(WBIR, Gatlinburg) - Gatlinburg is gearing up for its 39th annual 4th of July Midnight Parade. The parade, which honors military veterans and heroes, will start at 12 a.m. Thursday and last into the early Friday morning hours.
Camping and lawn chairs were already lined up on the curb in downtown Gatlinburg as early as 5:00 a.m. Thursday morning, more than 15 hours before the parade starts.
The city is expecting around 100,000 spectators which will give businesses there a big boost.
"What this parade means for us in July is heads in beds, people eating, spending money, visiting our attractions, having ice cream cones and candy apples. It's a great time for businesses in Gatlinburg," said Marci Claude, public relations manager for the Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Claude says parade-goers should arrive early since they are expecting a large crowd.
The Parade route will extend from traffic light #1A on East Parkway, turn South onto Parkway at traffic light #3, then travel the length of the downtown street to traffic light #10 at Ski Mountain Road.
Gatlinburg will continue their Independence Day celebrations on Friday with a River Raft Regatta at 12:00 p.m. and fireworks at 10:00 p.m.