Feelin' like the Fourth

There is no shortage of festivals and special events planned for the extended July 4 weekend. Mountain communities are going all out to make sure that locals and visitors alike will have plenty to do. So whether your idea of and Independence Day celebration includes a good, old-fashioned parade, music, a street festival, shopping, or night-time fireworks, it’s happening somewhere close by.


Maggie Valley

Enjoy a weekend of family fun, games, delicious food and live entertainment with a dazzling display of fireworks launched directly over the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds.

Red, White, and Boom will be held at the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds July 1 through July 4, with fireworks at 9:45 on Sunday evening.

Parking is free on a first come, first served basis. Tickets are now on sale to get unlimited rides with a daily bracelet. Early online purchases start at $7 and $10, with day-of purchases at $10 and $15.

There will be 14 mechanical rides available, three inflatable attractions, a fun house, a caged ferris wheel and a hot air balloon ride among the attractions.

Live music will include Glen Shelton, John Emil, Caribbean Cowboys, Sarkadelics, Sound Extreme Entertainment and Karaoke with Dan Massey.

Novelty items, food, beverage, crafts, and games will be available all weekend. 828.926.0866 or visit www.maggievalleyfestivalgrounds.org.


Great Smoky Mountain Railroad

Railroad buffs and families alike will enjoy celebrating on Freedom Train at the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. The special train will depart from the Bryson City Depot at 8 p.m. on Monday, July 4.

Tickets will include a picnic style dinner with a pork barbecue sandwich for adults and a hotdog for children, with chips, cookie and soda. The Family First Class package will include the same meal with a private car attendant, unlimited soda refills in a souvenir tumbler, a Great Smoky Mountains Railroad gift amenity and apple pie for dessert.

Tickets start at  $61 for adults and $39 for children 2 to 12. 800.872.4681 or www.gsmr.com.


Fontana Village

The barbeque pit is ready, the stage lights are up and the fireworks are aimed skyward for this year’s annual July 4 Celebration, from July 1 to July 4, at Fontana Village Resort. The event includes entertainment from the Michael Kennedy Band on Friday, the Jay Mathey Band on Saturday night and cover band Neon Bloom on July 3. On Independence Day, a tribal dancing performance by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians will start at 6 p.m. The My Highway Band will take the stage at 8 p.m., followed by the evening’s headliner, The Chillbillies.

Fireworks will start promptly at 10 p.m. in the center of the Village.



Lake Junaluska

Grab the gang and head to Lake Junaluska Monday, July 4, where they’ll be keeping their Independence Day traditions alive.

Festivities begin at 11 a.m. with a float-filled parade, followed a barbecue lunch and a host of other family activities.

From 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., the Whitewater Bluegrass Company will offer their blend of bluegrass, country, swing, rockabilly and square dance music. There will be face painting, inflatables and a balloon artist for kids

At 7:30 p.m., the Lake Junaluska Singers, directed by Dr. Melodie Galloway, will celebrate the country’s heritage with a 90-minute concert featuring classic Civil War songs, Appalachian folk music, selections from the Broadway musical “The Civil War” and many other patriotic favorites.  They will also perform at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, July 3. Both concerts will be held at Stuart Auditorium.

At 9:45, a fireworks display will begin which has been lighting up the sky for over 60 years.

Tickets for the barbecue are $8 for adults and $4 for children ages 4 to 11. Tickets for the Lake Junaluska Singers are $15 for adults and $6 for children 8 and under. 828.452.2881 or visit www.lakejunaluska.com/july4th.



Get your arms limbered up and your horseshoes ready for the July 4 Horseshoe and Cornhole Tournaments, starting at 10 a.m. on Monday, July 4, and presented by the Franklin Chamber of Commerce.  The Horseshoe Tournament will kick off the annual 4th of July Fireworks in the Park festivities at the Macon County Veterans Memorial Recreation Park in Franklin.

The Horseshoe Tournament will begin at 10:00 a.m. and is open to “pitchers” of all ages, both men and ladies.  Registration fee is $25 per team. First place is awarded $200, second place earns $100 while third place wins $50. 

The Cornhole Tournament will be held later that day at 3:00 p.m. Cornhole is a lawn game in which players take turns throwing bags filled with corn at a raised platform with a hole in the far end.  A corn bag in the hole scores 3 points, while one on the platform scores 1 point.  Play continues until a player reaches or exceeds the score of 21. Registration fee for the Cornhole Tournament is $25. The first place team will take home $200 and $100 will be awarded to second place.




Downtown Waynesville is showing off its patriotism with the Stars and Stripes Celebration.

The event will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on July 4. Main Street shops and restaurants will be open, along with sidewalk sales, live music and entertainment, refreshments and fun for all ages throughout the downtown area.



Bryson City

If you’re looking to race or just relax, Freedom Fest, an old-fashioned street festival in downtown Bryson City, is a day-long celebration. The day begins with the Firecracker 5K, and then continues with local artisans and crafters, a full day of local entertainment, free children’s area, festival foods and fun events including a watermelon-eating contest and hula hoop contest. Canine friends can enter in the Strut Your Mutt event that awards ribbons for such categories as Best Tail Wag and Looks Most Like Owner.

Music will include Grandpa’s Music, the Rye Holler Boys, Big House Radio, the Elderly Brothers and Jakleg.

Fireworks will begin at 10 p.m.

828.488.3681 or 800.867.9246.



The Cashiers Area Chamber of Commerce presents the Third Annual Cashiers Mountain Music Festival on July 2. Headlining the program is Doc Watson and David Holt, along with Sweet Tater, Hurricane Creek, the Harris Brothers, the Darren Nicholson Band and the Rye Holler Boys.

Bring a chair or blanket. No coolers, pets or firearms. Fireworks planned at dark on Sunday, July 3. 828.743.5191.



Old-Fashioned Picnic & Tuck River Derby from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on July 2 in Dillsboro. Watch the first annual Tuck River Derby at 10 a.m. where homemade rafts drift down the Tuckasegee River. Registration for rafters is at 9 a.m. at the town launch off Webster Street. July 4 celebration includes music, food and fireworks. 828.631.5100 or 828.586.3891.

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