Fireworks light the sky at Fourth of July celebrations across NC
Posted July 4, 2013
Updated July 5, 2013
Fayetteville, N.C. — Spectacular fireworks shot into the sky at community celebrations across central North Carolina Thursday night, capping a full day of Fourth of July festivities.
Thousands of people packed into downtown Raleigh for a fireworks double-header – the first show started at 9:15 p.m. at City Plaza and lasted nearly 40 minutes. A short while later, a larger fireworks display began at Red Hat Ampitheater.
The festivities on Fayetteville Street kicked off at noon with plenty of sunshine and family-friendly fun stretching from City Plaza to the State Capitol.
"We love it. Can't believe it's this nice out, glad it's not raining," said Matthew Yesko. "We have two little kids and they're having a blast."
"They did a great (fireworks) show last year, so we can't wait to see both shows this year," added Kimberly Yesko. "It's going to be really exciting."
Clarissa Dunston said the festival was a good reminder of what it means to be an American.
"I think things are on the rise. People are coming together," she said. "They are understanding we have to pull together to rise together."
At Festival Park in Fayetteville, meanwhile, revelers had an Army sergeant to thank for food, fun and fireworks after Fort Bragg canceled its celebration due to sequestration.
When Staff Sgt. Jeff Wells learned that the sky would be dark over the Army post this Fourth of July, he entered a writing contest, sponsored by cable TV network Destination America and newspaper USA Weekend, to win a patriotic bash for his community.
In 138 words, Wells explained why Fayetteville deserved the July Fourth party.
"To not have a fireworks display," he wrote, "is not only a morale-degrading scenario, but also a shame to those who have sacrificed so much."
A few weeks after entering the contest, Wells learned he had won.
So, on Thursday, hundreds of people enjoyed live music and food before the fireworks display shot off after dark.
"I have gotten a lot of thank yous," Well said. "It's kind of frustrating because it wasn't supposed to be about me."
It was supposed to be about the soldiers.
"I want soldiers to know they're still appreciated, still supported," he said.