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

Independence Day Celebrations

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!

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

July 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 at Lake Junaluska. Book Now

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
  • storytime for kids
  • 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.

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


Lake Junaluska’s Independence Day Celebrations feature concerts and music. Past celebrations have featured such events as a Balsam Range concert at historic Stuart Auditorium, an outdoor lakeside performance by Blue Ridge Big Band and a GloryWay gospel quartet show before the fireworks. Lake Junaluska also has welcomed Whitewater Bluegrass to perform and lead a family square dance at the open-air gym.

Independence Day Celebration Square Dance
Kids watch fireworks at Lake Junaluska


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


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