Local News

Raleigh fireworks go off without a hitch, officials say

Posted July 5, 2013

Dazzling fireworks shot into the sky at City Plaza in downtown Raleigh Thursday night, capping a full day of Fourth of July festivities.

— The city of Raleigh’s two fireworks celebrations went off with only minor complications Thursday, compared with a lackluster 2012 Fourth of July show that drew numerous complaints.

City leaders were optimistic heading into this year after learning from their mistakes last year. While the 2012 event drew some 50,000 people downtown, many complained that the fireworks were not high enough to see over the buildings and that traffic and parking created hassles.

This year’s Independence Day celebration, dubbed “The ‘Works,” began at noon with live music and performances on Fayetteville Street and culminated with two fireworks displays – the first at 9:15 p.m. over the Duke Energy Center for Performing Arts on Fayetteville Street and the second at about 10:30 p.m. by the Red Hat Ampitheater.

“I think it was great,” Mayor Nancy McFarlane said Friday. “The weather was perfect. The fireworks were high, and that was important. The Fayetteville Street fireworks, I think they went on for 30 minutes. It was unbelievable. Everybody had a good time.”

Ann Freeman was in the crowd and said she thought the event offered a great atmosphere and "fantastic" fireworks.

"This year was really good," she said. "The colors, the brightness and the fact that they had it twice was even better."

There was a hiccup that delayed the second show by about 20 minutes. Raleigh police said many in the crowd left after the first fireworks display, and the exodus of people and vehicles temporarily blocked the “safe zone” to set off fireworks at the amphitheater.

"People started getting upset just because of the fact that everyone was so cramped," said spectator Daniel Scott.

McFarlane counted down twice to start the second show, and nothing happened twice.

"It was a little awkward, but I did get the message it was safety concerns," she said.

Raleigh police spokesman Jim Sughrue said officers also responded to a crowd that had gathered about 10 p.m. in the 300 block of Fayetteville Street, near the Wake County Courthouse.

The officers said they were dispersing the crowd when the found a 16-year-old boy launching bottle rockets. The teen was charged with causing a public disturbance.

Sughrue said the sound of the bottle rockets caused some people to flee, thinking there was a shooting.

A handful of Independence Day celebrations will take place Friday and Saturday, including the event for the City of Garner. The festivities include recognition of Garner's All-America City designation and a fireworks display starting about 9:30 p.m.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • shortcake53 Jul 8, 2013

    Of course "Raleigh officials" say they were great, they will NEVER admit it was a total mess. They are too busy patting themselves on the back.

  • uthink Jul 8, 2013

    Please go back to the fairgrounds. Downtown sucks. Second year in a row being disappointed.

  • cynda-ur-way Jul 8, 2013

    It is still news because people love to whine.

  • JustDave Jul 8, 2013

    Today is July 8. Why is this still news?

  • dwntwnboy2 Jul 8, 2013

    "It's all about money"- it's government, so of COURSE it's about money. It's also about making the money back they spent so they can do other things as well. Without the money coming in, they city may not have the funds to put on fireworks with nothing in return. We all cry and scream that government doesn't use money wisely- this is the best use I've seen out of government in a LONG time. Put on a show, make enough money back to pay for the show- maybe even a little more- and the people get fireworks and the city keeps the money to do other things a city is supposed to do- sidewalks, greenways, police, trash collection etc.

  • dwntwnboy2 Jul 8, 2013

    Dawg- it's paid for by the city, although the state owns and runs the fairgrounds, they were either rented by the city or "borrowed" from the state, yet the city didn't make any money back on the fairgrounds. Downtown is a way for them to be able to afford to do fireworks and not do into the red to do so.

  • DawgDue Jul 8, 2013

    Just kind of curious as to why there can't be fireworks at both the fairgrounds and downtown? I realize the city is in charge of the downtown festivities, but were the past fireworks at the fairgrounds a city event or put on by the State?

    Asking because I honestly don't know.

  • reneedaughtry Jul 8, 2013

    The fireworks were fantastic, the music and the vendors did a fantastic job. We all enjoyed the 'Works for the second year and will be glad to go again next year! I love having it downtown!

  • veyor Jul 8, 2013

    I prefer the Fairgrounds. It's all about money.

  • lolly Jul 5, 2013

    The broader your view of the horizon, the better the view of fireworks. errrr this is not rocket science, PLEZ excuse the pun.

    City of Raleigh is fizzling with the downtown fireworks plan. Of course, that does not matter. All that matters is that somebody buys beer and snacks from their lousy downtown restaurants.