With more people getting vaccinated and the country starting to open up again, 4th of July celebrations are coming back with a bang in 2021! Discover one-of-a-kind things to do, and expect all your favorite patriotic festivities to return decked out in red, white and blue. Catch a parade, listen to live music, feast on classic summer dishes and drinks, and \u2013 of course \u2013 enjoy colorful fireworks all throughout the mountains! Events and schedules are subject to change. So, please check with each venue before visiting to get the latest details about opening times, closures and any Covid related safety requirements. Now, read on to find out where you can celebrate the good ol\u2019 U.S. of A. in the Smoky Mountains in 2021!\u00a0 Gatlinburg 4th of July Midnight Parade Be the first one to celebrate America\u2019s freedom with Gatlinburg\u2019s annual 4th of July Midnight Parade. In an unforgettable tradition going back over 40 years, the parade \u2013 named by National Geographic Traveler Magazine as one of the top ten parades to see in the US \u2013 kicks off right when the clock strikes midnight and ticks into July 4th. Both tourists and locals will line the main thoroughfare of Downtown Gatlinburg to honor our country\u2019s military veterans and heroes. Bring chairs and blankets for the whole family to sit back and enjoy then get ready to marvel at patriotic floats, giant helium balloons, costumed characters, marching bands, bagpipe players, bluegrass music, horseback riders, and so much more!\u00a0 Gatlinburg Fireworks Display The 4th of July starts at 12:00 am in Gatlinburg with the parade, but it finishes with a giant BANG in one of the Smoky Mountains most spectacular fireworks displays. Start watching the skies above the Gatlinburg Space Needle around 10:00 pm. The 407-foot-high observation tower is tall enough that the display will light up the night and fill the skies, allowing you to see the show from just about anywhere in town. But locals know that the best views are in the area around traffic lights #3 and #5.\u00a0 Gatlinburg River Raft Regatta In between the bookends of parades and fireworks, there are plenty of fun and exciting things to do to carry on the celebrations in Gatlinburg. Immerse yourself in local traditions like the Gatlinburg River Raft Regatta. While it may not be full-on white water rafting, this race of unmanned floatables takes place on the scenic Little Pigeon River that runs right through town and is a memorable activity for the whole family to share together. Registration is at 10:00 am, then the race kicks off at 11:00 am at the Christ in the Smokies bridge. You can either enter a rented rubber duck for a small fee ($2, $3 or $5) or bring your own at no cost. All proceeds are donated to the Gatlinburg Chamber Foundation.\u00a0 The race ends once all of the floatables have crossed the finish line at Ripley\u2019s Aquarium of the Smokies. Winners will receive trophies for finishing 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the Treasure, Duck and Most Creative Float categories.\u00a0 Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales The beloved annual summertime tradition \u2013 Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales \u2013 returns to Gatlinburg this year from July 1, 2021 to July 31, 2021. This exciting festival is filled with roving street performers, performers, musicians, storytellers, cloggers and artisans. Discover some of the best talent in the Great Smoky Mountains in downtown Gatlinburg \u2013 and it\u2019s all FREE! As you mosey down The Strip you\u2019ll hear the rhythm of clog dancers tapping out their beat along the street. Listen as storytellers regale passersby with traditional mountain tales. Check out the wares of local artisans as the music of bluegrass bands and folk singers drift through the air. Later in the evenings, things really crank up with more live bluegrass music.\u00a0 30th Annual Pigeon Forge Patriot Festival Right next door to Gatlinburg, you can celebrate Independence Day in Pigeon Forge. They\u2019ll be hosting their 30th Annual Patriot Festival on July 3rd with food, fun games and music. The entire festival is open and free to the public. The headliner of the festival\u2019s concert is none other than country music legend, Clint Black! You definitely won\u2019t want to miss his performance of classic hits like Killin\u2019 Time and Like the Rain. So bring your picnic blankets and lawn chairs to claim your spot. Visit the event website\u00a0 for information on the full schedule as it\u2019s updated.\u00a0 Downtown Asheville Independence Day Celebration If you\u2019re on the North Carolina side of the Smokies, head to Pack Square Park in Downtown Asheville, NC. Beginning at 2:00 pm, you\u2019ll find activities that are fun for the whole family, from bounce houses to live music. Bring your chairs and picnic blankets to relax on after you browse through the delicious offerings from local food trucks, where you can purchase food, beer, wine and cider. (No outside alcohol, coolers or pets in the park.) Then settle in for the fantastic fireworks display that starts at 7:30 pm.\u00a0 Reminder: Fireworks are illegal in National Forests Fireworks and other pyrotechnic devices are prohibited on all national grassland and national forest lands year-round, regardless of weather conditions or holidays. Regulations are enforced, and violation is punishable as a misdemeanor by a fine of not more than $5,000 or imprisonment of not more than six months, or both.