How will you celebrate the 4th of July?

Tiffany Florian • Updated Jun 30, 2016 at 10:29 AM

Fourth of July weekend is a time for celebration, parades, fireworks, family and barbecues.

If you’re still looking for something to do this Independence Day weekend, the Tri-Cities and neighboring communities have a long list of opportunities.

From parades to historical reenactments, you can show off your red, white and blue at a variety of events:

Johnson City 

Pepsi Beverages Company of Johnson City and the City of Johnson City is sponsoring the 31st Annual Independence Day Fireworks Celebration, on the grounds of Freedom Hall Civic Center Monday, July 4. 

Sparks will fly above Johnson City Monday night, but the celebration actually begins as early as 5 p.m.

Country, rock and blues star Brad Puckett will kick off the entertainment portion at 5 p.m., followed by Jimbo Whaley & Greenbrier and Austin Moody.

Craig Wayne Boyd, 2014 winner of The Voice, will also be featured at the event.

Boyd is a singer and multi-instrumentalist rooted in country music. He has performed more than 1,000 shows and has opened up for artists including Rascal Flatts. Boyd will perform from 8:15 to 9:15 p.m. 

Seventeen food and craft vendors will be there, including Pizza Plus, Taste Buds, Kona Ice, The Fun Factory and Crusaders Baseball.

The Independence Day celebration will include a tribute to the military and armed forces and honor  Vietnam veterans, fallen heroes and survivors.

The celebration will continue rain or shine; in the event of inclement weather, the time of the fireworks display will be delayed. 


The 63rd Annual Kingsport Mack Riddle American Legion Independence Day Parade will be held Monday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

From Kingsport Renaissance Center to Kingsport Veterans Memorial, the street will be filled with bands, professional floats and about 3,000 members of the community.

Karen Jobe of Kingsport Chamber said the goal of the parade is to celebrate freedom along with those who fought for it.

The parade includes veterans, members of the American Legion, and Daughters of the American Revolution.

“It’s amazing to see people standing on the side lines and salute our veterans,” said Jobe. “It just makes you very proud to be an American.” 

After the parade, the city of Kingsport will continue its festivities with a concert and fireworks celebration at 7 p.m. on 200 block of Broad Street.

JB 5nDime will open for Folk Soul Revival as part of The Twilight Alive Summer Concert Series. After the concert, attendees can enjoy an explosive fireworks display starting around 9:45 p.m. 


Elizabethton will host an Independence Day celebration at Covered Bridge Park Monday from noon to 4 p.m.

The event will include a patriotic ceremony, a Li’l Miss Firecracker Pagent and live music by Jerry Pierce & The Nightlife Band and Retrovillie.

Nearby, the 16th annual Watauga Lake boat parade will get underway at 2 p.m. Boats will be decked out in red, white and blue decor. Awards will be given to the best-decorated boats. 

Watauga Lake will also be the site of three fireworks shows this weekend.

Cove Ridge Marina will present a fireworks show Saturday at 9 p.m., Mallard Cove Marina will start its fireworks show at 9:45 p.m. and Lakeshore Marina will kick off the third fireworks show Monday at sundown. 

The biannual musical extravaganza “Liberty Celebration” will take place at Eastman’s Toy F. Reid Employee Center on July 1 and 2. The concerts will begin at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.

The concert features a patriotic musical selection with a vocal choir of 138 individuals and a 45-piece orchestra.

An honor ceremony with rifle salute will take place at the extravaganza and all branches of the military will be recognized. Tickets for the event cost $5. A portion of the ticket proceeds go directly to the Tri-Cities Military Affairs council.

If you are a fan of history and looking to celebrate Independence Day,18th century-style, you’re in luck.

Independence on the Frontier: Militia Muster at Fort Watauga is taking visitors back 240 years to see what life was like on the frontier in the 18th century.

Visitors can catch a glimpse of militia drill and training and artillery firing, and witness a re-enactment of the news of the Declaration of Independence being delivered.

The historical flashback runs Saturday at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

But Sycamore Shoals isn’t the only state park in Carter County going old-school for the Fourth. 

Roan Mountain State Park will host an old-fashioned Independence Day celebration on Saturday.The state park will celebrate the Fourth with a bicycle parade, traditional field games, a checkers tournament and a watermelon-eating contest. The festivities begin Saturday at 9:30 a.m. 


The annual Jonesborough Days patriotic celebration this weekend will include stories, eating contests, live music, town tours, fireworks and a parade. 

The Jonesborough Storytellers Guild will tell stories every hour beginning at 1 p.m. Friday and Saturday. 

On the Main Stage, the Beach Nite Band will perform at 7 p.m. on Thursday, while on Friday Whitetop Mountain Band will perform at 6 p.m. and Blue Fox at 8 p.m. On Saturday, Jackdaw’s 7 will perform at 6 p.m. and Amythyst Kiah at 8 p.m. The Main Stage is on the steps of the courthouse.

“Doc’s Front Porch,” on the plaza at the International Storytelling Center, will host bands as well.

On Friday: Southern Countrymen Band, 10-11 a.m.; Harlan County Grass, 11 a.m.-noon; Mountain Rose Band, noon-1 p.m.; and Sound Travelers, 3-4 p.m.

On Saturday: Sound Travelers, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; Thistle Dew, 1-2 p.m.; and Old Timers Band, 3-4 p.m.

Attendees are encouraged to grab a festive treat from local food venders and enjoy the show, Food venders will sell a variety of treats including: barbecue, corn dogs and funnel cakes. 

The town will also showcase its history Independence Day weekend. 

Chester Inn State Historic Site & Museum will offer free admission to the public on Thursday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m to 7 p.m.

The historic town will host a pepper-eating contest at 5 p.m. on Friday, and a pancake eating contest after the parade Saturday. A hot dog eating contest will also be held on Saturday at 5 p.m. To participate in eating contests, contestants must register ahead of time. 

In between the eating contests, the town is hosting a variety of patriotic events including a fireworks show at 10 p.m. Friday and a parade at 10 a.m. on Saturday.


Celebrate Bristol and Border Bash are hosting a star-spangled Fourth of July celebration on Monday. The festivities kick off with an Independence Day Parade at 5 p.m. on State Street.

A celebration in Cumberland Square Park will start at 6 p.m. with a special recognition of all veterans. The celebration offers a variety of family friendly activities including water activities for kids, inflatables, eating contests, and live music. Front Country will kick off the concert series at 7 p.m. and Rob Nance will follow at 8 p.m.

The festivities at Bristol will wrap up with a fireworks display at 10 p.m. in Historic Downtown Bristol. Attendees are encouraged to bring a blanket and enjoy the fireworks.  


Abingdon will celebrate the Fourth of July a little early with an All-American Independence Day Extravaganza on Saturday. The festivities will begin at 4 p.m. at Abingdon Farmers' Market Pavilion.

The extravaganza will celebrate Revolutionary War history with living historians and the Fife & Drum Corps.

Activities include a watermelon-eating contest, arts and crafts, a foam pit and live blues music.

Steady Rollin’ Bob Margolin will perform at 6 p.m. Jarekus Singleton will follow with his performance at 7:45 p.m.

The event will conclude with a fireworks finale at 9:15 p.m. 

Unicoi County 

The Unicoi County Chamber of Commerce is hosting its third-annual Welcome Home Veterans Independence Day parade Monday, at 11 a.m. in Erwin.

The parade will follow Main Avenue through downtown and end at Unicoi County Veterans Memorial Park.

The annual parade is held to honor veterans. All veterans are encouraged to ride or march in the parade. In the past three years 450 veterans have taken part in the parade; and parade organizers are hopeful that number will grow.

After the parade, the festivities will continue with Freedom Fest, the town of Unicoi’s annual Independence day celebration.

The celebration starts at 5 p.m. Monday and will feature live music by Daisi Rain, Jen Allen & the Tennessee Zip, and the Benny Wilson Band.

Attendees are encouraged to bring blankets and lawn chairs to enjoy a 20-minute fireworks show after dark.


Editors Note: Lakeshore Marina will kick off their fireworks show at Watauga Lake Monday at sundown.

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