Raleigh Now Spotlight: July 4th celebrations

Fireworks light the sky over Five County Stadium during the Fourth of July celebration in Zebulon, N.C. in 2014.

Independence Day Celebrations

by Jessie Ammons
photograph courtesy News and Observer archive

Whether it’s sparklers at the end of the dock at the family getaway or taking in The Works in downtown Raleigh, it’s not America’s birthday without a bit of fun and fireworks. In case you need a few ideas, here’s how local leaders will celebrate, both locally and on vacation.

Billy Drakeford
Park ranger, William B. Umstead State Park

“Traditionally, I’d spend a day canoeing a river with my family. We always pick a river with sandbars so that we can have a campfire and grill some hamburgers, kielbasa, baked potatoes, and corn on the cob. Now that I’m a park ranger, the fourth of July has become a work day: We rangers look upon the other families having a good time and have fun vicariously through them.”


Holly Taylor
Co-founder, Pullen Place Cafe and Catering

“One of our family traditions is the Festival for the Eno. We enjoy hanging out in hammocks, listening to music, and cooling off in the Eno River. Then, we usually pack a picnic and watch fireworks with friends.”

At Pullen Place, “we help people stay cool with a wider variety of drinks and cold treats, iced Larry’s Coffee, and fresh fruit lemonades featuring strawberries, blueberries, and muscadine grapes.”

Lanie Hubbard
Acting director, Joel Lane Museum House

“I’ll celebrate the Fourth in eighteenth-century style at the Joel Lane Museum Independence Day Open House. Our festival revolves around the Joel Lane House, Raleigh’s oldest dwelling and home to the city’s ‘founding father.’ Guests meet costumed docents offering hands-on activities and historical background. Musicians play live patriotic and period music. Outside, guests mingle with a variety of reenactors who play with old-time toys and games, lead a children’s parade, and create rag dolls to take home. Other reenactors demonstrate period arts and tasks ranging from weaving to whittling. Free lemonade takes the edge off of the July heat.”

Kim Curry-Evans
Public art director, City of Raleigh

“My expectations for the Fourth are for a fabulous barbecue courtesy of grill-master hubby Stan, and wonderful fireworks in downtown Raleigh.”

Dave Rose
Owner, Deep South Entertainment

“I plan on celebrating in downtown Raleigh with The Works on Fayetteville Street. My son, Elvis Rose, will be 18 months old. The fireworks happen at 9:30 and are a little past his bedtime, so we’ll see if he’s able to stay up that late. But there’s plenty to do all day, so we’ll enjoy it no matter what time he decides to get sleepy. Deep South is largely an artist management firm, and we represent an exciting new artist from North Carolina, Kasey Tyndall. She will be playing at The Works. It’s an amazing event. No need to travel out of town when we have something so incredible right here in Raleigh.”  

Sky Light, Sky Bright 

Here are a few of the free Independence Day celebrations happening around the Triangle.

July 2 Independence Day block party at Neuse River Brewing; 4 – 7 p.m.; 518 Pershing Rd.

July 3 N.C. Symphony concert and fireworks in Garner; 5 – 10 p.m.; Lake Benson Park, 921 Buffaloe Road, Garner

Fireworks in Wake Forest (and look for the kids’ parade July 4); gates open at 5:30 p.m. and fireworks at dark; 420 W. Stadium Dr., Wake Forest

Music, food trucks, and fireworks at Morrisville Community Park; festivities begin at 6 p.m. and fireworks at dark; 1520 Morrisville Parkway

Inflatable rides, food, and fireworks in downtown Fuquay-Varina; gates open at 6 p.m.; Academy and Main Streets, Fuquay-Varina

July 4 “Olde Time” celebration including fishing tournament, parade, and family activities at Cary’s Bond Park; 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.; 190 Bond Park Drive, Cary

Four-mile run presented by Runologie, Trophy Brewing, and Shop Local Raleigh; 8 a.m.; 1251 Goode St.

“Olde Fashioned” Fourth in downtown Apex with a bike/trike/wagon parade; 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.; Salem and Chatham Streets, Apex

Lawn party and friendly parade in Carrboro; 9:30 a.m. and 10:50 a.m. parade; Weaver Street Market, 101 E. Weaver St., Carrboro

Children’s parade in downtown Wake Forest; lineup begins at 10 a.m. and parade starts at 10:30 a.m.; North Main Street and West Juniper Avenue, Wake Forest

Family fun, watermelon eating contest, and fireworks in Clayton; activities begin at 4 p.m. and fireworks at dark; Municipal Park, 325 McCullers Drive, Clayton

Fireworks in UNC’s Kenan Memorial Stadium; gates open at 7 p.m. and fireworks at 9:30 p.m.; Stadium Drive, Chapel Hill