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Your ultimate guide to July 4th fireworks and festivities in the Triangle

Fireworks light up the night sky in Raleigh on Independence Day

Fireworks light up the sky on Independence Day in Raleigh, NC Wednesday, July 4, 2018. The display, which used to be downtown, moved this year to near Carter-Finley Stadium and PNC Arena.
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Fireworks light up the sky on Independence Day in Raleigh, NC Wednesday, July 4, 2018. The display, which used to be downtown, moved this year to near Carter-Finley Stadium and PNC Arena.

The good news for fireworks fans in the Triangle is that you don’t have to wait until July Fourth.

In the Triangle, you can find fireworks all week long — before the holiday and even after.

Last year, Raleigh turned west for fireworks, with the annual display leaving downtown and returning to Carter-Finley Stadium and the PNC Arena area. That will continue this Independence Day.

This year, Chapel Hill is the Triangle town switching things up, leaving its longtime home of UNC’s Kenan Stadium for Southern Community Park for fireworks and a community celebration at Southern Village.

In a news release, the town said it hopes to start a new Chapel Hill tradition. The town decided to move the celebration in part because of new synthetic grass at the stadium, according to the news release.

“Fireworks and synthetic grass don’t pair well together and we don’t have the technical resources and capabilities to protect the new field and guarantee that it won’t be damaged,” Chapel Hill Fire Chief Matt Sullivan said in the release.

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Here is your guide to fireworks in Wake, Durham, Orange counties, and other parts of the Triangle.

Sunday, June 30

Smithfield: Smithfield’s Independence Celebration will take place 6 to 9 p.m. on the 100 block of South Third Street. There will be food trucks, games and music from the Carolina Soul Band. Fireworks are at 9 p.m. Some games may involve water, so children especially should bring clothes that can get wet. downtownsmithfield.com

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Spectators watch the fireworks display at the end of a Durham Bulls game July 4, 2016. 2016 News & Observer File Photo newsobserver.com

Wednesday, July 3

Cary: The town kicks things off at 6:30 p.m. with a celebration at the Cary Arts Center, 101 Dry Ave. The Cary Town Band and the Applause! Cary Youth Theatre will perform a patriotic musical tribute with a focus on veterans. Free. carytownband.org

Durham: After the Durham Bulls play the Charlotte Knights at 6:35 p.m., stick around for the fireworks. Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Ticket prices vary. milb.com/durham

Fuquay-Varina: Gates open for the celebration at 6 p.m. at South Park, 900 S. Main St. Look for the band Spare Change at 6:30 p.m. with kids rides and a splash pad. Fireworks start around 9:15 p.m. Handicapped parking available at the community center. Coolers allowed. No alcohol, pets, bikes or skateboards. fuquay-varina.org

Garner: The Independence Day Celebration will be at Lake Benson Park, 921 Buffaloe Road, starting at 5 p.m. The North Carolina Symphony will perform, followed by fireworks at 9:30 p.m. There also will be a kids area with inflatables, games and crafts; food trucks; and live music from the Chairmen of the Board. Buffaloe Road will close at 5 p.m. to traffic between Averasboro and Highway 50. Shuttles will operate from South Garner High School to the park until 9:15 p.m. and then until attendees have left the park. garnernc.gov

Morrisville: Morrisville will host a free fireworks display at Morrisville Community Park, 1520 Morrisville Parkway at 6 p.m. Fireworks begin at dark. Food trucks will be on site. Blankets, chairs and snacks welcome. No glass containers or alcohol. Park at Morrisville Elementary School. Only handicapped accessible parking available at the park. 919-463-6215 for weather updates. townofmorrisville.org

Wake Forest: The Fireworks Spectacular is at Heritage High School’s Husky Stadium starting at 5:30 p.m. The show begins at 6 p.m. with the band, Sleeping Booty. Fireworks typically begin at dusk. Bring lawn chairs and blankets for the football field or in a designated viewing area. Seats are available in the bleachers. Picnics and coolers are allowed. Alcoholic beverages, glass containers, smoking and pets are not. Concessions and food trucks will be on site. A free shuttle begins at 5 p.m. from Smith Creek Soccer Center, Hope Lutheran Church, Heritage Middle School and Heritage Elementary School. The shuttle stops about 11 p.m. bit.ly/WFFireworksSpectacular

Wichita Eagle photographers Jaime Green and Travis Heying discuss and demonstrate how to successfully shoot good fireworks photos for the Fourth of July.

Thursday, July 4

Apex: The Apex Olde-Fashioned Fourth of July celebration is 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in downtown Apex along North Salem Street. Look for inflatables, a rock climbing wall, games and food. At noon, Uncle Sam’s Parade of Wheels will head down Salem Street. Join with bikes, wagons and other non-motorized vehicles. The day ends with the Apex Fire Department’s splash down. apexnc.org/532/Olde-Fashioned-Fourth-of-July

Benson: The Benson July 4 Celebration is at Benson Singing Grove, 400 E. Main St., with food, entertainment by Rivermist and children’s activities. Events start at 5 p.m. Fireworks are at 9 p.m. johnstoncountync.org

Carrboro: Events will be at Carrboro Town Commons starting at 9:30 a.m. at the Weaver Street Market Lawn, 101 E. Weaver St. A parade at 10:50 a.m. will head from Weaver Street Market to Town Hall. There will be kids activities, games, food trucks and live music. townofcarrboro.org/308/July-4th-Celebration

Cary:

The Independence Day Olde Time Celebration at Bond Park, 801 High House Road, will start at 8 a.m. There will be a fishing tournament from 8 to 10 a.m. Bring your bike, stroller, wagon, scooter or other kids vehicle to Kiwanis Shelter at 9:30 a.m. to prep for the Parade in the Park at 10:30 a.m. (The parade theme is American Pride. Decorate at home, or supplies will be provided.) Contests like watermelon eating, three-legged races and more are at 11 a.m. at the Boathouse.

At 3 p.m., Cary’s Independence Day events shift to Booth Amphitheatre, 8003 Regency Parkway. Bring blankets, lawn chairs and picnics. There will be kids activities, a ferris wheel, carousel, magic show, watermelon seed spitting contest, ice cream and hot dog eating contests and more. The Cary Town Band performs at 5:45 p.m. with the N.C. Symphony at 7:30 p.m. Fireworks are at 9 p.m. Free admission. Reserved seating for $160 a table (4 seats, plus free parking and some extras) available. Rain or shine. townofcary.org

Fireworks will blast off from Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park following the July 4 game with the North Carolina Football Club men’s team and the July 5 game with the NC Courage women’s team. The men play at 7 p.m. against the Charlotte Independence with fireworks around 9:30 p.m. The women’s game against the Houston Dash is at 7 p.m. with fireworks around 9:30 p.m. Tickets and details at northcarolinafc.com.

Chapel Hill: The town will have a community celebration at Southern Village’s Village Green from 6 to 9 p.m. with live music and food and drink for sale. Fireworks will be at Southern Community Park’s sports fields for the first time. Gates open at 7 p.m. Fireworks will start around 9:15 p.m. and can be visible from the park, the Village Green and other town locations. Free shuttles will run from the Chatham County Park & Ride lot and Jones Ferry Park & Ride to Southern Village starting at 6:30 p.m. and operating every 15 minutes. chapelhilljuly4fireworks.com

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Clayton: Festivities are held at Municipal Park, 325 McCullers Drive, with games, inflatables, rides, watermelon and ice cream giveaways and a hosedown from the fire department. The band Big Love will perform. There will be food vendors and a cornhole tournament. Tickets are $1 per preson for the inflatables. Fireworks are at 9 p.m. townofclaytonnc.org/parks-and-recreation/july-4th.aspx

Durham:

The 40th annual Festival for the Eno is July 4 and 6 at West Point on the Eno City Park on Roxboro Road. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The festival features music headliners Sierra Hull, the African American Dance Ensemble, Hailu Mergia and the Mantras. There will be five stages with 80 artists as well as a juried craft show, food trucks, beer and wine and art and dance demonstrations. Funds go to preserve the Eno River. Parking is free at nearby Durham County Memorial Stadium. A shuttle will take attendees to the park. Tickets are $18 in advance ($23 at the gate) for a one-day pass and $30 for a two-day pass ($35 at the gate). There is a one-day teen pass for $11. EnoFest.org

The 70th annual Watts-Hillandale Fourth of July Parade starts at 10 a.m. at Oval Park at the corner of West Club Boulevard and Oakland Avenue. The longrunning Durham tradition features flags of all kinds throughout the park. The parade will be led by Durham Mayor Steve Schewel through the neighborhood and back to the park for a cold drink.

Fireworks will be held at Durham Bulls Athletic Park following a USA Baseball game. The game is at 6:05 p.m. Fireworks are at 9:15 p.m. Tickets are recommended to see the fireworks from inside the park, but gates will open at the end of the 7th inning for general admission viewing (depending on space availability). Viewing is limited outside the stadium, according to Durham Parks & Recreation, but nearby viewing sites include behind Diamond View 3, Burt’s Bees (outside of the North Deck) and the adjacent Tobacco Road Sports Café. The rain date is July 6 at 6:05 p.m. dprplaymore.org/312/Independence-Day-Celebration

Kenly: Kenly’s Fourth of July Celebration will be at Kenly 95 Petro, 923 Johnston Parkway. There will be games, a DJ and food starting at 7 p.m. Fireworks are at 9 p.m. townofkenly.com

Knightdale: The Embers headline the “4th on 1st Celebration” at Knightdale Station Park, 810 N. First Ave. Quarry tours are at 3, 4 and 5 p.m. Food trucks and inflatables start at 5 p.m. The Embers take the stage at 6 p.m. with fireworks at 9:15 p.m. Bring blankets and chairs. Sparklers, alcohol and glass containers are not allowed. Pets are discouraged. Parking is at Knightdale High School, 100 Bryan Chalk Lane and Schneider Electric, 8001 Knightdale Blvd. A free shuttle will take people to the park until 8:30 p.m. facebook.com/KnightdaleNC

Morrisville: The Morrisville Fire Department’s annual pancake breakfast is at Fire Station 1, at 200 Town Hall Drive, from 8 to 10 a.m. Advance tickets are sold through July 2. They are $4 for adults and $2 for children under 12 at Cedar Fork Community Center, 1050 Town Hall Drive, and the Parks Administration Building, 240 Town Hall Drive. Tickets will be sold at the gate if available for $5 for adults and $3 for children younger than 12. townofmorrisville.org

Raleigh:

The annual Keep RLGH Independent 4-Miler at Dorothea Dix Park starts and finishes at 1251 Good St. A Kids Fun Run is at 7:45 a.m. The 4-Miler is at 8 a.m. Recipients will get a medal and Trophy Brewing beer. Cost is $39 though July 3 and $45 on July 4. runologieraleigh.com

The State Capitol celebration is 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with music and a naturalization ceremony. facebook.com/NCStateCapitol

Raleigh’s fireworks are back near the Carter-Finley Stadium and the PNC Arena complex. Fireworks will launch along Trinity Road, next to Close-King Indoor Practice Facility. PNC Arena, Carter-Finley Stadium and the North Carolina State Fairgrounds are in the vicinity of the fireworks display. There will be free parking at the arena, stadium and Bunn Field at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds along Trinity Road.

Gates open at 6 p.m. Fireworks are at 9:34 p.m. If there is rain, it will move to July 5. There will no be access to facilities in the venues, but restrooms will be on site. Bring blankets, chairs and food. There will be no food or beverage on site.

Brier Creek Commons will have events from 7 to 10 p.m. at 8311 Brier Creek Parkway with fireworks at dark. Events are at the Clock Tower Plaza with bounce houses, games and face painting. The rain date is July 5. facebook.com/shopbriercreek/

Actor Edward James Olmos and his four-legged friend Moe want you to know that for animals, fireworks aren't festive—they're frightening and sometimes fatal.

Rolesville: Events at 121 Redford Place Drive are 5 to 9:30 p.m. with food, music, kids carnival, food trucks and fireworks at 9:15 p.m. rolesvillenc.gov

Selma: Selma’s All-American Festival starts at 6 p.m. with live music, train rides and kids activities in Uptown Selma (Raiford Street in front of Town Hall). Fireworks start at 9:15 p.m. Food vendors. selma-nc.com/all-american-festival

Wake Forest: Fireworks were Wednesday night, but residents are invited to celebrate the July Fourth holiday with the annual Children’s Parade. Bring bicycles to the intersection of North Main Street and West Juniper Avenue at 10 a.m. The procession starts at 10:30 a.m. from North Main Street through the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and onto South Avenue. The route goes south on South College Street and ends at the Wake Forest Community House, 133 W. Owen Ave. Art in the Park follows from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. inside the Community House. bit.ly/WFIndependenceDayCelebration

Wendell: The Wendell Historical Society parade begins at 10:30 a.m. (Registration is in front of Wendell United Methodist Church at 10 a.m.) Free hot dogs, watermelon and dessert follow the parade at Town Square. townofwendell.com

Zebulon: The Carolina Mudcats play the Frederick Keys for three nights — July 4-6 — with each game followed by fireworks. Games are July 4 at 7 p.m.; July 5 at 7 p.m. and July 6 at 6 p.m. Players will wear patriotic jerseys. milb.com/carolina-mudcats/tickets/promotions

Friday, July 5

Holly Springs: Fireworks and festivities are at Jefferson L. Sugg Farm at Bass Lake Park, 2401 Grigsby Ave., from 5 to 9:30 p.m. Look for food, inflatables and rides, face painting and an apple pie contest. Fireworks are at 9:15 p.m. Park at Sugg Farm. hollyspringsnc.us/358/July-5th

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Features Editor Jessica Banov oversees coverage of entertainment, the arts, food and dining for The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun.

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