Participants in decorated kayaks and canoes participate in a flotilla parade as part of Independence Day Celebrations

Independence Day Celebrations

Bring the family together at Lake Junaluska to make memories this Independence Day

July 1-4, 2023

Lake Junaluska’s annual Independence Day Celebration features family-friendly fun — from concerts to fireworks to floating wish lanterns. The holiday event will be full of activities as well as time to soak up summer enjoying the lakeside swimming pool, a round of golf or mini golf, a cruise on the Cherokee IV pontoon boat or a canoe, kayak or paddleboard rental. The annual celebration is made possible with support from Visit NC Smokies (Plan Your Trip!) and our Friends of the Lake Sponsors.

Accommodations can be booked now at the lakeside Terrace Hotel and historic Lambuth Inn.

To book lodging at Lake Junaluska, call 800-222-4930 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or book online.

Spend a fun-filled Independence Day weekend at Lake Junaluska. Book Now

Floating wish lanterns cast glimmers of light on the water
Saturday, July 1, 2023

6:30-9 a.m. | Terrace Hotel Buffet Breakfast
9-11 a.m.
| Round Robin Tennis Tournament Outfitters Tennis Courts
8:45 p.m. | Floating Wish Lanterns on the Lake

Balsam Range Concert in Stuart Auditorium
Sunday, July 2, 2023

6:30-9 a.m. | Terrace Hotel Buffet Breakfast
9 a.m. | Summer Worship Lakeside White Tent
7:30 p.m. | Balsam Range in Concert Stuart Auditorium

Fireworks reflect on the water at Lake Junaluska
Monday, July 3, 2023

6:30-9 a.m. | Terrace Hotel Buffet Breakfast
7 a.m.-7 p.m. | Closest to the Pin Golf Competition Lake Junaluska Golf Course
8:30 a.m. | Morning Devotion by the Lake Harrell Center Porch
11 a.m. | Decorated Kayak/Canoe/Paddleboard Flotilla Contest Colonnade
12 p.m. | Judging for Decorated Porches Contest
7:30 p.m. | Blue Ridge Big Band concert Lakeside white tent
9:30 p.m. | Fireworks

Independence Day Celebration Square Dance
Tuesday, July 4, 2023

6:30-9 a.m. | Terrace Hotel Buffet Breakfast
11 a.m. | Parade North Lakeshore Drive
12-2 p.m. | Food Trucks & Family Fun on the Fourth
Picnic, Whitewater Bluegrass (live music), Family Square Dance & More Kid-Friendly Fun
Open-Air Nanci Weldon Memorial Gym 

Group of friends paddleboarding on Lake Junaluska

Family Fun

Free or low-cost family-friendly activities throughout Lake Junaluska’s Independence Day Celebration are offered through the Lake’s Summer Activities Program. Join us for a multi-day Independence Day Celebration  full of activities such as:

  • face painting
  • decorated kayak/canoe/paddleboard flotilla competition
  • parade
  • food trucks
  • family square dance
  • live bluegrass music
  • morning devotion
  • fireworks
  • floating wish lanterns
  • fishing
  • tennis tournament
  • decorated porch contest
  • closest-to-the-pin contest at the golf course

We also invite you to shop or enjoy ice cream at Junaluska Gifts & Grounds; play a round of golf at the Lake Junaluska Golf Course, swim at the lakeside pool, take a tour on the Cherokee IV pontoon boat, or rent a kayak, canoe or paddleboard. You can also explore the Christmas Memories shop at Lambuth Inn, lakeside walking trail, playground, and gardens and places of meditation, and enjoy fishing and birding!

Face Painting at Independence Day Celebrations
Floating Wish lanterns glimmer on the lake

Floating Wish Lanterns

Staff and volunteers place floating wish lanterns on the lake as part of the Independence Day Celebration. Each lantern carries a name in remembrance or in honor of a loved one.  All are welcome to the lakeside to enjoy, celebrate and admire this enchanting and meaningful display.

Thank you to all who made a gift in 2022 to have a name placed on a lantern. Your gifts support the mission and ministry of Lake Junaluska. A full list of names of those who are honored and memorialized, along with the names of those who gave, is now available. View the full list of 2022 Lake Junaluska Floating Wish Lantern Dedications (PDF) and see an album of photos on Facebook. An online form will be placed on the floating wish lanterns events page closer to the 2023 event for those who would like to make a gift to have a name placed on a lantern.

To help keep the lake clean, the lanterns are biodegradable and staff and volunteers will help gather as many lanterns as possible from the lake after the event as soon as conditions allow.

Balsam Range Concert in Stuart Auditorium

Music

Lake Junaluska’s Independence Day Celebrations feature concerts and music. Concerts confirmed for 2023 include:

Independence Day Celebration Square Dance
Kids watch fireworks at Lake Junaluska

Fireworks

Colorful displays of fireworks will cast reflections on the lake as part of Lake Junaluska’s annual Independence Day Celebrations! The fireworks are set off from the bridge over the dam and visible from locations around the lake.

On the day of the fireworks show, the bridge over-the-dam, including the portion of the Walking Trail that goes over the bridge, will close early to vehicular and pedestrian traffic for safety reasons as preparations are made for the event.

Visitors enjoy an outdoor concert at the lakeside tent

Sponsors

Thank you to Visit NC Smokies and our Friends of the Lake sponsors below for helping make this event possible!

Partnership Sponsor

  • Haywood Regional Medical Center

Patron Sponsors

  • Smoky Mountain News
  • RCF Construction, Inc.

Friends Sponsors

  • Clark & Leatherwood, Inc.
  • First United Methodist Church, Waynesville
  • Long’s Chapel
  • Maple Tree Veterinary Hospital
  • The Mountaineer
  • Pactiv Evergreen
  • Haywood Ace Hardware
  • Beverly-Hanks, McElroy & Ellege Team
View of the Lake Junaluska walking trail

Thank you to all who joined us for our 2022 Independence Day Celebration weekend! We enjoyed floating wish lanterns, music, fireworks and more.  We invite you to view photos below and on Lake Junaluska’s Facebook page. You can also view the full list of the 2022 Lake Junaluska Floating Wish Lantern Dedications (PDF) and the special album on Facebook of wish lantern photos. We hope you will make plans now to join us again next year!