Happy Birthday, America! This year’s Fourth of July falls on a Sunday, giving Independence Day revelers a whole weekend to celebrate.
Some traditional events remain on the Fourth while others move a day earlier.
Quick history note: Independence Day marks the July 4, 1776, adoption of the Declaration of Independence and the birth of the United States of America. That translates into everything from proclamations to fireworks to music to parades. In East Tennessee, it also means anvils are shot into the air.
In Knoxville, the patriotic fun begins at 2 p.m. July 4 with the annual free Festival on the Fourth at World’s Fair Park. The festival includes children’s activities, music and a 4 p.m. salute to the troops. Children’s activities include a “bubble wrap stomp,” inflatable games, and crafts at a tent manned by the Knoxville Museum of Art. This year, a ferris wheel will be set up on the Clinch Avenue viaduct.
Entertainment includes Freddy Smith and his Chicken Special Patriotic Poultry Show at 3 p.m.; a Red, White and Bluegrass Music Showcase by area youth at 3:30; Brother John Myers Band at 5 and The Black Lillies at 6:45 p.m.
The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra performs its 26th annual Pilot Free Independence Day Concert at 8 p.m. The free concert on the World’s Fair Park south lawn includes “The Star-Spangled Banner,” Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” and selections from “Star Wars” and “The Patriot” soundtracks. The concert ends with “Stars and Stripes Forever” and a 20-minute fireworks display that starts about 9:35 p.m. and is launched from the Henley Bridge.
Other East Tennessee Fourth of July events include:
+ James White’s Fort hosts a historic-styled celebration 10 a.m. Saturday, July 3. The public is invited to join the Sons of the American Revolution, the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Children of the American Revolution and Volunteer State Veteran’s Honor Guard to mark America’s birthday.
+ Gatlinburg hosts the year’s annual first Independence Day parade at midnight July 4. More than 100 bands, vehicles and floats are expected to parade through downtown Gatlinburg. On Sunday, the 129th Army Concert Band performs at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies at 8:30 p.m. followed at 10 p.m. by a 20-minute fireworks show.
+ The Town of Farragut’s 23rd annual Independence Day Parade is 9:30 a.m. July 3. The route along Kingston Pike starts at the Farragut High School entrance west to Boring Road at the Ingles Shopping Center.
+ Anvils in the air are part of the Independence Day celebration at the Museum of Appalachia in Norris. Gunpowder is packed under an iron anvil, then ignited. Anvil shoots are scheduled at noon, 1 and 2:30 p.m. July 4; other 10 a.m.-3 p.m. events include a 2:15 p.m. “Liberty Pole” raising. The Declaration of Independence will be read. There’ll be music and demonstration of pioneer activities like rail-splitting and spinning. Admission is $14.95 for ages 19-64, $12 for senior citizens, $10 for ages 13-18, $5 for children under age 6.
+ The free Oak Ridge Community Band Independence Day Concert is 7:30 p.m. July 4 at A.K. Bissell Park behind the Oak Ridge Civic Center, 1401 Oak Ridge Turnpike. Concertgoers should bring lawn chairs or blankets. Fireworks end the concert.
+ Lenoir City’s Rockin’ the Docks is July 3 at Lenoir City Park. Food vendors open at 1 p.m.; music starts at 4 p.m., fireworks are at 10 p.m.
+ Pigeon Forge’s Patriot Festival begins at 2 p.m. July 3. Performers include country musicians Diamond Rio. Children’s activities, a salute to veterans and evening fireworks are part of the free event at Patriot Park.
+ The city of Athens fireworks show is 9:30 p.m. July 4 at Athens Regional Park.
+ Kingston hosts its annual Smokin’ The Water celebration noon-10:30 p.m. Sunday, July 4. Events are at Kingston City Park and the waterfront area along Highway 70 and include music, drag boat racing and 9:30 p.m. fireworks. Kingston’s Fourth of July parade starts from in front of Roane County High School at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 3. The parade goes north on Highway 58 to McDonald’s. More information is at www.roanetourism.com/events/show/3.
+ The Knoxville Zoo offers free admission Saturday, July 3, and Sunday, July 4, as its Salute to Service Weekend. The admission is free for active service personnel, including active duty military and members of the National Guard, as well as police, fire, emergency medical technicians and paramedics. Military and civilian service veterans also get free admission. The offer is for active service personnel and veterans only; identification conveying their status is required.
© 2010, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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