LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C.— Lake Junaluska has announced that members of the local, acclaimed bluegrass band Balsam Range will lead Lake Junaluska’s Independence Day Parade as grand marshals.
The parade takes place on July 4 at 11 a.m., and the theme is “Red, White and Bluegrass: Celebrating the Music of the Mountains.”
“Balsam Range is a perfect representative for this year’s theme,” said Mitzi Johnson, director of programming at Lake Junaluska. “They understand how important music is to mountain culture, and they have always given back to this community. We’re honored to have them as our Grand Marshals.”
Balsam Range formed in Haywood County in 2007 and has grown to international fame. The group received the 2014 IBMA "Entertainer of the Year" award as well as the 2014 IBMA "Vocal Group of the Year" award.
In 2016, Balsam Range began the Art of Music Festival, which brings together musicians at Lake Junaluska during the first weekend in December. The band chose the date intentionally as a way to boost tourism during the time that typically has the lowest hotel occupancy throughout the county. The band plans to expand the festival into a county-wide event, further giving back to the community and highlighting the unique resources of this region.
The hometown-style parade is open to all who would like to participate. To register, visit www.lakejunaluska.com/july4th. The route begins at the newly renovated Lambuth Inn and proceeds along North Lakeshore Drive to its conclusion at the Nanci Weldon Memorial Gym. A barbecue picnic follows the parade with awards for categories like most patriotic, most enthusiastic and best theme.
The picnic begins at 12 p.m. on July 4 at the Nanci Weldon Memorial Gym and includes live music from Whitewater Bluegrass Company, bounce houses, face painting and a balloon artist. A barbecue lunch is available during the picnic. Adults are $9, children 4-11 are $5 and kids 3 and under eat free.
At 1:30 p.m. a square dance led by “Uncle” Ted White of Whitewater Bluegrass Company begins. All ages and skill levels are invited to participate.
The theme “Red, White and Bluegrass: Celebrating the Music of the Mountains” will carry throughout the other Lake Junaluska Independence Day activities as well, from the garden tour on July 3 that will feature musicians at four out of five locations; to concerts by Balsam Range on July 2, The Martins on July 3 and the Lake Junaluska Singers on July 4.
Tickets for the barbecue picnic are available at the Bethea Welcome Center and concert tickets are available online by visiting www.lakejunaluska.com/july4th. A full schedule of events for the Independence Day Celebrations is available online at www.lakejunaluska.com/july4th.
Lake Junaluska is a place of Christian hospitality where lives are transformed through renewal of soul, mind and body. For more information about Lake Junaluska programs and events, visit www.lakejunaluska.com.