10 Great Summer Events in Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains

Summer in the Smoky Mountains is undoubtedly the most popular time to visit, and with good reason. The warmer weather encourages a wide-ranging variety of activities that everyone can enjoy and create lasting memories, whether you’re here on a romantic weekend getaway or you’re on a family vacation or reunion. Try these summertime events when you make your plans to visit the National Park, or any of the surrounding areas.

Here’s 10 great summer events in Gatlinburg and throughout the Smoky Mountains

First Independence Day Parade in the Nation

Now in its 4th decade, this Gatlinburg celebration gets its “first” status by beginning promptly at midnight on July 3rd.  Enjoy the excitement of seeing the colorful display of floats, motorcades and bands to salute our brave military servicemen and women.

Smoky Mountain Tunes and Tales

A season-long event that takes place right on the streets of Gatlinburg, these performing arts displays provide endless entertainment.  You’ll experience fantastic street music, storytelling and dramatic skits portraying different eras of Appalachian heritage.

Gatlinburg River Raft Regatta

Anything that floats on water is allowed on for this Fourth of July contest, which showcases the participants’ creativity and sense of fun.  Both non-handmade (trash) and handmade watercraft (treasure) are awarded, as well as the youngest and oldest participants.

Art shows in Townsend

Throughout the summer, different local artisans will display their works at the Townsend Visitors Center for several days on a rotating basis. Some of the types of art exhibits you’ll see include paintings, woodworks, photography and more.


Hops in the Hills

The second annual craft brew-fest is the major part of a weekend filled with celebrations in Maryville, which also include the Big BBQ Bash and a Last Friday Art Walk. You’ll discover both the art and science to making great beer, and then some.

Porch Pickin’ and Summer Concert Series

These weekly and intimate live music events happen in two different Townsend venues – at the Wood & Strings Dulcimer Shop and the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center, respectively. Both feature talented local musicians who are the area’s best kept secret talents.


This small town pre-Independence Day celebration in Alcoa has something for everyone – live music, delicious local food, children’s activities and naturally, an elaborate fireworks display synchronized to music.

Little River Trading Company Hikes

What better way to celebrate the National Park Service’s centennial than to go on a hike through the Great Smoky Mountains, and go for 100 total miles? That’s what this series of treks aims to do, with routes for all hiking levels and going on every two weeks

Bruners Grove Jammin’

Are you a musician and like to riff and improvise? Then you just might want to join in on the fun and impromptu merrymaking at the Bruners Grove Grocery Store, which goes on every Thursday at 6 PM during the summer. Or just listen in and enjoy the show.

Cocke County Fair

Cap off the season with a good old-fashioned county fair.  Cocke County’s offers one of the best in the state – in fact, this event won awards twice in the past four years. You’ll experience everything you love about a fair, including rides, carnival food and plenty of livestock, agriculture and arts and crafts.

This is just a few of the fantastic summertime happenings around our area. Learn about more of them when you stay at Christopher Place, your Smoky Mountains resort.  Contact us today to make your reservation, and we’ll let you know about more events to make your summer the most memorable yet.