School’s out! And that means it’s time to plan your summer vacation, if you haven’t already. There are loads of summertime events in store in Gatlinburg for your family getaway. If you need some inspiration, check out upcoming activities and attractions like these:
- Gatlinburg Farmers Market
The official kickoff for the Gatlinburg Farmers Market was May 14, and it will be open all summer (until September 17) on Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Enjoy fresh-from-the-farm fruits and vegetables, fresh meats, local honey, prepared foods, baked goods, artisanal products, and even arts and crafts demonstrations at this eclectic market. You can find it at the covered bridge in the Arts and Crafts Community of Gatlinburg (849 Glades Road).
- Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales
Entertaining and educational at the same time, the 11th annual Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales is a 7-week street performance festival with costumed musical performers, storytellers, and artists all portraying Smoky Mountain culture from as far back as the 1800s. You can catch this year’s mix of performers starting June 10 through July 30. No need to go to a specific location—they’ll be all over the Parkway in downtown Gatlinburg all summer long!
- Free Parkway Trolley
That’s right—we said FREE trolley service along the Parkway for the entirety of the summer! Beginning June 17 through August 14 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., feel free to park the car and catch the open-air Gatlinburg Trolley, saving you money, gas, and the headache of navigating summertime traffic in the Smokies on your own. These free trolleys will incorporate a few extra stops along their special route, finally arriving at the #40 on the Parkway. This is a great way to see the sights and get around Gatlinburg with ease this summer. (All Gatlinburg Trolleys are handicap accessible.)
- The Jakob’s Ferry Stragglers (Back Porch Concert Series)
Sugarlands Distilling Company continues to host its ever-popular Back Porch Concert Series, inviting a variety of musical guests to Gatlinburg for fun summer nights of lively entertainment that are completely free! On June 23, head to Sugarlands from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. to check out The Jakob’s Ferry Stragglers. This 4-piece band, well-known in the Americana music circuit of the mid-Atlantic region, features a tight mix of bluegrass, country, jazz, and rockabilly styles for high-energy music that will keep you on your toes!
- Grandpa’s Cough Medicine and Snake Blood Remedy (Back Porch Concert Series)
If you’re still in town after Monday night’s concert, report back to Sugarlands Distilling Company on June 24 for two more bands in the free Back Porch Concert Series: Grandpa’s Cough Medicine and Snake Blood Remedy. If the name doesn’t give it away already, Grandpa’s Cough Medicine offers a tongue-in-cheek approach to bluegrass music, making for a fun night of musical entertainment on the Parkway. And right after, Snake Blood Remedy will offer traditional country music in the style of Woody Guthrie, Hank Williams, and Jimmy Rodgers.
- First Independence Day Parade in the Nation
Be a part of history at the First Independence Day Parade in the Nation! Gatlinburg has been hosting this exciting event for the past 40 years in honor of the men and women who serve and have served in our nation’s military. This year’s parade, beginning at the stroke of midnight on July 4, will feature floats, balloons, and marching bands. Come for yourself, and see why Southeast Tourism Society has rated this a Top 20 event!
- Gatlinburg’s Fireworks Finale
Fourth of July celebrations in Gatlinburg aren’t over after the final float passes in the First Independence Day Parade. On the evening on July 4, join hundreds of other Smoky Mountain residents and guests on the streets of downtown Gatlinburg for the free Fireworks Finale. Beginning at 10 p.m., this is the perfect way to wrap up your Independence Day festivities!
- Gatlinburg River Raft Regatta
Between the parade and the fireworks on July 4, check out the fun-filled River Raft Regatta down the Little Pigeon River. This competitive event, held every year at 12 p.m., begins at the Christ in the Smokies Bridge on River Road and ends at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. Trophies in 2 categories—trash (not handmade) and treasure (handmade)—will be awarded by the Gatlinburg Recreation Department. There will also be an award given to the oldest and youngest participant in the regatta!
- Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair
If you love arts and crafts and want to learn more about Smoky Mountain culture and design, don’t miss the Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair this summer from July 14 through July 17! Held at the Gatlinburg Convention Center, this fair features more than 150 booths with displays by some of the nation’s finest artisans and craftsmen. Along with selling their unique items, craftsmen will be giving live demonstrations throughout the day (the fair is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily), and country and bluegrass musicians will offer live entertainment. Tickets are $7 per person to this exciting event.
- Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival
End your summer on a high note with the 5th annual Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival scheduled for August 24 through August 28, 2016. With more than 130 songwriters and musicians who have topped the charts in country, gospel, and bluegrass, this event is a must-see for music lovers and Smoky Mountain guests hoping to write their way into the music scene. For more information about this festival, click here.