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Independence Day in East Tennessee: Events for everyone

Johnson City Press • Jul 1, 2018 at 12:00 AM

Families can celebrate Independence Day no matter where they live in East Tennessee with events, parades and firework celebrations in every town in the region. Find an event closest to you, or travel to the Smoky Mountains to commemorate our country’s birthday, while surrounding yourself with familiar faces, food and plenty of fireworks.

1. Jonesborough: The 48th annual Jonesborough Days took over Main Street this weekend with food, games, music and contests for the entire family, but the fun’s not over yet. The festival will go out with a bang Sunday night with Jonesborough’s annual Independence Day fireworks display at 10 p.m. Get the best view of the extravaganza from Main Street or the Food City parking lot in Jonesborough.

2. Johnson City: On July 4, Pepsi Co. and the City of Johnson City will host the 33rd annual Pepsi Independence Day Fireworks Celebration the entire evening. Food vendors and craft booths will open at 5 p.m., with live music beginning at 6 p.m., along with music from WXBQ DJs. The event will host a grand prize giveaway of a 2018 Chevrolet Sonic LS. At 9:55-10:15 p.m., the firework show will light up the sky and will be followed by more live music.

3. Elizabethton: The Elizabethton Parks and Recreation Department will host a free Independence Day event on July 4 starting at 10 a.m. Registration for the patriotic bike parade and patriotic pup competition will be 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Free games, inflatables and watermelon will be available to enjoy all day. The day will end at the Joe O’Brien Field with a game between the Elizabethton Twins and Kingsport Mets. At the last out, the Snap-On Tools Fireworks Show will begin. The 18th annual 4th of July Watauga Lake Boat Parade will get afloat at 2 p.m. proceed from the Watauga Dam to Shook Branch, sail by the Captain’s Table, then go by Watauga Point and end at Butler Bridge. Fireworks will be shot from Lakeshore Marina shortly after the sun goes down.

4. Unicoi: The Freedom Festival will begin at Unicoi Elementary School at 5 p.m. Wednesday with live music and food vendors. Brim Leal and SonarFlare will kick off the live music 5:15 p.m. and will be followed by Broad Street Station and Carson Peters and Iron Mountain. A firework show will start at dark, with the festival ending at 10 p.m.

5. Kingsport: The Mack Riddle American Legion Independence Day parade will kick off Kingsport’s Fourth of July celebration at 10 a.m. at the Kingsport Renaissance Center and will end at the Kingsport Veterans Memorial on Fort Henry Drive. Line-up will begin at 8 a.m., and the parade and festivities will last until 2 p.m. At 5 p.m., the Downtown Kingsport 4th of July Celebration will start with live music and food vendors like Auntie Ruth’s Doughnuts, TK’s Hotdogs, Beach Hut and Shrimp Po Boy. Fireworks will hit the stage at 9:45 p.m. and will last until 10 p.m. For more information, visit Kingsport’s Facebook page.

6. Bristol: The Star-Spangles 4th of July Celebration will kick off with a parade on State Street at 5 p.m. Following will include inflatables, food vendors and eating contests. Kroger will sponsor free watermelon throughout the event. The Border Bash concert will hit the stage at 7 p.m. with Bill and the Belles and then Teen Spirit at 8:30 p.m. The fireworks display will be at 10 p.m. For more information, visit www.believeinbristol.org.

7. Gatlinburg: Known for having the first Independence Day parade in the nation, the annual 4th of July celebration will continue this year in downtown Gatlinburg. The parade begins as early as 12:01 a.m. on July 4, and festivities last the entire day until 10 p.m. with a 20-minute fireworks show. For more information, visit the town’s website. Not in the mood for the heat and feeling a little competitive? Enter Gatlinburg’s River Raft Regatta at the Christ in the Smokies bridge on River Road at 10 a.m. Rafters will take a plunge for the win at noon, heading down stream toward Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.

8. Pigeon Forge: The 28th Annual Patriot Festival in Pigeon Forge’s Patriot Park will kick off at noon with a free Kid’s Karnival, entertainment, food vendors and more. Special guests will include Electric Avenue and entertainment from the Pigeon Forge Community Chorus. Festivities will run all the way until the firework spectacular at 9:45 p.m. Umbrellas and coolers are not permitted. Visit the website for more information.

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