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.
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.
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. joellane.org
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. boothamphitheatre.com/event/independence-day
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; apexnc.org/532/Olde-Fashioned-Fourth-of-July
Fireworks July 4 at sundown; Brier Creek Commons and Brierdale Shopping Center, 10400 Moncreiffe Road, Raleigh; shopbriercreekcommons.com
Games, face painting, and fireworks July 4 beginning at 7 p.m.; Kenan Stadium, 104 Stadium Drive, Chapel Hill; townofchapelhill.org/july4
Family field events, ice cream, concert, and fireworks July 4 beginning at 4 p.m.; Municipal Park,
W. Stallings Street, Clayton; townofclaytonnc.org
Lawn party and parade July 4 from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; Main and Weaver Streets, Carrboro; carrborojuly4th.com
Food vendors, inflatable rides, and fireworks July 3 beginning at 6 p.m.; Academy and Main Streets, Fuquay-Varina; fuquay-varina.org
Symphony concert and fireworks July 3 from 5-10 p.m.; Lake Benson Park, 921 Buffaloe Road, Garner; garnernc.gov
Music, games, and fireworks July 3 beginning at 5 p.m.; Morrisville Community Park, 1520 Morrisville Parkway, Morrisville; ci.morrisville.nc.us/index.aspx?NID=582
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; wakeforestnc.gov/july4