Reported by Kathy M. Newbern and J.S. Fletcher
On the calendar, June 21 is astronomically the first day of summer, but for most people, summer starts with July 4th.
Here in North Carolina, picnics, festivals and fireworks abound. If you are looking for some of the best, here’s one to consider: “The Works” in downtown Raleigh.
Long-time residents remember when the City of Raleigh staged its huge Independence Day fireworks show from the State Fairgrounds. Everybody piled into their cars and headed on over, saw a tremendous pyrotechnical display, then sat in traffic for hours where they could discuss what a great time they’d had.
Today’s solution, partially possible by advances in fireworks technology, is a capital event in the capital city: two separate launchings, one from Fayetteville Street and another from the Red Hat Amphitheater. Watch the video for the mayor’s description.
Raleigh knows how to throw a party – consider the success of First Night – and July 4th will sparkle, shine, and pop as they all do. Entertainment, food and drinks will be available throughout downtown. Plan on making it an all-day affair. Family attractions such as bounce houses, Circus Maximus, street performers, eating contests and more start up at noon. Musical groups crank up at 4 pm, with the fireworks taking center stage once darkness falls around 9:30. And as to parking, downtown lots will be open with easy access in and out for a $5 fee.
If you live in Raleigh, there will be bus service as well. According to Raleigh’s website, The R-LINE bus, which provides free rides, will be running on July 4 to take Downtown visitors to “The ‘Works.” Click here for more info: www.raleighnc.gov/transit or call 919-485-7433.
“The Works” is free, going from noon to around 11 pm.
Check out this Schedule of Events:
- 5:30 & 8:00 Red Bull Sportbike Freestyle Rider: Aaron Colton
- (Fayetteville near Hargett)
- 2:30, 4:30, 6:30 & 8:30 Gouge Wrestling (Davie)
- 3:00 & 7:00 Hot Dog Eating Contest (Martin)
- 2:00, 4:00, 6:00 & 8:30 Watermelon Seed Spitting Contest (Martin) 2 Divisions – 10 and under & 11 and Over
- 5:00 & 8:00 Ice Cream Eating Contest (Martin)
Music and Performance Schedule
at Red Hat Amphitheater
- 6:00 – 7:00 Chris Hendricks Band (Rock)
- 7:30 – 8:30 Cravin Melon (Jam Rock)
- 9:00 – 10:15 American Aquarium (Folk Rock)
- 10:10 Fireworks from Red Hat Amphitheater
- Shown Live on ABC 11
at Morgan Street Stage
- 1:00 – 1:45 Apples and Airplanes
- 2:15 – 3:00 Tab-One of Kooley High (Hip Hop)
- 3:30 – 4:15 J Kutchma (Rock)
- 4:45 – 5:30 Les Raquets (Indie Rock Trio)
- 6:00 – 6:45 Hank Sinatra (Rock)
- 7:15 – 8:00 Jessica Long (Indie Rock)
- 8:30 – 9:15 Lila (Rock/HipHop)
- 9:30 – 10:30 Mixed Solution (HipHop)
at City Plaza Stage
- 12:00 – 1:00 Big Mama E and the Cool (R&B)
- 1:30 – 2:15 A Mad Affair (Acoustic Pop)
- 2:45 – 3:30 Royal Noise (Jazz/Funk/Soul)
- 4:00 – 4:45 Dudley Taft (Blues Rock)
- 5:15 – 6:00 Morning After (Bluegrass)
- 6:30 – 7:15 Chit Nasty (Funk)
- 7:45 – 8:45 Marcel Portilla (Latin)
- 9:15 – 10:15 Triangle Brass Band (Brass Big Band)
- 9:15 – Fireworks on Fayetteville Street
There has got to be something to interest you on that schedule. Download an event calendar and map here: Event/Map.
For more information on “The Works,” visit http://www.visitraleigh.com or www.raleighconvention.com.
Have a safe, happy and thoughtful 4th of July.
If you enjoyed this story, you might also enjoy these, and please subscribe to our columns – it’s free:
• Other stories by Newbern and Fletcher
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• Stories by J.S. Fletcher, International Travel Examiner
Luxury Travel Examiner Kathy M. Newbern and spouse, J.S. Fletcher, report on luxury destinations, spas and cruising around the globe. They are award-winning members of the Society of American Travel Writers and created YourSpaReport.com and YourNovel.com, their personalized romance novel business.