Tag Archives: Gatlinburg

4th of July Special Events in the Smokies

Annually Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville celebrate July 4th in a big way with 2015 being no exception. From parades, concerts to fireworks there is something for everyone. This year’s schedule includes:

  • Fireworks at Dollywood approximate start time 9:30PM nightly through 8/2
  • Red White and Boom Fireworks at TN Smokies Stadium 7/1-7/3 after the game
  • 40th annual Gatlinburg “First July 4th Parade in the Nation” starts at midnight July 3/July 4
  • 25th Annual Patriot Festival sponsored by the City of Pigeon Forge and 107.7 WIVK radio Knoxville begins Noon July 4th, entertainment begins 1:30PM at Patriot Park
  • River Raft Regatta on the Little Pigeon River in Gatlinburg starts at noon on July 4th
  • Diamond Rio in concert at the Patriot Festival Pigeon Forge 8PM July 4th
  • Fireworks at Patriot Park in Pigeon Forge approximate start time 9:30PM July 4th
  • Fireworks downtown Gatlinburg approximate start time 10PM July 4th

Restaurants Open Christmas Day 2014

The following Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg restaurants are currently scheduled to be open Christmas Day. All listings are subject to change.
Abbreviations;
Sev….Sevierville
P.F. …. Pigeon Forge
Gat….Gatlinburg

Calhouns 10:30 – 9:00 pm  P. F. & Gat
Corky’s 11:00 am – 8:00 pm P. F
Denny’s 24hrs P. F
Dunkin Donuts 5:00 am – 9:00 pm P. F
Geno’s Pizza 12:00 noon – 1:00 am P. F
Golden Corral  11:00 am – 8:00 pm Sev & P. F.
Happy Days Diner  5:00 pm – 11:00 pm P. F
Hard Rock Café  4:00 pm – 11:00 pm P. F
Hardees 7:00 am – 7:00 pm P. F
IHOP- 8:00 am – 2:00 pm P. F
JT Hannah’s 2:00 pm – 9:00 pm P. F
Kinkaku Japanese Steakhouse 2:30 pm – 10:00 pm P. F
Little Tokyo 12:00 noon – 6:00 pm P. F
Louie’s Grill Holiday Inn Breakfast- 7:00 am-  11:00 pm, Dinner 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm P. F
No Way Jose’s 2:00 pm – 9:00 pm P. F
Iron Boar Saloon 2:00pm – 9:00 pm P. F
Reagan’s Broken Egg Pancake House 7:00 am – 12:30 pm P. F
Reagan’s House of Pancakes- 7:00 am – 12:30 pm P. F
Smoky Mt. Brewery 12:00 noon to 12:00 midnight P. F
Smoky Mt. Pancake House 7:00 am – 12:00 noon P. F
Starbuck’s 9:00 am – 5:00 pm P. F
TGIFriday’s 4:00 pm – 10:00 pm Sev. P.F. & Gat
Wood Grill Buffet 11:00 am – 8:00 pm P. F
Margaritaville 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm P. F
Pucker’s Sports Bar & Grill, Crawdaddy’s, Loco Burro, Johnny Rockets: 11:00 am – 9:00 pm P. F
Seasons of Ober 12:00 noon – 7:00 pm P. F

Smoky Mountain 4th of July Events Schedule

Every year on July 4th the cities of Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg celebrate Independence Day in a big way. 2014 will be no exception; here is the current list of scheduled events:

  • July 3 Fireworks Display at Smokies Stadium in Sevierville following the TN. Smokies/Montgomery baseball game.
  • July 3rd/4th The First Independence Day Parade in the Nation– At the stroke of midnight the 39th annual Gatlinburg July 4th Midnight Parade will march down the parkway. This year’s parade will honor Women Veterans and other U.S. HeroesView last years Midnight Parade
  • July 4th Gatlinburg River Raft Regatta– The annual unmanned River Raft Regatta will be held at 12 noon, registration begins at 10 a.m.
  • July 4th Patriot FestivalPigeon Forge’s Patriot Park will again be home to this annual festival starting at 12 noon with fun and activities for kids. Onstage entertainment will begin at 1:30 p.m. with concerts featuring the Pigeon Forge Community Chorus, the Tim Kellar Band, bluegrass group Adkins & Loudermilk, the Jimmy Buffet tribute band Sons of Sailors and the event headliners Lonestar.
  • July 4th Mark Chesnutt– 8 p.m. at Country Tonite Theatre
  • July 4th Fireworks- Pigeon Forge’s fireworks display will be at Patriot Park starting somewhere between 9:30 till 10 p.m. depending on the conclusion of onstage entertainment. Gatlinburg’s fireworks will be centered downtown (recommended viewing around traffic light #3) to begin about 10 p.m. All fireworks subject to weather conditions.

Human Interaction Harms one of Tennessee’s Free Attractions

One of East Tennessee’s and here in the Smokies great attractions is the chance to see a black bear in the wild. People come from near and far with the hope of seeing one of these bears and other wildlife as this area holds the greatest bear population in the entire state.

Mother & Cub

Mother & Cub

On top of that viewing them in the wild is free as The Great Smoky Mountain National Park has no admission fees. That’s right; you can drive through Cades Cove, the Roaring Fork, all over the park and only have to pay for your fuel. Sadly foolish, uneducated, and uncaring tourists are ruining the chance for you and your family to observe these bears.

A recent report by Knoxville WBIR TV News brought to light that poor behavior by certain tourists is harming these bears leading to their removal or even causing the need for certain bears to be killed. They reported how tourists fed a female black bear and her three cubs in Cades Cove causing them to become “Nuisance Bears”. This forced the park service to capture and relocate the mother bear and her cubs 40 miles from the area. The article goes on to tell of a bear having to be euthanized in 2010 because of it approaching hikers in the Laurel Falls area wanting food.

Full WBIR News Article

The WBIR article also reported on the story in Country Magazine where the lady bragged about approaching an angry mother bear and her cubs in Cades Cove to get that “photographic treasure”. Thankfully enough public backlash caused the magazine to retract the story.

Cub in tree eating berries

Cub in tree eating berries

The law states you must stay back 50 yards and may not disturb or displace these animals. Visitors can be arrested and fined for violating this law. Bring a zoom lens and stay back. Don’t feed the bears! Keep your distance, stay safe and keep them safe.

Black Bear Safety Tips

Great Smoky Mountains National Park 2013

Newfound Gap Road (US-441), the main route from Gatlinburg TN to Cherokee NC, has been closed since January due to a land slide on the NC side, near mile marker 22. Park officials have reported that road repairs are on schedule and should be completed by May 15, 2013. Newfound Gap Road is open from Gatlinburg to the Newfound Gap overlook and to Clingmans Dome Road weather permitting.  UPDATENewfound Gap Road repairs are completed and the road is now open from Gatlinburg TN to Cherokee NC as of 4/15/13.

The following roads are scheduled to open April 12:
Parsons Branch Road
The Roaring Fork Motor Natural Trail

Little Greenbrier

Due to federal budget cuts the following campgrounds and picnic areas will be closed in 2013:
Look Rock campground and picnic area
Abrams Creek campground
Balsam Mountain campground and picnic area (includes Heintooga Ridge and Balsam Mountain Roads)
Tow String horse camp (NC)

Current park road and facilities information click here.

4th of July 2012 Celebrations in the Smokies

Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge start celebrating July 4th early and go late into the night with fun and excitement for the whole family. The two cities bring back the charm of years gone by with many small town traditions plus some modern day entertainment.

July 4 Schedule of Events:

All Pigeon Forge events held at Patriot Park

Annual Synchronized Firefly Show

The first few weeks of June in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Mother Nature treats us with the annual lightshow of the synchronized fireflies. There are 12 species of the flashing fireflies know to inhabit the park. The “flashing” is caused by a chemical reaction in the firefly’s body.
Thus year the City of Gatlinburg will provide trolley service to the Elkmont Campground through June 12, as park officials will close the entrance road to Elkmont to all vehicles and pedestrians daily at 5PM until midnight. Registered campers staying at the Elkmont Campground will be exempt from this road closure. Due to safety concerns visitors will not be allowed to walk the Elkmont entrance.
The trolleys will pick up visitors at the Sugarland’s Visitor Center parking area at 7PM until the parking area is full or until 9PM which ever occurs first. The last return trolley from Elkmont will depart at 11PM. The roundtrip cost is $1 per person. There is no overflow parking at the Sugarland’s Visitor Center, and restrictions will be enforced, so arrive early.
It is recommended that visitors bring flashlights with red cellophane covers to reduce white light. Visitors may bring lawn chairs, and carry food & water in backpacks but these items must be able to fit on their laps while on the trolleys. There are no services available at the site and coolers, alcoholic beverages, and pets are strictly prohibited.

Newfound Gap Road Construction Delays Starting in March

Travelers on Newfound Gap Road (U. S. 441) through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park will experience delays beginning March 1st. Repairs on the heavily traveled two lane mountain road will begin on the Tennessee side at the state line proceeding north. In addition to repaving and drainage work the stone retaining walls will require repairs including re-construction to support the roadbeds, forcing closure of one lane from March 1st through June 10th.

Just above the Morton Overlook the work on the retaining wall and roadbed will require flag crews to direct traffic from 8AM until 9PM. Overnight traffic will be open to both lanes. At a slightly lower location traffic lights will control traffic around the clock.

From June 11 through August 15 there will be no lane closures during daytime hours.  Overnight between 9PM and 8AM construction will again cause lane closures.

The expected completion time of this first phase of the road work project is scheduled for October 2012. An additional two phases are schedule to complete the repairs of the 15 mile stretch of road between Newfound Gap and the park entrance north of Gatlinburg with projected completion in 2016.

10th Annual “Dance with the Sharks”

Celebrate New Years Eve at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies with their 10th annual “Dance with the Sharks”. Join in the festivities as Ripley’s will have 2 bands, Hors d’oeuvres, a champagne toast, plus the opportunity for personal souvenir photo to remember the closing out of 2010. At midnight you will be able to enjoy the city of Gatlinburg’s fireworks display as we close out the old and bring in the New Year.
Tickets for this year’s gala are available on-line at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies web site or by calling 888-240-1358.

Penguins Coming to the Smokies

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies announced Thursday an expansion that will include a habitat for about 20 African penguins. The new multimillion dollar exhibit is scheduled to open in mid-March and is located at the site of the former Veranda Restaurant.

The black footed African penguins average about 2 feet in height and weigh around 5 to 9 pounds. The African penguins, with shorter feathers than the Antarctic penguin, are from a warm climate that will allow for them to be displayed in an indoor-outdoor facility.

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
, located in downtown Gatlinburg, was named the top aquarium in the nation last year by Trip Advisor, the online travel website.