Tennessee pulls out all the stops this year to celebrate American freedom. Independence Day in the Volunteer State will host the very first July 4th parade in the nation; the largest Independence Day celebration in the country; community events that exude quaint charm; and, of course, lots of fireworks. Check out what Tennessee has in store for the most patriotic weekend in the nation. More celebrations can be found at www.tnvacation.com/calendar.
For the 42nd consecutive year, Gatlinburg is the location to experience the first July 4th parade in the nation as it begins at 12:01 a.m. ET Tuesday, July 4 down the Parkway. An upwards of 80,000 spectators gather each year to see the procession, honoring military veterans and U.S. military heroes with the classic, small town American parade. Festivities continue noon ET July 4 with the annual River Raft Regatta and a 20-minute fireworks display at 10 p.m. ET.
One of the nation’s largest July 4 celebrations happens in Music City. For 2017, Nashville hosts GRAMMY-nominated country artist Chris Young as headliner of Nashville’s Let Freedom Sing! July 4 in Music City presented by Dr Pepper Cherry (#NashvilleJuly4) which takes place near Riverfront Park with a stage on Broadway.
The highlight of the free event is a 30-minute fireworks show, the largest fireworks show in the U.S., synchronized to a live performance by the GRAMMY-winning Nashville Symphony. The event also features a free daytime Family Fun Zone that includes inflatables and other kid-friendly activities.
In addition to Young, who is a Nashville-area native, the lineup also includes the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band; R&B artist Jonny P; and folk rock duo The Sisterhood, featuring Alyssa Bonagura and Ruby Stewart, daughter of rock icon Rod Stewart.
Extend your stay in Music City to catch MercyMe in concert July 6 at Ascend Amphitheater; My Morning Jacket and Margo Price July 7 at Ascend Amphitheater; and the Gold Cup double-header featuring the U.S. Men’s National Team July 8 at Nissan Stadium.
Adventure Science Center in Nashville holds its annual 4th of July celebration on July 4 featuring hands-on science activities, incredible live science demonstrations, laser shows in the Sudekum Planetarium, and a chance to see the spectacular downtown Nashville fireworks display from the lawn with a live sound feed of the Nashville Symphony’s accompaniment. JamTech Music School is onsite providing live music entertainment during the event.
Tickets to the after-hours event are $30 for adults and $20 for children for Adventure Science Center members, and $35 per adult, $25 per child for non-members. Toddlers under two are free. Individuals can also add on a laser show for $4 per person.
Festival on the 4th includes Lego building with Bricks for Kids, food and activities provided by Home Depot 4-10 p.m. at the World’s Fair Park in Knoxville. Enjoy live music by The Temper Evans Band, a cover band full of traditional country music, southern rock, blues, pop, bluegrass and gospel roots; the Airlifter Brass, a brass quintet of the U.S. Air Force Band of Mid-America; and the musical finale by Knoxville Symphony. A grand fireworks display starts at 9:42 p.m.
Mabry-Hazen House hosts its second annual Fourth of July Celebration beginning 6 p.m. with dinner served at 7:30 p.m. July 4 on Mabry’s Hill. Attendees can enjoy a great view of the July 4th fireworks show, food and live music by Eli Fox. Tours of the historic home begin 6 p.m. Alcohol is BYOB. Tickets are $60 per adult and children under 12 are free when accompanied by a ticket holder. Tickets are limited to 200 adults to ensure a quality event. Purchase tickets in advance to guarantee attendance. There is plenty of parking and the site offers easy access to I-40.
You can celebrate July 4 in a variety of ways in Chattanooga. Bring a blanket, lawn chairs and picnic baskets for Pops on the River & Fireworks to hear a patriotic concert by the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera Orchestra 5-10 p.m. at Coolidge Park. Food and drink vendors are available. The event is free and features a grand fireworks show to end the night.
Set sail on the Southern Belle Riverboat for their Fireworks Cruise where you’ll see the Pops on the River fireworks display 8:30-10 p.m. Snacks and spirits are offered as well. A bird’s eye view of the show makes this cruise a moment to remember.
The City of Clarksville will celebrate our nation’s independence this year with the 10th annual Independence Day Celebration on Monday, July 3, 2017 at Liberty Park. This event is free and open to the public. Activities and music begin 6:30 p.m. Seating is available throughout the park and the concerts take place on the Great Lawn of the Wilma Rudolph Event Center 6:15-9 p.m.
The headliner, Full Circle performs classic rock hits from the 60’s & 70’s! Activities include sack races, patriotic balloon pop, bike parade and the most patriotic person contest. Prizes will be awarded. The evening concludes with the city’s largest firework show beginning at 9:30 p.m.
Named as one of the Top 10 Local Fourth of July Celebrations by National Geographic, the Independence Day Celebration & Anvil Shoot looks at how rural residents celebrated the nation's independence at the Museum of Appalachia. Shooting the anvil has become the highlight of this event as the earth shakes following a huge blasting sound. Patriotic ceremonies, music, rail splitting, wood carving and blacksmith demonstrations, and summer treats like hamburgers and hotdogs, kettle corn and homemade ice cream round out the family-friendly, unforgettable experience.
Franklin on the Fourth is an annual celebration of America’s independence featuring family-friendly activities like nonstop music, crafts, endless food options, antique cars and a large kids zone beginning 10 a.m. July 4 in downtown Franklin. Browse the wood working stations, jewelry and other handmade items in the craft booths. When you get hungry, nosh on barbecue or nachos, corndogs and roasted corn on the cob. After the daytime fun, head to Harlinsdale Farm 8 p.m. for the fireworks display that starts at 9 p.m.
Tennessee’s Oldest Town celebrates the annual Jonesborough Days Festival, known for its wealth of entertainment and nostalgic atmosphere. The annual parade takes place 10 a.m. July 1, 2017 in downtown Jonesborough and celebrates the community’s heritage and patriotism. A 30-minute fireworks display is planned for July 2, 2017.
The 13th annual Lancaster Independence Day Parade & Fireworks Celebration takes place Sunday, July 2 along Highway 141 in Lancaster, Tennessee. Food and live music start at 5 p.m. A patriotic parade then marches through at 6 p.m. and fireworks are just after sunset. Come enjoy the local community’s annual celebration of American independence with live music, homemade barbecue, ice cream and apple pies.
If you want small town charm with a side of Independence Day celebrations, visit Elizabethton, Tennessee as each July 4 is commemorated with the National Anthem, 21 Gun Salute and Pledge of Allegiance at Covered Bridge Park. Then, the live performances begin. The 2017 lineup includes acclaimed Nashville bluegrass musicians Blue Hollow; Elizabethton, Tennessee’s Watauga Valley Fife & Drum Corp who perform in period costumes from the American Revolution; the Trousdale County High School Band of Hartsville, Tennessee; the nationally-renowned Lincoln High School Tiger Marching Band from Minnesota; and Abington, Virginia’s Overmountain Victory Trail Association who perform in historical costumes. Storytellers and craftsmen are on site, showcasing stories and skilled crafts from the American Revolutionary period. After sunset, an extensive fireworks display commemorates America’s birthday.