WNC lights it up for the Fourth

art frFrom cornhole tournaments to a homemade raft race, from a fireworks train ride to kids-only parade, mountain communities are pulling out all the stops. Peruse this year’s line-up of July Fourth celebrations that put a twist of local flavor on the classic festivities.


Stars & Stripes Celebration

Downtown Waynesville will host their Stars & Stripes Celebration from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 4 on the streets of downtown Waynesville. Shops, galleries and restaurants will be open for the event with live music entertainment, the balloon man and face painting.

The Authentic Mountain Music Concert will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the First Baptist Church parking lot. It will feature The Loughs, Trantham Family band, Mike Pilgrim, and Ben Fleenor.

The Haywood Community Band will play a Patriotic Concert at 2 p.m. on the Historic Courthouse Lawn. www.downtownwaynesville.com or 828.456.3517.

Kids on Main parade

Children of all ages are invited to dress in their most patriotic attire and walk or ride in a parade down Main Street in downtown Waynesville at 11 a.m. on July Fourth.

Children can decorate their bicycles, tricycles, scooters, strollers and wagons.

Registration starts at 10 a.m. on the courthouse lawn. Children under 12 must be accompanied by parent or guardian. The parade will end at the First Baptist Church with free ice cream and a concert.


Lake Junaluska

Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center is hosting a July Fourth extravaganza with a parade, music, barbecue, a local foods dinner and dazzling fireworks display.

The parade, complete with fire trucks, marching bands and floats, will be held at 11 a.m. along Lake Shore Drive from the Lambuth Inn to the Nanci Weldon Gym.

From noon to 2 p.m., there will be a barbecue lunch, face painting, inflatables, balloon artists and bluegrass music from Reems Creek Incident, including a special performance of the national anthem at 1 p.m. by the Lake Junaluska Singers. Festivities held at the Nanci Weldon Gym.

The renown Lake Junaluska Singers, a 16-voice ensemble, will present “The Songs and Spirit of America” at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 3, and again Wednesday, July 4, at historic Stuart Auditorium. For tickets, www.lakejunaluska.com/singers or 828.452.2881.

At 9:45 p.m., Lake Junaluska will present a spectacular fireworks display over the lake, a community service provided for more than 60 years free of charge by Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center.

At 7:30 p.m., Thursday, July 5, a concert by Christian musician Andrew Peterson of Nashville will be held at Stuart Auditorium.

Farm to Table Dinner

The Farm to Table Dinner will be from 5 to 7 p.m. July 4 at Lake Junaluska. There will be local food and bluegrass music from the Freight Hoppers. Tickets are $25 and may be purchased at the Bethea Welcome Center. 828.454.6738.


Maggie Valley

Maggie Valley will host Red White & Boom from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. on July Fourth at the festival grounds.

There will be live music, food and drinks, games, a bouncy house, pony rides, petting zoo, crafts, a kid’s zone and more.

Fireworks will be launched around 10 p.m.

www.maggievalley.org or 828.926.1686.



Franklin will celebrate a day of festivities for Fourth of July, featuring a parade, live music, cornhole competition and other fun games, concluding with a fireworks finale.

A parade will be held in downtown Franklin at 10 a.m., including a contest for the Most Patriotic Pet. Free watermelon, free kids games and more will be held downtown from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Festivities will begin at 3 p.m. at Macon County’s recreational park, including food, music, and a kid’s inflatables and bungee area. Games and contests include: horseshoe tournament at 10 a.m.; cornhole tournament at 3 p.m.; plunger toss at 7 p.m.; and bullseye ball drop at 9 p.m.

Music includes: karaoke with Tony Curtis at 3:30 p.m.; Eric Haggart at 5:30 p.m.; Keirsten Hedden at 6:30 p.m.; and My Highway from 7:45 to 9:15 p.m.

A bus shuttle will run continuously from Franklin High School’s parking lot to the recreation park beginning at 5 p.m. There will be four buses running after the fireworks to help get folks back to their cars as quickly as possible.

At 2:30 p.m., a Stars and Stripes Forever concert will be held at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts. The show starring Linda Gentille and the American Big Band is a tribute to the great classic composers of the 20th century. Tickets are $13-$16. 828.524.1598.

“Freedom Rocks the Square,” the annual Independence Day weekend rock concert, will be held at 7 p.m. June 29 on Franklin’s Town Square gazebo on Main Street. Enjoy classic pop hits from “Blue Suede Shoes” to “Under the Boardwalk,” along with patriotic and Americana sing-alongs like “America,” “You’re A Grand Old Flag,” and “You Are My Sunshine.”



Dillsboro’s Fourth of July Celebration will take place from 1 p.m. to 9:45 p.m., culminating in a spectacular fireworks display visible from the streets of downtown.

The opening ceremony and carnival rides will begin at 1 p.m. A pie and cake bake-off will be held at 3 p.m., a water balloon contest from 2 to 3:30 p.m., and a horseshoe challenge and cornhole challenge at 5 p.m. Music and entertainment will begin at 4 p.m. and continue throughout the evening.

Tuck River Derby and Tube race

The second annual Tuck River Derby and Tube race, where tubes and homemade rafts drift down the Tuckasegee River, will be held on the Tuckasegee River in Dillsboro the afternoon of July Fourth. The tube race starts at 4 p.m. and the raft race at 4:30 p.m. from the launch at Webster Street. www.visitdillsboro.org.


Bryson City

Freedom Fest

Bryson City will host Freedom Fest on July 4 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. downtown. Fireworks will begin at 10 p.m.

There will be arts and crafts, live music throughout the day, a P.A.W.S. dog show, a watermelon-eating contest, a hula hoop off and a children’s area including a 40-foot waterslide, carnival games and inflatable bounce houses.

The headliner musical act for the evening is The Barefoot Movement, a fantastic college band known for their reinterpretation of old school bluegrass and amazing vocals.

The Grove Church will have an evening event featuring a kids area and their house band, Avelina, beginning at 6 p.m. at Riverfront Park.

Fireworks Freedom Train

The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad will celebrate Independence Day with a Fireworks Freedom Train departing at 8 p.m. on July 4. The train travels from Bryson City to Dillsboro, where passengers can watch the fireworks show on the train or from the streets of Dillsboro.

Passengers that arrive at the train depot early can enjoy live music and local crafts. 800.872.4681 or www.GSMR.com



Cherokee will hold a fireworks show at dark at the Acquoni Expo Center. 828.554.6472



The Cashiers Mountain Music Festival will be held June 30 and July 1 bringing top notch regional and national mountain music to the Village Green, including fireworks on Sunday, July 1. There will be food and beverages, a children’s zone, and arts and crafts vendors.

Grammy award winning bluegrass superstar Tony Rice will headline both nights, performing in conjunction with local favorite Balsam Range and legendary fiddler Bobby Hicks on Sunday. Other performers scheduled to appear are bluegrass supergroup Blue Highway, Acoustic Syndicate, Larry Keel and Natural Bridge, the Songs of Jackson County Band, the Darren Nicholson Band, Whitewater Bluegrass Company, the Wild Hog Band, the Him’s, Glenville Train, Jacob Jones, Will Howell and the Smoky Mountain Highlanders, Rafe Hollister, and the Boys of Tuckasegee, featuring members of Sweet Tater.



Highlands will feature two concerts and fireworks for their Independence day activities on July 4.

At noon, the Rotary Club will have a cook-out and games at the Highlands Community Center ball field with an afternoon duck race at Mill Creek. Fireworks will begin at the ball field around 9 p.m.

At 8 p.m., the First Presbyterian Church will feature their annual Patriotic Concert. The free concert will last about 45 minutes, ensuring plenty of time to watch the town’s fireworks display.


Fontana Village

Fontana Village will host their weeklong Independence Day Celebration with live music, lake cruises, food and games.

On July 4, there will be a parade at 6 p.m., an Independence Day Smoked BBQ Feast, and fireworks at 10 p.m. Live music on the Fourth includes the Fastgear Band will play from 7 to 9 p.m. followed by the Chillbillies of Knoxville.

Live entertainment includes: Cherokee Recording Artist Shea Keck from 8 to 10:30 p.m. June 30; clogging lessons at 4:30 p.m. July 3 and square dancing at 8 p.m. July 3; Randy Flack from 8 to 11 p.m. July 5; Logan Murrell 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. July 6; and the Jay Mathey indie-rock band from 7 to 11 p.m. July 7.

Family activities for the week include guided hikes, field games, disc golf, softball, scavenger hunts, ping-pong and putt-putt tournaments, relay games, a watermelon seed spitting contest, games at the Stone Creek Pool and face painting. There will be a sunset cruise on Fontana lake each evening at 7:30 p.m. with daytime cruises at 2 p.m.

www.fontanavillage.com or 828.498.2211.

— Compiled by Shannan Mashburn

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