This year's Fourth of July brings a president to East Tennessee. Well, sort of.
Gatlinburg traditionally kicks off the celebration of America's birthday with what it bills as the country's first Fourth of July Parade. Starting at 12:01 a.m. each July 4, the parade along downtown Gatlinburg's Parkway includes floats, bands, entertainers and balloons. An estimated 80,000 to 100,000 people stay up to watch.
This year's procession takes a historic bent. The July 4 parade re-creates the Sept. 2, 1940, motorcade of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Roosevelt came to East Tennessee to dedicate the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The park is celebrating its 75th anniversary; the recreation is part of Gatlinburg's celebration of the milestone. Tennessee native and actor David Keith will portray FDR. Vintage cars and a motorcycle escort also add to the history on wheels.
Twelve hours later, Gatlinburg's holiday continues with the noon July 4 River Raft Regatta. Homemade, unmanned rafts compete in a water race from the Christus Gardens bridge to the bridge at Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies. Just after sunset, the celebration ends with 20 minutes of fireworks.
In Knoxville, the Fourth of July includes music, fireworks and a festival at World's Fair Park. The festival's 2 p.m. opening ceremony at the Tennessee Amphitheater includes music, a dance performance and the singing of the national anthem.
An art tent staffed by the Knoxville Museum of Art will offer 10 art projects for children. Music on the WDVX Stage on the park's north lawn includes The Bearded, Van Eaton and Friends, The Lonesome Coyotes and Matt Stillwell. Emcee Freddy Smith, who hosts the "Rise-N-Shine" show on WDVX, begins the entertainment at 3 p.m. on the WDVX Stage with the "Patriotic Poultry Show." The Bearded play at 3:15 p.m.; Van Eaton & Friends at 4:30. The Lonesome Coyotes play country and rock at 5:30. Singer/songwriter and country musician Stillwell performs at 6:45.
Festival on the Fourth ends with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra's 25th annual Pilot Free Independence Day Concert. The 8 p.m. July 4 concert conducted by Lucas Richman is on the park's south lawn. Music includes "The Star Spangled Banner," John Williams' "Overture to the Cowboys," selections from "The Sound of Music," "Salute to the Armed Forces" and Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture."
Symphony principal tubist Sande MacMorran will guest conduct Aaron Copland's "Hoedown" from the ballet "Rodeo." MacMorran was conductor for the first concert 25 years ago. The concert ends with John Philip Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever"; and the festival concludes with a 20-minute Pyro Shows firework display starting at 9:35 p.m.
Pets, coolers and alcohol are not allowed at Festival on the Fourth.
Other area Fourth of July festivities include:
Farragut's 22nd annual Independence Day Parade, 9:30 a.m. July 4, Kingston Pike from Farragut High School entrance to Boring Road. Bob Kesling, University of Tennessee sports announcer, is grand marshal.
The Knoxville Zoo's "Salute to Service Days" 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m July 4 and July 5. Free admission (show identification) to active-duty service personnel including military, National Guard, police, fire or emergency rescue.
James White's Fort Fourth of July celebration, 10 a.m. July 4. Participants include Stephen Holston Chapter of Sons of the American Revolution and local radio personality Lloyd Daugherty as featured speaker.
Oak Ridge Community Band July 4th Concert, 7:30 p.m. July 4, A.K. Bissell Park, 1401 Oak Ridge Turnpike, Oak Ridge, free.
19th annual Patriot Festival, 1-10 p.m. July 4, Patriot Park, Pigeon Forge. Music includes Pigeon Forge Community Chorus at 3:45 p.m., country musician Homer Hart at 4:30, Grand Majestic Theat'er "Swing Time" at 5:15, Temptations Revue at 5:30, Sarah Darling at 6:15, John Berry at 7, Classic Rock All Stars at 8:15. Fireworks at 9:45 p.m. Free admission, festival seating, bring blankets and lawn chairs.
Smokin'The Water, downtown Kingston and Kingston lake front, starts with 10 a.m. parade July 4. Car show, motorcycle show, watermelon-eating contest, home run derby, raft races, children's activities, fireworks at dusk. No admission but requested $3 a person donation.
Downtown Clinton's Fourth of July has horse and wagon rides, bluegrass music and street vendors starting at 6 p.m. July 4, fireworks at 9:30 p.m. and merchants sidewalk sale 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
Museum of Appalachia's July 4 Celebration and Anvil Shoot, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. July 4 at the museum off Interstate 75's Exit 122. Anvil shoots (gunpowder packed under an anvil is ignited to send anvil into the air) at 10 a.m., noon and 3 p.m. Events include music, pioneer-skill demonstrations and patriotic ceremonies. $15 for adults, $5 for children.
41st Norris Day begins with Firecracker Road Run at 8:30 p.m. July 4 in downtown Norris. Events include a children's dog show on the Norris Commons, fun run, water balloon toss, three-legged race and fireworks. A 6:30 p.m. program at the Norris Lions Community Pavilion recognized a Norris citizen who serves others.
Third annual Support the Troops Rally, 9 a.m. July 4, Cumberland County Courthouse, Crossville. Support event for military includes artists, refreshments, booths by organizations. Those attending are asked to bring one or more non-perishable food items for Veteran Services Office food bank or small personal-care items such as shampoo, hand lotion, conditioner for military in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Fourth annual Community Patriotic Celebration, 6 p.m. July 3, Village Square, downtown Tellico Village, includes rock climbing wall, food, music and games.
The 18th-century Independence Celebration & Garrison, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. July 4, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. July 5, Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area, Elizabethton. Re-enactors portray historical figures and their reactions to the Declaration of Independence July 4; garrison goes through July 5.
City of Athens' celebration starts 6 p.m. July 4 at Athens Regional Park with games, pie-eating contest, mechanical bull and 9:30 p.m. fireworks.
© 2009, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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