art julyfourNothing says summer more than the 4th of July, and in Western North Carolina, we celebrate Independence Day with gusto.

Between majestic fireworks, sizzling hot dogs and hamburgers, cotton candy, games, live music and craft demonstrations, there’s a little of bit of everything for any and all. So, grab your lawn chair, sunglasses and adventurous spirit, and enjoy this special day in Southern Appalachia.

All events occur on Thursday, July 4, unless otherwise noted.

Bryson City

“Freedom Fest” begins at 8 a.m. with Rotary International “Firecracker 5K” (registration 6:30 to 7:30 a.m.) at the Swain County Administration Building on Mitchell Street. Riverfront Park will hold a “Strut Your Mutt” pet show at 10 a.m., and the Grove Church entertainment and kids’ area from 6-9 p.m. There will also be an all-day “Kids’ Street” activities area at the railroad depot filled with a climbing wall, bouncy house, choo choo train and waterslide. The Bridge Stage on Everett Street will have an opening ceremony with VFW Post 9281 (10 a.m.), Grandpa’s Music (10:30 a.m.), Boogertown Gap (11:30 a.m.), Watermelon Eating Contest/Hula Hoop-off/Smoky Mountain Shimmy from 1-3 p.m., The Freight Hoppers (5 p.m.), Elvis impersonator (7 p.m.), Barefoot Movement (8 p.m.), craft and food vendors on Everett Street, and the fireworks show beginning at 10 p.m. A “Freedom Train” will depart from the railroad depot at 8 p.m.


The annual “4th of July Celebration” begins at 6 p.m. with music and dancing in the street at Sorrells Street Park.

Watermelons will be provided for free, with children’s watermelon roll and seed spitting contests. Food vendors will be on-site. Live music provided by the Little Creek Bluegrass Band. Fireworks at dusk.


The “Fireworks Extravaganza on the Green” begins at 5:30 p.m. Friday, July 5, at the Village Green Commons on Frank Allen Road. Live music will be provided by rhythm and blues band The Extraordinaires. The Cashiers Farmers’ Market, and numerous food vendors will be on-site. There will also be a moonshine margarita, beer and wine set up in several locations. Fireworks begin at dusk. VIP packages available. or 828.743.8428. 


The “4th of July Fireworks” begin at dusk at the Acquoni Expo Center. A Cherokee bonfire will be from 7-9 p.m. at the Oconaluftee Islands Park Bonfire Pit. A “Moonlight 5K Run” will also take place. For more information on the race, call 828.788.1408. 

828.554.6471 or


Festivities will kick off with the Color Guard presenting the flag at 6:30 p.m. at the downtown depot, with Americana musical act Porch 40 following the presentation at 7:30 p.m. Restaurants will be open late, with Bradley’s General Store serving kettle corn. Fireworks are set to launch at 10 p.m. A “Freedom Train” will depart from the Bryson City railroad depot and will arrive in Dillsboro for the fireworks. 


Fontana Village Resort

The Fontana Village Resort activities run from July 3-6. Live music kicks off at 6:30 p.m. July 4 with Fast Gear, followed at 9 p.m. by The Chillbillies. My Highway at 8 p.m. on July 5 and The Mardi Gras Kings at 8 p.m. on July 6.  There will be an Independence Day barbecue cookout all day, with fireworks starting at 10 p.m.


The “4th of July Parade and Celebration” is 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in downtown Franklin. 

The “Fireworks in the Park” runs from 3-10 p.m. at the Macon County Veterans Memorial Recreation Park (just south of Franklin on U.S. 441). The event features the famous plunger toss (7 p.m.), horseshoe tournament (10 a.m.), cornhole tournament (3 p.m.), bulls eye ball drop (9:15 p.m.), food vendors and the “largest fireworks display” in Western North Carolina beginning at dusk. Live music will be provided at the park by the Southern Appalachian Boys (5 p.m.) and My Highway (7 p.m.). A bus shuttle will run from Franklin High School’s parking lot to the park beginning at 5 p.m.


The 4th of July activities begin at 9:30 a.m. at the community baseball field. The Rotary Club of Highlands will host a cookout from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., with a rubber duck derby on Mill Creek. Fireworks will start at 9:15 p.m.

Lake Junaluska

Celebrating its 100th anniversary, the “July 4th Lake Junaluska Parade and Fireworks” begins with the parade at 11 a.m. The parade starts at the Lambuth Inn and ends at the Nanci Weldon Gymnasium. There will be bluegrass music, barbeque and children’s activities throughout the day, with the fireworks beginning at 9:30 p.m. or

Maggie Valley

“Red, White and Boom” goes from 2-11 p.m. at the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds. There will be games, food vendors and live entertainment throughout the day, with fireworks shooting off at 10 p.m. 

828.926.0866 or or

Sapphire Valley

The “4th of July Round Robin and Fried Chicken Picnic” is at 10 a.m. at the Sapphire Valley Resort Racquet Club. Tennis will start at 10 a.m., with the picnic following. The event is open to the public, but reservations are required. Tickets are $16 per person.



The “Stars and Stripes Celebration” begins with Main Street shops and restaurants offering up live music and specialty foods from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in downtown Waynesville. 

828.456.3517 or

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