Raleigh's July 4 event expanded to 2 sets of fireworks - WNCN: News, Weather

Raleigh's July 4 event expanded to 2 sets of fireworks

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The fireworks at the downtown Raleigh Fourth of July celebration could be bigger and bolder this year as the city tries to beef up an event that disappointed many a year ago.

Mayor Nancy McFarland confirmed Wednesday that Raleigh will have two sets of fireworks this year to improve the event.

Last year was the first time the Fourth of July celebration had moved to downtown after years at the State Fairgrounds.

But the downtown site had a drawback. The the fireworks company, S&W Productions of Wake Forest, could only shoot shells that were 3 inches in diameter. Federal guidelines dictate that a fireworks shell can only be one inch in diameter for every 70 feet it is from a structure.

WNCN viewer video of fireworks being tested Tuesday night

Many who went to the event were disappointed, and WNCN's Facebook page was full of comments from people who were irate at the display.

Cheri Baldree of S&W Productions told WNCN Tuesday that they are working with the city to find a solution. The plan is to still shoot the 3 inch shells on Fayetteville Street but to also shoot bigger shells – perhaps up to 6 inches – from a different location downtown as well.

The 6 inch shells would rise 600 feet but would require 420 feet of fallout, she said. She said S&W will test the fireworks soon and that a downtown parking lot might work.

McFarlane announced Wednesday that there will be fireworks on Fayetteville Street at 9:15 p.m. and then again from the Red Hat Amphitheater at 10:15 p.m.

The Fourth of July event will start at noon and continue until 11 p.m., the city said. The event will include two stages and 16 bands on Fayetteville Street, with more than 100 food and art vendors. The event will include a kids' zone, as well as a beer and wine tent.


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