Gatlinburg 4th of July midnight parade brings the crowds

Independence Day will once again begin with  37th Annual Gatlinburg Fourth of July Midnight Parade Tuesday night in Gatlinburg.

A marching band drum major on the streets of Gatlinburg during the annual 4th of July Midnight Parade early on July 4th, 2012. (Kyle Grainger / WVLT)

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Independence Day began early with the 37th Annual Gatlinburg Fourth of July Midnight Parade in Gatlinburg.

Tens of thousands lined the streets to watch the parade, and parade organizers say many people began lining up along road Tuesday morning ahead of the parade.

This year, the midnight parade honored members of the Tuskegee Airmen as grand marshals for the parade.

Two distinguished Cherokee World War 2 veterans, Robert Youngdeer and Rueben Taylor, were be honored as well.

The 100th Army Band from Fort Knox, KY led the parade, and play several shows at Ripley's Aquarium Plaza throughout the day.

Special Events Manager George Hawkins, organizer of the first midnight parade in 1976, said in a press release, "This will be one of the most patriotic and colorful midnight parades that the City of Gatlinburg has ever produced."

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