Everything looked pretty good for Raleighs new July Fourth celebration, designed to bring people downtown to restaurants and all that. In previous years, folks gathered at the State Fairgrounds for an elaborate fireworks show, and even though that was popular, the powers-that-be decided to move the fireworks downtown as well.
Oops. Goof. Wrong. Mistake.
Things were indeed going well at first. Folks were in restaurants and bars and on sidewalks and looking all over the Fayetteville Street area. Thats great. The city wants to lure more people downtown (although it sometimes argues against itself with not enough free parking) and this seemed like a dandy way to do it.
Ah, but heres the rub. If you werent on Fayetteville, you couldnt see the fireworks too well. Thats what City Manager Russell Allen meant, apparently, when he described Fayetteville Street as the prime view corridor. Okey-dokey that means if you were anywhere else it was hard to see fireworks because of the tall buildings.
And then there was the rule about not being able to shoot fireworks too high downtown. And the fact that the budget for the fireworks was cut for this year and the display toned down as a result.
Note to city pooh-bahs. You had a good idea about getting people downtown on July Fourth. But you made the wrong decision to scale back the fireworks and move them downtown. When people go to see fireworks, they want them high and bright and huge. Otherwise, they could just get some sparklers or put some candles on a cake.
So next year, have a downtown celebration. But let people go to the Fairgrounds and see fireworks as they were meant to be seen.