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

Independence Day Celebration

Book Lodging Package

Have fun with family and friends at Lake Junaluska this Independence Day

July 2-5, 2024

Lake Junaluska’s annual Independence Day Celebration features family-friendly fun — from concerts to fireworks to floating 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. We are also offering an Independence Day Celebration Lodging Package, which includes barbecue lunch, a guided lake cruise and more!

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.

Tentative Schedule

The Independence Day Celebration schedule is tentative and is subject to change.

Visitors enjoy an outdoor concert at the lakeside tent
Sunday, June 30, 2024

9 a.m. | Outdoor Summer Worship  Lakeside White Tent | Rev. Riley Short | music provided by Jonathan D. Williams, traditional organist/pianist.

Harrell Center Morning Devotion
Monday, July 1, 2024

7-9 a.m. | Terrace Hotel Buffet Breakfast
8:30 a.m.
| Morning Devotion by the Lake Harrell Center Porch | Rev. Riley Short

Tennis at Lake Junaluska
Tuesday, July 2, 2024

7-9 a.m. | Terrace Hotel Buffet Breakfast
9-11 a.m. | Round Robin Tennis Tournament  Outfitters Tennis Courts (Register online)
6:30-7:30 p.m. | Yoga at the Lake Inspiration Point (Register online)
7 p.m. | Balsam Range Concert and special guest Kings Cross Stuart Auditorium (Buy Tickets!)


Fireworks reflect on the water at Lake Junaluska
Wednesday, July 3, 2024

7-9 a.m. | Terrace Hotel Buffet Breakfast
7 a.m.-7 p.m. | Closest to the Pin Golf Competition  Lake Junaluska Golf Course
8:30-9:30 a.m. | Paddle to the Cross | Leave from Boat Beach (Register online)
10 a.m. | QiGong for Energy and Vitality Outdoor Lawn Near Memorial Chapel
11 a.m. | Decorated Kayak/Canoe/Paddleboard Flotilla Contest  Colonnade (Register online)
12:30 p.m. | Judging for Decorated Porches Contest (Register online) 
6 p.m. | Jason Crabb Concert and Comedian Mickey Bell Stuart Auditorium (Buy Tickets!)
9:30 p.m. | Fireworks From the Lake Junaluska Dam (For special viewing, buy Fireworks Lake Cruise Tickets!)

Independence Day Celebration Square Dance
Thursday, July 4, 2024

7-9 a.m. | Terrace Hotel Buffet Breakfast
11 a.m. | Parade  North Lakeshore Drive
12-2 p.m. | Family Fun on the Fourth
Free to attend with lunch available for purchase. Cookout Buffet Picnic (Buy lunch tickets in advance or at the door.), Whitewater Bluegrass (live music), Family Square Dance & More Kid-Friendly Fun  Open-Air Nanci Weldon Memorial Gym
7 p.m.  |  Reading of the Declaration of Independence and Singing Soldiers Concert Lakeside White Tent
8 p.m. | Storytelling and Music around the Campfire with John Scott Shackford Firepit

Floating wish lanterns cast glimmers of light on the water
Friday, July 5, 2024

7-9 a.m. | Terrace Hotel Buffet Breakfast
9-11 a.m. |  Pickleball Tournament (Register Online)
7 p.m. |  Blue Ridge Big Band Concert   Lakeside White Tent
9:15 p.m. |  Floating Lanterns on the Lake (Donate and Dedicate a Lantern)





Porch Decorating Contest

Lake Junaluska hosts an annual porch decorating contest on July 3rd as part of the Independence Day Celebration. Take time to drive or walk by participating houses during the holiday festivities. Register online.

Recreation, Shopping & Dining

Visit Junaluska Gifts & Grounds, Crepe & Custard, and enjoy the Lake Junaluska golf course, pool, boat rentals, tennis/pickleball, playground, mini-golf, walking trail and gardens, lakeside cruises and library. Memorial Chapel will also be open for prayer.

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:

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 Lanterns

As part of Lake Junaluska’s multi-day Independence Day Celebration, staff and volunteers place floating lanterns on the lake. 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. Make a gift and dedicate a lantern online. Donations will be accepted online through Wednesday, July 3.

Thank you to all who have made a gift in 2023 to have a name placed on a lantern for the event on July 1, 2023. Your gifts support the mission and ministry of Lake Junaluska. A list of names of those who are honored and memorialized, along with the names of those who gave, is now available. View the list of 2024 Lake Junaluska Floating Wish Lantern Dedications (PDF) made in advance of the event and see a Facebook album of photos. An album of photos will be shared during the week following the event.

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.

Whitewater Bluegrass plays music at Independence Day Celebrations-1


Lake Junaluska’s Independence Day Celebrations feature concerts and music!

Balsam Range takes the stage at historic Stuart Auditorium with special guest Kings Cross on Tuesday, July 2.  Buy tickets. 

Jason Crabb & Comedian Mickey Bell perform with special guest Poet Voices at historic Stuart Auditorium on Wednesday, July 3 before the mountain lake fireworks show. Buy tickets.

Voices in the Laurel will lead the singing of the national anthem at noon on Thursday, July 4, at the Family Fun on the Fourth cookout buffet picnic event. Then, Whitewater Bluegrass will perform live and lead a family square dance. Singing Soldiers also perform on July 4.

Blue Ridge Big Band will play a concert at the white lakeside tent on Friday, July 5, before the Floating Lanterns on the Lake.

Independence Day Celebration Square Dance
Kids watch fireworks at Lake Junaluska


Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Approximately 9:30 p.m.

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. Tickets are also available for a Fireworks Lake Cruise aboard the Cherokee IV (Buy tickets!)!

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
  • Clark & Leatherwood, Inc
  • Maple Tree Veterinary Hospital
  • RCF Construction, Inc.

Friends Sponsors

  • Beverly-Hanks, McElroy & Ellege Team
  • First United Methodist Church, Sylva
  • First United Methodist Church, Waynesville
  • Haywood Ace Hardware
  • Long’s Chapel
  • Pactiv Evergreen
  • The Mountaineer
View of the Lake Junaluska walking trail