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Lake Junaluska has quintessential Fourth of July Celebration


Celebrate Independence Day this year at Lake Junaluska, everybody’s favorite small-town, hometown Fourth of July extravaganza, July 3-6. This celebration will feature the always-popular Independence Day Parade, a picnic, music, a water ski show and so much more. And this year, see three concerts –including Balsam Range – all for the price of one general admission ticket of $17.50.

This year’s celebration kicks off at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, July 3, with a fish fry featuring cod, shrimp and catfish at the tent between Stuart Auditorium and the Harrell Center. Tickets are limited and must be purchased at the Bethea Welcome Center. Following the fish fry, the Lake Junaluska Singers will perform at 7:30 p.m.

On Friday, July 4, join the fun at “A Star Spangled Salute,” Lake Junaluska’s quintessential small-town Fourth of July parade, from 11 a.m. to noon, as it wends its way along beautiful Lakeshore Drive to the Nanci Weldon (outdoor) Gym. Filled with floats of all shapes and sizes, walkers, pets and generations of families all decked out in red, white and blue, this long-time favorite represents the heart of Lake Junaluska and the spirit of this country’s Independence Day.

The festivities continue from noon to 2 p.m. at the Nanci Weldon Gym, with a barbecue picnic, bluegrass music and family activities, followed by the Junaluska Singers at 7:30 p.m. at historic Stuart Auditorium. And the grand finale—for all of Haywood County on the Fourth of July—is a stunning fireworks display over the lake at about 9:30 p.m.

Saturday, July 5, is a big family day with a slew of activities at the recreation area near the Lake Junaluska Pool, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Enjoy field games, boat races and a miniature golf competition. All eyes will be on the lake itself at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. when Carolina Water Ski makes a return performance. Featuring skiers from age 5 to 60, these highly trained and talented skiers will perform breath-taking maneuvers as human pyramids, in ballet formation, on bare feet, and more.

Then feed the family at the Lake Junaluksa bluegrass dinner, complete with country style steak, Southern fried chicken and molasses-baked ham, plus all the trimmings, starting at 5:30 p.m. in the tent between Stuart Auditorium and the Harrell Center.

Cap off a perfect day with a concert by Haywood County’s own Balsam Range at 7:30 p.m. in historic Stuart Auditorium.

End the holiday weekend at 10:45 a.m. Sunday, July 6, at Lake Junaluska’s Summer Worship Service with guest preacher The Rev. Dr. James Howell in historic Stuart Auditorium. Howell is the senior pastor of Myers Park United Methodist Church in Charlotte and has written more than 10 books. His most recent book, “Struck From Behind: My Memoirs of God,” was published in 2012.

Tickets for the fish fry and bluegrass dinner are $18 for adults and $9 for children 6 to 11 and must be purchased at the Bethea Welcome Center. Tickets for the July 4 barbecue are $8 for adults and children 12 and older, $5 for children ages 6 to 11, and free for children under 6. Tickets for the two Lake Junaluska Singers concerts and the Balsam Range concert are $17.50 for all three concerts for general admission, or $20 each for reserved seating. Get three concerts for the price of one at the $17.50 price. To participate in the Independence Day parade, contact Beth Buchanan at

For more information, please visit, or call 800-222-4930.

July 4 activities are sponsored in part by Lake Junaluska Conference & Retreat Center, HCTDA (, The Smoky Mountain News, Clark and Leatherwood Inc., Sheppard Insurance, The Mountaineer, and Wells Fargo.

Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center is an agency of the Southeastern Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church. The mission of Lake Junaluska is to be a place of Christian Hospitality where lives are transformed through renewal of soul, mind, and body.


Stephanie Drum
Lake Junaluska