RALEIGH, N.C. — Wake Forest's Fourth of July celebration is a pretty big deal. More than 5,000 people usually show up, but a financial snag almost ended the Independence Day tradition.
The Wake County school system raised the rent for Trentini Stadium from $200 to $1,300 this year. That cost jumps to $3,000 next year, an increase of 1,500 percent.
"It makes me very mad," said Rhonda Alderman of the Fourth of July committee. "You're also getting penalized for something that is patriotic, that is a community event. You're getting penalized and having to pay the outrageous fees that just shouldn't be there, shouldn't be there at all."
Townspeople all pitched in to pay the rent for this year's celebration, but the celebration's future at the stadium remains in doubt.
Trentini Stadium at Wake Forest-Rolesville High School has been the venue for the Fourth of July celebration for decades. Thousands have come to the stadium over the years to see fireworks fill the skies, but the event's future is up in the air due to the increased cost of holidng it there.
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary has offered the old Wake Forest college football field as a new, cheaper site for the celebration.
The seminary said it would be un-American not to help.
"It would be very un-American, especially in light of the things that have happened in the country over the past year and so, we hope that this will be able to continue," said Ryan Hutchinson of the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
A Wake County School spokesperson said the school system is not singling out Wake Forest, but in tight budget times, they need to begin recovering the cost of non-educational activities on school property.