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Downtown Raleigh lines up big festival for July 4

Posted July 2, 2013
Updated July 3, 2013

Downtown Raleigh is gearing up for a big festival to mark Independence Day this year.

The 'Works, as it is called, will run from noon to 11 p.m., Thursday, on Fayetteville Street and the nearby Red Hat Amphitheater. It's all free. There will be two fireworks shows ... the first at 9:15 p.m. over the Duke Energy Center for Performing Arts and the second at 10:10 p.m. by the Red Hat Amphitheater.

The staggered fireworks schedule aims to answer critics of last year's show. Many said they weren't able to see the fireworks and had big problems finding a parking space and dealing with congestion. Read more about that here.

Throughout the day, you'll find lots of live music; a kids zone with bounce houses and slides; all kinds of contests, including a watermelon seed spitting contest and ice cream eating contest; wrestling; circus performers; games; street performers; art vendors; a water works zone with water games and fun; and food. 

For more July 4 activities, check WRAL.com's Out & About section

And a little update about Raleigh's fireworks from an exchange on the event's Facebook page prompted by local mom Jen Schrage (who, for full disclosure, is a neighborhood friend of mine). It appears that if you want to see the fireworks at 9:15 p.m., you will need to be right at City Plaza to see them. The later fireworks will be able to be seen from a bit larger area.

Here's the exchange: 

Schrage: I keep hearing promises that the fireworks will be above the buildings this year and viewable from slightly outside the city? Now I hear that only the late 10:15 fireworks show will be above the buildings?! Is this true? If so, didn't anyone consider that it is the early show that MOST folks need/want to be viewable from a far? You know, people with kids who normally go to bed much earlier and can't stay up until 11pm!!!! If the 9:15 show isn't viewable above the buildings, you should prepare for a similar reaction to last years event....... lots of complaints of disappointments. Please tell me I heard wrong.

The 'Works: The first set of fireworks will be shot by the duke progress energy performing arts center and will be best viewable from city plaza. The second set of fireworks will be shot a bit past the red hat amphitheater which will definitely be viewable if you're standing anywhere near the amphitheater.

Schrage: So I am correct. Another year where no one can see the fireworks at 9:15 unless they are physically on City Plaza.  Do you realize that the number of people who want to see the fireworks FAR exceeds the number of people that can fit downtown? Most people want to see the EARLY 9:15 fireworks.... especially those with kids ... (snipped)

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