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, 2022

Lake Junaluska’s annual Independence Day Celebration features a weekend of family-friendly fun — from concerts to fireworks to floating wish lanterns. The holiday weekend 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 Smokes (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

2022 Schedule of Events

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

8:45 p.m. | Floating Wish Lanterns on the Lake

Father and son walking down the fairway of a Lake Junaluska Golf Course hole.
Saturday, July 2

8:30 a.m. | Morning Devotion by the Lake
7 a.m.- 7 p.m. | Closest to the Pin Golf Competition at the Lake Junaluska Golf Course
9 a.m.-11 a.m. | Round Robin Tennis Tournament Register now for the tournament
11 a.m. | Decorated Kayak/Canoe/Paddleboard Flotilla Contest at the Colonnade Register now to join the flotilla.
11 a.m. | Porch Decorating Contest Register now to enter the contest.
1 p.m. | Blue Ridge Big Band concert
3 p.m. | Reading of the Declaration of Independence by Ashley Calhoun at Shackford Hall Porch
4 p.m. | Storytime for Kids at the Library

Boy points at fireworks over the lake
Sunday, July 3

9 a.m. | Outdoor Summer Worship Service with the Reverend Dr. Audrey Warren and GloryWay at the lakeside tent
Afternoon & Evening | Kona Ice for sale near pool
7 p.m. | GloryWay concert | Stuart Auditorium Buy concert tickets online.
7 p.m. | Tethered RE/MAX hot air balloon rides (weather permitting) & face painting at field by Nanci Weldon Memorial Gym
9:30 p.m. | Fireworks

Independence Day Parade
Monday, July 4

11 a.m. | Parade – Register online to be in the parade!
12 p.m. | Food Trucks and Music by Whitewater Bluegrass at Open Air Gym
Food trucks will include Ruthie’s Famous Kettle Corn, Blundt Pretzels, Appalachian Smoke and Woof Street Bistro.
12-2 p.m. | Kid-Friendly Activities with Family Square Dance at Open Air Gym & Field
2-4 p.m. | N.C. Free Fishing Day (Fly Fishing Demonstration)
7:30 p.m. | Balsam Range Concert at Stuart Auditorium – Buy tickets.

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 an Independence Day holiday weekend full of fun:

  • tethered hot air balloon rides (weather permitting)
  • face painting
  • decorated kayak/canoe/paddleboard flotilla competition (Register now to join the flotilla.)
  • parade (Want to be in the parade? Register online.)
  • food trucks
  • family square dance
  • live bluegrass music
  • morning devotion
  • fireworks
  • floating wish lanterns (Learn more.)
  • fishing
  • storytime for kids
  • tennis tournament (Register for the tournament.)
  • decorated porch contest (Register for the porch contest.)
  • closest-to-the-pin contest at the golf course
  • Kona Ice for sale near pool afternoon and evening of Sunday, July 3
  • food trucks on Monday, July 3 including Ruthie’s Famous Kettle Corn, Blundt Pretzels, Appalachian Smoke, Woof Street Bistro

Recreation, Shopping & Dining – Holiday Hours
10 a.m.-5 p.m.  | Memorial Chapel open for prayer (Sunday hours are 1 -5 p.m.)
8 a.m.-8 p.m. (July 1, 2 & 4 ) and 10 a.m.-9 p.m. (July 3)  | Junaluska Gifts & Grounds
10 a.m.-7 p.m.  | Lake Junaluska Golf Course
10 a.m.-8 p.m.  | Lake Junaluska Outfitters (pool passes, kayak, canoe & paddleboard rentals)
11 a.m.-7 p.m. | Crepe & Custard Cafe
1 p.m.-8 p.m. | Cherokee IV boat tours. Private tours are available.
2 p.m. -5 p.m. | Lake Junaluska Library

We also invite you to visit 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 will place floating wish lanterns on the lake on Friday, July 1, at 8:45 p.m. Each lantern will carry 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.

To have a loved one’s name placed on a lantern, you may make a donation of $40 per lantern using the online giving form below. Donations for lanterns will be accepted online through Wednesday, June 29. These donations help sustain 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, will be shared on this webpage on the day of 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.

2021 Lanterns

Thank you to all who made a gift in 2021 to have a name placed on a lantern. Your gifts support the mission and ministry of Lake Junaluska.
Click here to download a full list of names of those who were honored and memorialized, along with the names of those who gave (.PDF)

Balsam Range Concert in Stuart Auditorium


Lake Junaluska’s Independence Day Celebrations feature concerts and music. Events finalized for 2022 include:

  • Blue Ridge Big Band. Saturday, July 2, at 1 p.m.
  • GloryWay. Sunday, July 3, at 7 p.m. at Stuart Auditorium. Tickets are $20 each and are on sale now online on iTickets. Buy tickets.
  • Bluegrass music and family square dance performed and led by Whitewater Bluegrass. Monday, July 4, from noon-2 p.m. at the open-air Nanci-Weldon Memorial Gym. (Food trucks and more family-friendly activities will take place at the gym and field! Details coming soon!)
  • Balsam Range concert. Monday, July 4, at 7:30 p.m. at Stuart Auditorium. Buy tickets.
Want to receive updates about Balsam Range concerts at Lake Junaluska? Subscribe below:
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Independence Day Celebration Square Dance
Kids watch fireworks at Lake Junaluska


Colorful displays of fireworks will cast reflections on the lake on Sunday, July 3, at approximately 9:30 p.m. as part of Lake Junaluska’s annual Independence Day Celebrations! The fireworks will be set off from the bridge over-the-dam and visible from locations around the lake.

The bridge over-the-dam will close on July 3 to vehicular traffic at 8 a.m. and to pedestrian traffic  at noon 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