Spotlight: Firework round-up

Raleigh Wide 2009

Chuck Lidday, News & Observer

by Jessie Ammons

If you’re staying in town for America’s birthday, there are plenty of festivities to partake in. From watermelon-seed spitting contests to sophisticated picnics with the Symphony, two-day small-town celebrations to parking lot firework displays, here’s a local roundup. In the holiday spirit, all events are free.

The Works

Downtown Raleigh’s main shindig begins at noon with live music and vendors. Throughout the afternoon, sign up for summer-ific contests like hot dog eating, ice cream eating, and watermelon-seed spitting; or, mill about the beer and wine tasting tent, conveniently next to the kids’ zone bounce house and slide. Fireworks happen around 9:30 p.m., which you can view from any vantage point on Fayetteville Street or from a seat at Red Hat Amphitheater. Music and performances continue until 11 p.m.

Historical Bent

Colonel Joel Lane was an officer in the Wake County militia during the
Revolutionary War and a founding father of Raleigh. Today, his homestead remains preserved as a city museum. Visit during the site’s 25th annual Independence Day open house from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pick the brain of a costumed docent, try your hand at writing with a quill pen, make a rag doll, and sip on free lemonade. Herbs and trees from the garden will also be for sale – perfect to take back as a garnish to your cookout side dish.

Symphony Summerfest

For a low-key holiday, head to Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary. Part of the venue’s season-long Summerfest concert series with the N.C. Symphony is a free Independence Day performance. Bring blankets, chairs, and a picnic to enjoy while the symphony plays patriotic tunes, energetic classic arrangements, and a few modern surprises. Doors open at 3 p.m., the music starts at 7:30 p.m., and the night will conclude with fireworks. If your picnic runs out, there are food and beverage vendors on-site, too.

The N.C. Symphonya¨¢,a·¨AE,aΨ¢s outdoor concerts, the Rex Healthcare Summerfest Series, will begin at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 25, at the Koka Booth Amphitheatre, 8003 Regency Parkway, Cary. Concert-goers can bring picnics, blankets and lawn chairs as early as 5 p.m. For tickets, call 919-733-2750 or visit

Michael Zirkle

Show Time

No matter where in the Triangle you’ll be, there’s a celebration to be found. Take careful note that some events are July 3!


Street festival and kids’ parade July 4 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.; Salem and Chatham Streets, Apex;

Brier Creek

Fireworks July 4 at sundown; Brier Creek Commons and Brierdale Shopping Center, 10400 Moncreiffe Road, Raleigh;

Chapel Hill

Games, face painting, and fireworks July 4 beginning at 7 p.m.; Kenan Stadium, 104 Stadium Drive, Chapel Hill;


Family field events, ice cream, concert, and fireworks July 4 beginning at 4 p.m.; Municipal Park,
W. Stallings Street, Clayton;


Lawn party and parade July 4 from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; Main and Weaver Streets, Carrboro;


Food vendors, inflatable rides, and fireworks July 3 beginning at 6 p.m.; Academy and Main Streets, Fuquay-Varina; 


Symphony concert and fireworks July 3 from 5-10 p.m.; Lake Benson Park, 921 Buffaloe Road, Garner;


Music, games, and fireworks July 3 beginning at 5 p.m.; Morrisville Community Park, 1520 Morrisville Parkway, Morrisville;

Wake Forest

Fireworks July 3 beginning at 5:30 p.m. and kids’ parade and games July 4 beginning at 10 a.m.; locations vary throughout downtown Wake Forest;