b'Gatlinburg always offers up exciting options for you and your family whilevacationing in the smokies, and 2022 has some long-time favorites and some new changes that youre sure to enjoy. First up is a first in the nation, with the first Independence Day Parade in America. Gatlinburgs award-winning Fourth of July Midnight Parade steps off at 12:01 am on Monday July 4th. It begins at theintersection of East Parkway and Baskins Creek Bypass, turning south onto the Parkway at traffic light #3. The parade continues through town ending at Ski Mountain Road. Parade-goers are encouraged to arrive early to avoid traffic and secure a place to watch the midnight parade anywhere along the parkway. The parade has been named by National Geographic Traveler Magazine as a Top Ten Parade to see in the US and by Livability.com as one of the Five Best Fourth of July Celebrations in Smaller Cities, also earning multiple Grand Pinnacle Awards for the International Festivals and Event Association. From May 30September 5, you can come and experience a bit of an aquaticfairytale as Mermaids are at Ripleys Aquarium of the Smokies. See the mermaids in live shows, meet & greets, and photo opportunities daily. Ryan DeSear, generalmanager of Ripleys noted that they are excited about having the Mermaids back at the Aquarium. They are such a great addition for everyone to enjoy of all ages. Be entertained by the mystical beauty of the Mermaids as they perform daily at 12:30, 2:00 and 4:30 pm throughout the summer.Rounding out the featured excitement is a significant upgrade and change at a favorite mountain coaster. Located at traffic light #2, the Moonshine Mountain Coaster has upgraded the tracks with new carts, new safety features, and a newoperating system. This state-of-the-art safety system is enhanced by all new lighting and theming, with even cooler things in store for this year! The updated theming throughout is an experience of Mountain Moonshine as you race down themountain, delivering the shine to those in need. As the year progresses, projectors and lasers will be added to round out the immersive experience. The Mountain Moonshine Coaster is reopening in the spring, and you can follow them on Facebook to check out updates on the progress of this one of a kind coaster experience. For more exciting events coming up this spring and summer, make sure to check out the calendar of events on page 23. SmokyMountainNavigator.com 111'