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Celebrate Freedom: Your Essential Guide to Preparing for an Awesome Fourth of July


The Fourth of July holiday falls on a Monday this year, and you know what that means… we get to celebrate all weekend long!

Communities across the High Country will be serving up all sorts of summer fun that you and your family and friends will enjoy for days. Whether you’re looking for a parade, a concert, a cookout, a contest, great fireworks or even a reenactment of historical proportions at Horn in the West, we’ve got you covered.

Continue reading for more information on what’s going on around town this weekend and get the 411 on how to spend your holiday the right way.

We are surrounded by blessings in this great nation we call home — can you think of any better reason to celebrate?

Fourth of July Festivities in Newland

Friday and Saturday, July 1-2


FRIDAY: The Johnson Brothers in concert from 6-9 p.m. at Newland Riverwalk Bandshell followed by fireworks

SATURDAY: Downtown Newland’s Fourth of July holiday parade at 10:30 a.m. (lineup at the courthouse square at 9:30 a.m.). The parade will end at Riverwalk Park and will be followed by a community picnic with games, prizes, music, food, vendors, duck races and more!

Concerts sponsored by your Greater Newland Association and: Highland Pro-Clean, Premier Pharmacy & Mountain Jewelers. Fireworks courtesy of the Town of Newland.

“The Johnson Brothers” combine Rock, Country & Bluegrass and put on one of the biggest, most popular concert shows anywhere in the High Country. Then we cap off the evening right after the concert with a fantastic Fireworks Show produced by JECO Pyrotechnics. Saturday’s Parade features local business and organizational floats, horses, Crazy Cars, music & more. And, once again, the Newland Volunteer Fire Department will host Duck Races in the Toe River adjacent to the Bandshell stage area.

Concert Series MC Jason (“J-Man”) DeWitt will be calling the show Friday night with Food Vendors, Dancing, 50/50 Ticket Cash Drawings & Surprises!

DON’T FORGET…The TAM’S…yes…THE “TAMS” are back again at Newland’s Riverwalk stage Friday, July 8th from 6-9 PM for their all-star Beach Music Blast. So put on your best “Shaggin’ Shoes” and get your moves down…It will be Beach Music Memories for 3 big hours…and IT’S ALL FREE!

Visit our Greater Newland Association tent during Friday night concerts or check out our web site at www.GreaterNewland.org for details.

*Alternate rain concert locations posted on our website by 4pm each Friday.

Other events in Newland:

July 2nd -4th

Minneapolis, Crossnore, Elk Park, Cranberry, Linville Falls, Pineola & Plumtree 4th Celebrations.

July 4th

Classic Car Show @ Avery Elementary School, Newland.

Mile High Fourth of July at Beech

Friday through Monday, July 1-4

Banner Elk Fourth of July Parade. Photo by Todd Bush.
Banner Elk Fourth of July Parade. Photo by Todd Bush.

The mountain resort towns of Banner Elk and Beech Mountain have teamed up for a sizzling cool way to celebrate Independence Day weekend. The inaugural Mile High Fourth of July takes place July 1-4 and includes fireworks, barbecue, nine bands, a parade and much more.

Spread over four days in the two neighboring towns, this extravaganza offers a new option for the July holiday weekend. Highlights include a mile-high fireworks show Saturday night atop Beech Mountain and an all-American parade Monday on Main Street in Banner Elk.

“Banner Elk always holds its parade and ‘party in the park’ on the Fourth, while Beech Mountain always holds its fireworks and ‘roasting of the hog’ on the Saturday closest to the Fourth, so it seemed like a natural fit to partner on a larger celebration,” says Mike Dunn, chairperson of the Banner Elk Tourism Development Authority.

Both the fireworks show and the parade include other activities, such as family games, barbecue feasts and live music.

Speaking of live music, the weekend headliner will be Charlotte band Brandon Kirkley and the Firecrackers playing a 3 p.m. Sunday concert in the town meadow in Beech Mountain, which is Eastern America’s highest town at 5,506 feet in elevation. The aptly-named band will perform classic and modern rock and pop hits, many of which have a patriotic theme.

There is no admission charge for most of the nine bands playing at various venues across the four days, including the Sunday concert in the Beech town meadow.

Arts aficionados can take advantage of the four-day Art on the Greene fine arts and crafts show in downtown Banner Elk, as well as three stage performances of “Mary Poppins” by the Lees-McRae College summer theatre in Banner Elk.

Another activity is the two-day NatuRally Beech Weekend (Saturday and Sunday) hosted by the Buckeye Recreation Center. It includes educational programs, hikes, and workshops on the local environment.

A craft beer colla-brew-ration is on tap. Beech Mountain Brewing Co. and Flat Top Brewing Co. have teamed on a summer wheat IPA dubbed “Red, Wheat & Brew” which will be available at both breweries throughout the weekend.

Blowing Rock Festival and Parade

Saturday, July 2


Join the town of Blowing Rock for games, music, and fun! Free entertainment all day, plus the best small-town Main Street parade you’ll find anywhere.  All events take place in downtown Blowing Rock, except the fireworks which will be held at the Blowing Rock Country Club. The public is welcome at the Club for the special event. Find the games and music in Memorial Park on Main Street.

Here’s the schedule for the 2016 celebration:

9am-until: Adult Horse Shoe Tournament (18 years & up, $75 first place, $50 second place)

9 am-11 am: Park Games (prizes awarded for 1st and 2nd place in all games!)

  • Water Balloon Toss
  • Watermelon Eating Contest
  • More, plus Face Painting

11 am-4:30 pm: Climbing Tower & Bounce Obstacle Course

Noon – 1:30 pm: Live music by Whitney Layne

2pm: Independence Day Parade

3 pm – 4:30pm: Bluegrass Gospel- The Cockman Family

9:30pm: Fireworks at the Blowing Rock Country Club

Sunday, July 3rd
1 pm – 3 pm: Live music by Maybe Maybe Not
3 pm – 7 pm: Park Dance- Summerdaze

For more information, call Blowing Rock Parks & Recreation at 828-295-5222

Fireworks at Sugar Mountain Resort

Saturday, July 2


Sugar Mountain Resort’s spectacular Fourth of July fireworks show can be viewed from the mountain’s 5,300’ peak on Saturday,July 2nd. The fireworks show, sponsored by the Village of Sugar Mountain Tourism Development Authority, will begin around 9:30pm. The Summit Express chairlift will run from 10:00am until 10:00pm for the special event’s mountain peak access.

Beginning Friday, July 1st and running through Monday, July 4th from 10am until 6pm Sugar Mountain Sports Shop, located in the ski lodge will be open offering 30-60% off select items.

Visit us this Fourth-of-July and experience the beauty of summer on Sugar Mountain. For more information call 800-SUGAR-MT or visitwww.skisugar.com.

Burning in Effigy of King George III

at Horn in the West

Saturday, July 2


Join us at Hickory Ridge Living History Museum as we celebrate our nation’s independence in the style typical of the 1780’s and ’90’s in North Carolina. Since the 4th of July falls on our day off this year, we will be holding this event on Saturday, July 2, 2016, beginning at 5:30. The Declaration of Independence will be read aloud and members of the audience will have an opportunity to participate in the reading. The audience will also hear a eulogy for King George III while his dummy is burned in effigy. Those in attendance will toast with apple cider, reminiscent of the Toasts of Halifax in 1789.

There will also be a military salute to the new nation by firing 13 volleys from the black powder rifles, one shot for each of the original colonies.

Banner Elk Parade and Party in the Park

Monday, July 4


The Annual Fourth of July Parade in Banner Elk will be held on July 4th at 11am.  The Parade starts at Lees-McRae College and travels down Main St. to Tate-Evans Park. This year the parade will honor the Vietnam Era Veterans of Avery County by having them as the Grand Marshalls.
Anyone who would like to be in the parade is welcome and no registration is necessary. Line up begins around 10am near the bookstore at Lees-McRae College.  So dress up your car, your bikes, your pets and yourself and join the fun!
Following the parade, the Banner Elk Kiwanis Club will hold Party in the Park at Tate-Evans Park with food, games and ducks races all to benefit local children.
For more information visit www.bannerelk.org or call 828-898-8395

Bethel Blast

Monday, July 4

Bethel Baptist Church (an attending congregation of less than 300 each week) has hosted its annual Bethel Blast event every summer for more than a decade. This massive community outreach program brings people in droves to celebrate our nation’s independence with fellowship, food and fun in the park at Bethel Elementary.

The church graciously provides a full barbecue dinner, live music from popular local groups and an outstanding fireworks display, all at no cost for guests.

This year, the church anticipates a crowd of 4,000-5,000 people; but don’t worry, the sweeping open countryside of the Bethel community and the beautiful grounds of Bethel Park offer more than enough space for everyone to kick back and have a good time.

Bring a lawn chair or blanket and a dessert to share if you’d like to contribute.

Music this year will be provided by local groups Amantha Mill, Blue Country and Bethel Road.

Trust us, you don’t want to miss this one-of-a-kind event!

Bethel Baptist is located at 123 Mountain Dale Road at the intersection of Bethel and Mountain Dale Roads. The elementary school and adjacent park are located across Bethel Road from the church.

Downtown Boone Parade and Fireworks

Monday, July 4


The annual downtown Boone 4th of July parade starts at 11 a.m. on July 4th.  This is a wonderful event for the whole family to enjoy.  Find a spot of King St. to watch the parde travel through downtown.  After the parade join the Mayor of Boone for cake and refreshments at the Jones House Cultural and Community Center.  All community groups and organizations are encouraged to participate.  Click here for a 2016 parade registration form.

Later that evening, enjoy more festivities at the Clawson/Burnley Park off of Hunting Hills Lane starting at 7:00 p.m. with a fireworks display at 9:30 p.m.

Call 828.268.6280 for more information.

Thank you to everyone that participated in the 2015 4th of July parade!  We look forward to another great July 4th in 2016.

Crossnore Craft Fair and Fireworks

Monday, July 4


This event, sponsored by the Crossnore Volunteer Fire Department, includes a craft fair beginning at 10 a.m., hamburgers and hot dogs for sale, free watermelon, a parade at 4 p.m., and a street dance. A fireworks display put on by the volunteer firemen concludes the festivities!

Liberty Parade in Todd

Monday, July 4


In light of recent politics, floods, deaths, and bad news all around, let’s keep  “Tuning In” to all things good and take this opportunity to be together on July 4, to celebrate our freedom to joyful, thriving communities in Todd and beyond.

Here’s the nitty gritty for you and your friends coming to the parade:

10:00-10:30am Arrive at the corner of Hwy 194 and Todd Railroad Grade Rd*
11:00 Parade promptly leaves for downtown Todd
11:30 Music with the King Bees in Cook Park**

* Parking is $5 – consider it a donation to the great work of Elkland!
** Delicious and quenching food will be available to purchase, also benefitting Elkland.

The annual Liberty Day Parade hosted by the Elkland Art Center is “an expression of community spirit through costumes, props, and giant puppets” following a specific theme each year. It’s free for all to participate; arrive around 10:30 a.m. to get a costume, prop, or puppet! The parade will begin at 11 a.m. in a field at the corner of NC Highway 194N and Railroad Grade Road in Todd. For more information, call 336-877-5016.

Tweetsie Railroad Fireworks Extravaganza

Monday, July 4


The most spectacular fireworks show in the High Country will be even better this summer when Tweetsie Railroad celebrates America¹s Independence Day and the anniversary of the park¹s opening day. On Monday, July 4, 2016, North Carolina¹s first theme park will stay open late to put on one of the High Country¹s most popular events, Tweetsie Railroad¹s July 4thFireworks Extravaganza. The park will stay open until 9:00 p.m., and at 9:30 p.m. over 200 large caliber pyrotechnic mortar shells will light up the sky for all to enjoy. This year, even larger aerial pyrotechnics will be added to the show to make this the biggest-ever July 4th event at the theme park.

For those that want a VIP experience for the show, Tweetsie Railroad offers a premium viewing area that includes an optional dinner. A special chicken and barbeque buffet will be served in the Hacienda. VIP wristbands are available at the ticket office for $20 for adults and $15 for children ages 3 to 12; kids 2 two and under are free.

There¹s no better way to prepare for the celebration than enjoying all the rides, live shows, and other attractions in the park. Spend the day at Tweetsie Railroad and take a ride on a train pulled by the legendary steam locomotives at Tweetsie Railroad. The unforgettable three-mile Wild West adventure through the Blue Ridge Mountains is fun for the whole family. Visitors can visit the friendly animals at the Deer Park Zoo, see live performances and visit Miner¹s Mountain to pan for gold or mine for gems.

Tweetsie Railroad opened to the public on July 4, 1957, with a one-mile train trip to a picnic area. Since then, the ride has evolved into an entire theme park, expanding the train trip to three miles and adding Wild West-themed attractions and activities. The theme park hosts special events throughout the year to the delight of rail fans, children and visitors to the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Parking is available during the Independence Day celebration for $10 per vehicle, with no charge for Golden Rail Season Pass holders. In the event of severe weather, the fireworks show will be rescheduled for July 5th.

Tweetsie Railroad is open seven days a week from May 27 through August 21. The park returns to the weekend schedule from August 22 through October 30, including Labor Day Monday. The 2016 season ends Sunday, October 30. The park¹s regular hours are 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., but will be open until9:00 p.m. on July 4th for the Fireworks Extravaganza and July 9, 16, 23 and 30 for Cool Summer Nights. Daily admission to Tweetsie Railroad is $44 for adults and $28 for children ages 3 through 12. Children 2 and under are admitted free. The Ghost Train® Halloween Festival will take place Friday and Saturday nights September 23 through October 29 from 7:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., with an admission price of $36 for adults and children. Tickets and Golden Rail Season Passes are available at Tweetsie.com.

 Tweetsie Railroad is located on U.S. Highway 321 between Boone and Blowing Rock, North Carolina. For more information about the 2016 season at Tweetsie Railroad, visit Tweetsie.com or call 877.TWEETSIE (877.893.3874). Find Tweetsie Railroad on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Tweetsieand Twitter and Instagram, @TweetsieRR.