You can watch fireworks in pretty much any American city on the Fourth of July, but there are only so many places you can celebrate the 238th anniversary of our patriotic rejection of British colonial rule – the Declaration of Independence – by floating trash down a river, demonstrating your prowess with a chainsaw, or just hanging with Willie Nelson. So if you’re looking for the best (and most uniquely American) ways and places to spend the Fourth this year, look no further.
Gatlinburg River Raft Regatta - Gatlinburg, Tenn.
Gatlinburg may not have held the first-ever Fourth of July parade, but for the last 38 years it has hosted the nation’s first parade each year. The annual procession kicks off at the stroke of midnight, and the festivities continue when daylight comes and the Gatlinburg River Raft Regatta begins, in which entrants compete to float any unmanned article of their choosing or construction down Little Pigeon River. Yes, the day ends with fireworks lighting up the city’s mountain skyline, but keep your eye on the prize and start building those regatta entries now - unless you’re entering the Trash (not hand-made) category of competition, in which case you’ve got some time to finalize your strategy.
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