Wake Forest Celebrates the Fourth with a Bang
Posted July 3, 1998 7:00 a.m. EDT
WAKE FOREST — Fourth of July festivities in Florida, and many states, just won't be the same this year. Fireworks displays have been cancelled throughout the Southeast. But in Wake Forest, it was all systems go a day early.
A record setting crowd, approximately 65,000 people, came out Friday night for the Independence Day celebration at a Wake Forest stadium. Everyone who attended was thrilled that despite the heat and dry weather, the show still went on.
There were bombs bursting in air over the Wake Forest-Rolesville High School Stadium. The annual fireworks display went off with extra care this year.
The stage for safety was set earlier in the day, as fireworks crews set up an electronic display, using wire leads to set off explosives from a distance instead of by hand. They also chose to use low-level fireworks no higher than 200 feet.
"You've got a lot of residential neighborhoods around here," explained Dallas Britt of S&W Productions. "We keep it low, so everything stays confined to a small, secure area."
Volunteer fire crews and EMTs got their marching orders for the night. They set up tape to keep spectators away from the firing area. There was plenty of water around just in case.
"There is concern," admitted Chief Jimmy Keith. "It is dry. That is one reason we have trucks here with water."
As night fell, the show went off without a hitch. Well, almost. A small fire in the grass was quickly extinguished.
"These are the best fireworks we've ever seen," said one unidentified spectator.
"It's wonderful-- the best ever," said another spectator. "And we've been to the Wake Forest fourth of July for years and years, and this is the best ever."
It was a celebration that not all states will be able to enjoy. Even though some states had to cancel fireworks this year, organizers in Wake Forest said once they got their permit, they never considered cancelling the show.