The Filming of Terminator Genisys and our BIG move
June 30, 2014
Coming to you live from Under the Dome
July 17, 2014

Fourth Of July in the Smokies


When it comes to holidays I long for deep-rooted family traditions and have been largely successful with the exception of Fourth of July. In fact, our family’s Fourth of July celebrations have varied so much over the years that it seems that doing something different each year has become our tradition.

We wear red, white and blue, watch a spectacular fireworks celebration and give thanks for the freedoms we enjoy but where we do so varies. Some of my favorite places and experiences include the Stone Mountain Park Laser show in Georgia, Watching fireworks atop a rock formation in Moab, enjoying the Lehi Rodeo and the Stadium of Fire. Although I hope to one day, we have yet to enjoy the parade and festivities of our hometown in North Carolina.

This year’s Prince Family Fourth of July experience tops my list of favorites. Between Filming Terminator 5 and the final episode of CBS’ Under the Dome, we spent the holiday with Spencer’s side of the family in a seven-room cabin in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee. Few places on earth boast the patriotism of Eastern Tennessee. Its small neighboring towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge put on a celebration unmatched by the like.

Neely and Ava Prince, 07-04-14  Fourth Of July in the Smokies 4thBlog Neely Ava

Neely and Ava, 4th of July 2014

It began at 12:01 am with a phenomenal Fourth of July Parade and floats honoring each branch of the military. 100,000 people lined the streets of this otherwise tiny tourist town and the night sky was lit by the luminous spectacle of mobile entertainment. Beginning at 1:00 PM was the Pigeon Forge Patriot Festival at Patriot Park on historic Old Mill Street In Pigeon Forge (The town made famous as the hometown of country superstar, Dolly Parton). The free festival complete with concerts, kids zone and all the fare one could hope to purchase is an incredible way to spend the fourth.  Speaking of fare, the Historical Old Mill Restaurant is bar none the highest quality most authentic old-fashioned southern cuisine available in these United States. It equals another favorite of mine the Tavern in Old Salem, NC and that’s saying a lot! It was a treat to take our family to one of our favorite places and it did not disappoint!

Although the Patriot Park Festival’s firework extravaganza is a don’t miss, we opted to join the members of our extended family that were not able to manage the physical demands of the crowds and festival and return closer to the cabin, to the small town of Townsend, TN to watch their fireworks production. Upon arriving we discovered that this must be where the locals go to skip the crowds and enjoy a big time small town Fourth of July fireworks exhibition. It was marvelous!

Tips to consider while making plans to attend this Fourth of July Celebration in the Smoky Mountains;

When maneuvering your way to the festival, plan to take side roads to the parking available at the convention center and trolley over to Patriot Park.

The Old Mill Restaurant doesn’t take reservations but don’t be deterred. They are used to serving the masses and have it down to a science! Put your name on the list 45 minutes prior to the time you’d like to eat and enjoy shopping in the many stores connected to and across the street from the restaurant. They have an intercom in each of their affiliated shops so you can hear when your party is called. Just let them know you will be in the shops so they give you enough time to head over without giving your table away.

For more information;

The Old Mill Restaurant

Patriot Festival, Pegeon Forge, Tennessee

Gatlinburg, Tennesse


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