Tennessee is celebrating the 4th of July with parades, festivals, and special events all across the state. Here’s where you can catch some of the more unique events across the Volunteer State:
1. Midnight Parade
Perhaps the very first celebration in the state is Gatlinburg’s 4th of July Midnight Parade. Starting at exactly 12:01 a.m. on July 4, this award-winning parade stretches more than a mile and is a highlight for locals and visitors. The parade started in 1975 and has been kicking off Independence Day ever since. It includes colorful floats, balloons, and a massive fireworks display at the end. Here’s another nighttime activity to check out while you’re in Gatlinburg.
2. Jonesborough Days
Jonesborough is Tennessee’s oldest town and it celebrates its heritage with the annual Jonesborough Days on 4th of July weekend. A traditional low-country shrimp boil paired with live music kicks off the festivities on June 30. On July 2, the family-friendly festival begins with a parade through town. Music, contests, and magicians run through July 3, when a large fireworks display wraps up the event. A market will feature local artists selling homemade items and food trucks will be on hand to serve up festival favorites like funnel cakes and ice cream. There will also be storytellers on hand because Jonesborough is considered the “Storytelling Capital of the World.”
3. Museum Of Appalachia’s Independence Day Anvil Shoot Celebration
Forget fireworks and parades, why not celebrate the 4th of July with anvils? That’s right, head to the small town of Norris, north of Knoxville, to watch 200-pound anvils shoot through the air. Why anvil shoots? It’s how pioneers used to celebrate special occasions like holidays and elections. The Museum of Appalachia’s celebration also includes a bell-ringing ceremony, live music, and demonstrations from beekeepers, blacksmiths, and more! This is a ticketed event; you can grab them here.
Other 4th of July celebrations in eastern Tennessee include:
- Patriot’s Festival – Pigeon Forge
- Festival on the 4th – Knoxville
- Pops on the River – Chattanooga
- Red, White, and Boom Independence Day Festival – Kingsport
- Pepsi Independence Day – Johnson City
4. Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree and Craft Festival
Celebrate true Appalachian culture at the 51st annual Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree and Craft Festival. Every 4th of July weekend, the event brings in traditional bluegrass musicians to delight festival-goers throughout the 2-day event. There will be more than 35 dancers and musicians, as well as local crafters selling handmade items. The family-friendly festival also includes food trucks and kicks off on Friday, July 1.
5. Red, White, & Boom 4th Of July Celebration
Classic cars are at the center of this Independence Day celebration. The annual Red, White, & Boom 4th of July Celebration kicks off on July 3 with a class car show, where cars, trucks, and cycles will be on display during the day. At night, the 129th U.S. Army Band puts on a patriotic concert. The celebration continues on July 4 with an evening concert before the state’s second largest fireworks show. Round out your trip to Cookeville with our favorite nearby activities.
Other 4th of July celebrations in middle Tennessee include:
- Let Freedom Sing! – Nashville
- 2022 Independence Day Celebration – Clarksville
- Freedom Fest 2022 – Monterey
- Fireworks on the Cumberland – Granville
- Maury County Parks Fireworks – Columbia
6. All-American Elvis-Inspired Fireworks Extravaganza
You can’t celebrate the 4th of July in Tennessee without a tribute to the legend himself, Elvis Presley. The All-American 4th of July Weekend at Graceland features southern barbecue, an Elvis tribute concert, gospel brunch, and hidden tours of Graceland — all with the backdrop of the historic Graceland mansion lit up in red, white, and blue. The events begin Saturday, July 2, and end with an Elvis-inspired fireworks show the night of Sunday, July 3. Most of the events are ticketed, so securing your spot in advance is a must. You can buy individual tickets or opt for a package. Get all the ticket details here. If you aren’t too full from all the barbecue, check out our favorite places in Memphis to get local cuisine.
7. West Tennessee Independence Day Celebration
Getting back to the roots of Independence Day is at the core of this 4-day event. The West Tennessee Independence Day Celebration features a reading of the Declaration of Independence, a re-enactment of the Boston Tea Party, and the ringing of the bells. There are also traditional celebrations as well, like music, food, and a fireworks display on Sunday, July 3. This is a family-friendly event that has a healthy dose of history incorporated into the fun.
Other 4th of July celebrations in western Tennessee include: