Raleigh, N.C. — The City of Raleigh hoped to start a new downtown holiday tradition with "The Works! July 4th on Fayetteville Street" but instead got a backlash of complaints from many of the nearly 50,000 people who attended.
The visibility of the fireworks show and the availability of parking were two of the main themes echoing Thursday morning on social media.
Doug Grissom, assistant director of the Raleigh Convention Center, said Wednesday the decision to move the celebration downtown was an attempt to promote businesses, restaurants and museums while trying to "build a tradition."
But downtown Raleigh's growing skyline and the city's decision to use smaller fireworks because of North Carolina fire regulations, left many without a good view of Wednesday night's fireworks, the culmination of a nine-hour celebration in the urban heart of the city.
Dozens of people who attended the festivities left comments on WRAL's Facebook page about the change of venue.
"Raleigh's fireworks were awful!" Karen Lane Trachtman said. "We parked at Western Boulevard and Martin Luther King. It should have been a prime spot, but the fireworks barely cleared the trees."
Jeffrey Baker, who agreed that the fireworks were disappointing, said organizers should improve the event and keep it downtown.
"If you want to have businesses downtown for your enjoyment then there has to be events like this to bring people downtown," he said. "Raleigh, learn from your mistakes and make it even better next year."
Grissom said Thursday that the city plans to have the event downtown in 2013 and said the city would look at alternative launch sites that would allow bigger fireworks to be used.
Raleigh City Manager Russell Allen said Thursday that several city departments would analyze the event, a common practice after large festivals or celebrations.