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Fireworks display in downtown Raleigh gets mixed reviews

Posted July 5, 2012

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— 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. the works Downtown Raleigh celebrates Independence Day

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.

Raleigh fireworks Raleigh's downtown fireworks gets mixed reviews

"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.

313 Comments

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  • tarheelfan41 Jul 6, 2012

    Here's another choice of how to spend your taxes. Remember now, we have no money for education and the only possible solution is to raise taxes??? Not true we CHOOSE to spend money for this INSTEAD of education. THIS is why we raise your taxes and the government only tells you its for education. The public will usually tolerate higher taxes if the government convinces everyone its for education. So they starve the schools and make it appear they only way to save our education system is to raise taxes. The government CHOOSES to spend money on all kinds of "stuff" and cry beg for more taxes "for education."

  • jbengel Jul 6, 2012

    My last experience at the fairgrounds event (2010) was enough to put me off 4th of July events in general. From the sound of it, things didn't improve any by moving them downtown.

    Basically if you're put off by crowds, sticky children, and loud, rude drunks (all in 100 degree heat), you should probably skip any of them. The only one I've ever been to that didn't involve all of the above was the one I watched from a tour boat in Beaufort in 1996.

  • OpinionatedMama Jul 6, 2012

    @Headstrong: You're certainly right I will complain! FREE? LMAO No honey. NOTHING IS FREE. You might be able to come and walk around for free but that's about it. Either you pay for parking or you pay in gas driving around looking for parking. Food/drink is RIDICULOUS. And when it's a 4th Celebration and the biggest event are the fireworks and they SUCK so that the only person who can see them is the guy setting them off ... THAT isn't free either because your taxes paid for the ripoff!

  • conservatism lives Jul 6, 2012

    saw it on tv, they did not look impressive at all...way too small and way too many people crowded into a tight space!

  • bitsyfae1 Jul 6, 2012

    Give it a try? Are you kidding? Bring the downtown venders to the fairgrounds. The rules aren't going to change on the type or size of fireworks allowed downtown and more space isn't going to magically appear where there already isn't any. The only thing that probably happened is that a few local downtown businesses got to deal with hot, irate people more than usual. Oh joy. Admit the faux pas and return the fireworks show to where it has humbly belonged for...I'm sorry...for how long??? I'm 48 and its been there as long as I can remember!

  • promethazine codeine lover Jul 6, 2012

    I like to pretend Charlotte is the capital.

  • promethazine codeine lover Jul 6, 2012

    Shells in North Raleigh last night on july 5th (Spring forest/falls) were way better then the ones in downtown (4th of july)

  • Starlight Lady Jul 6, 2012

    I liked the summer festival feel of the traditional Fairgrounds Fourth. I do like downtown Raleigh, but not for this. This sounded much more like something for the 20-somethings that wanted a pub crawl Fourth, not a family pinic Fourth. Not for families and kids. The families I know that went said it was horrible. Overcrowded and the kids couldn't see the fireworks. The pub crawlers I know loved it, except for tripping over all the little kids, it was great for them.

  • 2headstrong Jul 6, 2012

    People really do have nothing better to do than complain, even when something's free.

    Good grief!

  • torchhappysean Jul 6, 2012

    I'm not suprised at the complaints. This is typically what happens when politicians try to put their personal agendas ahead of what the general public think. In this case I think it was their campaign funders putting pressure on the board to bring more business to their doorsteps for them.. Along with the obscene amouunt of money the city stood to gain in $5 parking fees. This was not about the family atmsophere that they tried to adveritise but all about the money they thought they could make instead. Anyone who has been in Raleigh for more than 3 or 4 years knows what kind of neighborhoods are just 3 or 4 blocks in ANY direection from where this "family" event was held. SHAME ON ALL OF YOU!!!!!!

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