ole Opry, a GRAMMY award-winning film, to several appearances on national television shows including NBC’s “The Today Show”. While acclaimed on the national stage, the artist’s beginnings started in the heart of Gatlinburg as a regular cast member of Smoky Mountain Tunes and Tales and as a crowd favorite singer and songwriter at the Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival.

"We are delighted to gather together again as a community to enjoy this extraordinary tradition,” says Mark Adams, CEO/President of the Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau. “This is a special year, and we are very grateful for every person involved in making this a successful event.”

The parade route begins at Baskins Creek Bypass and travels the length of downtown to traffic light #10 at Ski Mountain Road. Parade-goers are encouraged to arrive early on Saturday, July 3, to secure a place to watch the Midnight Parade along the Parkway.

Get the full line-up of events happening July 4th Weekend here

The First Independence Day Parade in the Nation has garnered national attention and award recognition for excellence in entertainment. The parade has been named by National Geographic Traveler Magazine as a “Top Ten Parade to see in the US” and recognized by Livability.com as one of the “Five Best Fourth of July Celebrations in Smaller Cities.” Additionally, the event has earned multiple Grand Pinnacle Awards by the International Festivals and Events Association.

If you would like to be a participant in the parade, click here to fill out the application.