Where better to celebrate the 4th of July weekend than in one of the South’s most patriotic cities? As home to Fort Campbell and the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), as well as other special forces units, Clarksville, Tennessee pulls out all the stops to celebrate our nation’s independence. Dozens of veteran-owned businesses and patriotic-inspired places, people and events make Clarksville a perfect choice for a getaway to celebrate the holiday weekend.
Veteran-Owned and Themed Food & Beverage
Many of the veterans who retire from military service at Fort Campbell, or who have served here during their career, choose Clarksville as their permanent home. Of those, many use all they’ve gleaned from their global experiences and inspirations for starting their own businesses, be it restaurants, retail outlets, coffee shops, attractions or breweries. Enjoy some of these veteran-owned businesses during your stay.
- What’s the 4th of July without pulled pork BBQ?! Food truck turned brick-and-mortar, Legends Smokehouse & Grill serves up some of the best and most creative entrees around with brisket, pork, burgers, and amazing desserts. Owner Kevin Smith served in the Marines and his wife Yvette retired from the Army with 23 years of service. Make sure to check out the restrooms’ signage and fixtures – all built by Kevin. They recently opened their second location in Clarksville.
- Pick up picnic goodies at Gingham Café. Their to-go coolers are stocked full of picnic favorites like pimento cheese, grape salad, and refreshing fruit tea.
- Blackhorse Pub & Brewery in downtown Clarksville honors a unit of the 160th Special Forces – not the unit owner Jeff Robinson was attached to, but a unit he greatly admired. Blackhorse reopened in downtown Clarksville in April 2022 after a fire closed the restaurant for 13 months. Local favorites include beer cheese dip, pizzas, and beers.
- Star Spangled Brewing Co. has two locations in Clarksville. The new spot, located in downtown Clarksville, highlights an All-American camping motif and includes décor that’s all hand created by veteran and owner Josh Romaker.
- The Fallen Brewery's Army Veteran Owner Nathan Manese wanted to pay tribute to all the soldiers who never made it home, while at the same time creating a space for community and conversation.
- Old Glory Distilling Co. with bourbon, whiskey, moonshine, and vodka also offers plenty of patriotic merch in the large gift shop.
- If you can’t live without your daily coffee dose or love to try local takes on your brews, a handful of Clarksville’s local shops are also Veteran-owned. They’re sprinkled all over town, so wherever you find yourself, you’ll likely find a Veteran-owned coffeehouse nearby. Downtown, Founding Frothers features artwork showcasing different aspects of American history each month. You’ll also spot founding father bobbleheads around the shop.
- Mission BBQ and Black Rifle Coffee are two regionally based businesses that pay high homage to troops on a daily basis.
Things to Do
The Flip'n Axe is an entertainment center sure to bring excitement to your stay. Designed for ages 13 and up, axe throwing will bring out the competitors in your group, along with loads of fun. Check out their rage room, play some cornhole, and compete in video games.
A premier shotgun destination, Cross Creek Clays is nestled in the rolling hills of Palmyra just south of Clarksville. The site boasts two 16-station sporting courses, an 8-station sub gauge/beginner's course with 4 traps per station, a covered 5-stand, and FITASC Parcours practice fields. It’s open to the public seven days a week.
Places to See
Names like Liberty Park, Freedom Point and Patriots Park give you an even better idea of how this city treasures our freedom and those who preserve it. At Liberty Park, make sure to see the tributes to Clarksville’s gold-medal Olympians Wilma Rudolph and Pat Head Summitt. The Wilma Rudolph statue is beside the entrance to the Wilma Rudolph Event Center. Her runner stance along the building is backlit at night and truly impressive! Some of her quotes are on the walkway leading to the statue. Our favorite is, “The doctor told me I’d never walk again. My mother told me I could do anything I wanted. I chose to listen to my mother.” Read the back story about this quote and Wilma’s biography here. Also, see a more expansive display about her at the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center.
At the far end of the park along the river by Freedom Point sits Pat Head Summitt Legacy Plaza. In addition to a full-size statue, this area includes panels that tell Pat’s story from childhood through her NCAA accomplishments and the many accolades that followed. The plaza floor is none other than orange and white checkered to honor her 38 seasons with the University of Tennessee Lady Vols.
Patriots Park near Fort Campbell’s Gate 1 entrance is a beautiful memorial park that pays tribute to Combat Wounded Veterans, Prisoners of War, and those missing in action. A quarter-mile walking trail is surrounded by trees and flowers, providing an ideal place to remember the sacrifices made by so many for our freedom. Be sure to visit Tip of the Spear, a 27-foot tall stainless steel sculpture symbolizing the strength and resilience of the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell.
Fireworks & Freedom
Finally, fireworks! Clarksville’s Independence Day Celebration takes place on July 3 at Liberty Park. Live music, inflatables, games, and food set the stage for fireworks over the river that begin around 9:10 p.m. This captivating display is only more magnificent with the water reflection. Because it’s on the third, spend the night and enjoy another full day exploring all the sites that make Clarksville a top patriotic destination.
And, if one display isn’t enough, stay through the 4th and continue the celebration with another spectacular show at Fort Campbell. This party kicks off at 4:00 p.m. with a Kids Zone and local food trucks. Activities continue through the afternoon until Lynyrd Skynyrd, Stone Temple Pilots, and Cassadee Pope take the stage in concert at 6:00 p.m. Fireworks to follow at 10:00 p.m. Non-Military ID cardholders will need to enter post thru Gates 4 or 7. Be prepared with your vehicle registration, proof of insurance, and a valid photo ID for each person aged 16 and over in the vehicle.
Experience Independence Day at Historic Collinsville 1800s Pioneer Settlement between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on July 4. The settlement will have patriotic music and activities along with readings of the Declaration of Independence throughout the day.