Your complete guide to Fourth of July fireworks and celebrations in the Triangle

Fireworks light up the skies over downtown Raleigh on the Fourth of July

Watch the finale of the fireworks show in downtown Raleigh, NC during the The 'Works! on July, 4, 2017.
Up Next
Watch the finale of the fireworks show in downtown Raleigh, NC during the The 'Works! on July, 4, 2017.

Summer heating up can only mean one thing: It's almost time for the Fourth of July. From old-timey celebrations with pie-eating and watermelon seed-spitting contests to the Festival for the Eno, the Triangle and surrounding areas include plenty of ways to celebrate.

And don't worry, there will be plenty of fireworks. Most notably, the 'Works, Raleigh's annual fireworks display, is returning to west Raleigh and the PNC Arena.

The 'Works have spent their last six years in downtown Raleigh, but will be returning to the PNC Arena in response to complaints that construction and changing skylines were limiting visibility in the downtown area. More on that below.

If you're looking to celebrate in Wake, Durham, Orange, Chatham or Johnston counties, here is your guide to the Fourth of July week. Because celebrating America's birthday is certainly worth more than a day of fun.

Sunday, July 1

Smithfield: Smithfield's Independence Celebration will take place 6 p.m. on South Third Street. The event will feature food trucks, games, and other activities for all ages. The celebration will conclude with a fireworks display at 9 p.m. Some games may involve water, so children especially should bring clothes that can get wet. Info: https://bit.ly/2IbvEot

Tuesday, July 3

Cary: The Cary Town Band will lead off the holiday with an Independence Eve Celebration at the Cary Arts Center. Following a preshow by Applause! Cary Youth Theatre at 6:30 p.m., the band will play music at 7:30 p.m. from World War I in anticipation of the 100th anniversary of its conclusion, coming up in November. Admission is free. Info: https://bit.ly/2K1soSs

Durham: The Durham Bulls will play at home versus the Gwinnett Stripers, followed by the Bulls’ Fireworks Extravaganza. The game will start at 6:35 p.m. Info and tickets: https://atmilb.com/1zfBSdu

Fuquay-Varina: Fuquay-Varina's Independence Day Celebration will be at South Park, 900 S. Main St., starting at 6 p.m. Local band Spare Change will play at 6:30 p.m., and kids will have access to a variety of free rides and the splash pad from 6 p.m. until sundown. Several local food vendors will be on-site. At sundown, the night will be capped off with a fireworks show. In preparation, the Community Center will close at 12 noon and the splash pad and the Jeff Wells Trail will be closed all day. Info: https://bit.ly/2KbEofO

Garner: Garner's Independence Day Celebration will be at Lake Benson Park, 921 Buffaloe Road, starting at 5 p.m. From 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., there will be tours of the Veterans Memorial, and from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., the Kids Adventure Zone, with inflatables, crafts, and games will be open.There will be food trucks operating all evening. Local band The Embers will play at 5:30 p.m., Garner Mayor Ronnie Williams will speak at 8 p.m., and the NC Symphony will play at 8:30 p.m. Fireworks will follow the NC Symphony performance, estimated for 9:30 p.m. Buffaloe Road will close between Aversboro Road and Highway 50 at 5 p.m. (residents can access their homes with a resident pass) and at 8:45 p.m. Aversboro Road will close to southbound traffic at Timber Drive. A shuttle will run to and from South Garner High School. Info: https://bit.ly/2ywuILT

Experts share safety tips for Independence Day celebrations. JOHN ROTTET JOHN ROTTET

Morrisville: Morrisville will host a free fireworks display at Morrisville Community Park, 1520 Morrisville Parkway. The event will run 6 to 10 p.m. and the fireworks will begin at dark. Food trucks will be operating as well. Bring blankets and chairs. Info: https://bit.ly/2MLCfJy

Selma: Selma's All-American Festival is 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Railroad Street near the Union Depot. Train rides, food and live music from the USAF Full Spectrum Rock Band and DJ Jim Earp with the fireworks display will beign at 9:15 p.m. Info: https://bit.ly/28LnceZ

Wake Forest: Wake Forest will have a Fireworks Spectacular in Husky Stadium on Heritage High School campus. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the show will begin at 6 p.m. Local band Crush will lead off with a set, followed by fireworks at dusk. Concessions and food trucks will be on hand, and attendees are encouraged to bring blankets and lawn chairs to set up on the football field. Parking is available on campus, as well as from several remote locations serviced by shuttles. Info: https://bit.ly/2LDsATX

Zebulon: The Carolina Mudcats will host the Buies Creek Astros for the first night of the Mudcats for America Series. The game starts at 7 p.m. The Mudcats will wear patriotic-themed jerseys and all proceeds will benefit Hire Heros USA, a nonprofit that "empowers U.S. military members, veretans and military spouses to succeed in the workforce." A fireworks extravaganza will follow the game. Info and tickets: https://atmilb.com/2lqgmTH

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

Wednesday, July 4

Apex: The Apex Olde-Fashioned Fourth of July celebration will take place in Downtown Apex. from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The beginning of the day will feature a variety of food and family fun. Then at 11:45 a.m., a marching band and Uncle Sam on stilts will lead Uncle Sam's Parade of Wheels down Salem Street. Those 12 and younger are encouraged to bring and decorate with red white and blue, a bicycle, wagon, scooter, or any other form of wheeled transportation (helmets required). The festivities will conclude with the annual Apex Fire Department splash down, so bring clothes that can get wet. Info: https://bit.ly/1dlgzkl

Benson: The Benson July 4 Celebration will be at Benson Singing Grove, 400 E. Main St. The event will kick off at 5:30 p.m. with a flag raising, and welcome address by Benson Mayor Jerry M. Medlin. A variety of local bands will take the stage at 6 p.m., and the evening will conclude with fireworks at 9:15 p.m. Info: https://bit.ly/2IhQS3N

Carrboro: The Carrboro July Fourth Kick-off Event will be at the Weaver Street Market Lawn, 101 E. Weaver St., starting 9:30 a.m. and will include a costume contest and parade down to Carrboro Town Hall. There, the main event begins at 11 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. with games, contests, music and magic for all ages, as well as food. Additionally, at noon at Century Hall, there will be a reading of Frederick Douglass' July 4th essay. Info: https://bit.ly/2MawyE8

Cary: The Independence Day Olde Time Celebration at Bond Park, 801 High House Road, will start at 8 a.m. and provide family fun all morning. The morning will kick off promptly with a fishing tournament; registration starts at 7:30 a.m. with prizes for the longest and shortest fish in a variety of age groups. At 9:30 a.m., brings bicycles, scooters, wagons and other wheeled vehicles to the Kiwanis Shelter to decorate them for the parade through the park, leaving at 10:30 a.m. Then at 11 a.m., there will be competitions for the whole family, including watermelon and doughnut eating, watermelon seed spitting, and sidewalk decorating.

In the afternoon, the festivities will move over to the Koka Booth Amphitheatre, 8003 Regency Parkway. From 3 to 7 p.m. enjoy rides, games, contests, and more. At 5:45 p.m., the Cary Town Band will take the stage, followed at 7:30 p.m. by the NC Symphony. After the musical performances, the celebration will conclude with fireworks. Admission and lawn seating is free, although premium seating can be purchased. Info and tickets: https://bit.ly/2K1soSs

Chapel Hill: The Town of Chapel Hill will hold its annual Fourth of July celebration in UNC’s Kenan Memorial Stadium, 104 Stadium Drive. The event will feature a watermelon-eating contest, a performance from the Charlotte-based Matt Stratford Band, and a grand finale of fireworks. Gates will open at 7 p.m. and the fireworks will begin at 9:30 p.m There is a suggested contribution of $1 per person or $5 per family at the gate. Info: https://bit.ly/2HcOx9S

Here's a 90-second chemistry lesson on fireworks and what produces the different colors and patterns.

Clayton: The Clayton Independence Day Celebration at Municipal Park, 325 McCullers Drive, with games, inflatables and rides, food, live music from local band Big Love, and a hosedown by the Clayton Fire Department will begin at 4 p.m. The fireworks display will be at dark, and all other activities will continue to operate for half an hour after the fireworks conclude. Town Square and Horne Square on Main Street, popular viewing locations in years past, will not have a good view of the fireworks display. Info: https://bit.ly/28MYUUa

Cleveland: The Cleveland festivites will begin at 7 a.m. with a pancake breakfast at the Oakland Presbyterian Church, 8927 Cleveland Road, and the parade will leave at 10 a.m. The Cleveland Firefighters Association barbecue sale begins at noon, and the community softball games will kick off at 1 p.m. From 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. there will be vendors and live entertainment, and the fireworks show will be at 9:15 p.m. Info: https://bit.ly/2yxYLTf


Durham: Day one of the 2018 Festival for the Eno will be held at West Point on the Eno, 5101 N. Roxboro Road, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The 39th annual festival will feature artisans, food trucks, craft beer, and a lineup of more than 75 bands, headlined on Wednesday by Raleigh-based indie and folk rock band The Bowerbirds. Proceeds from the festival will benefit the Eno River Association, which works to protect and conserve the Eno River Basin, and promote public access and use of parks. The festival will continue later in the week, with the second day on Saturday, July 7. Parking will be available at Durham County Memorial Stadium, 750 Stadium Drive, and a shuttle will transport attendees between the Stadium and the festival. Info and tickets: https://bit.ly/2u3NWSs

In the evening, the Durham Bulls will host Durham Parks and Recreation’s annual Independence Day Celebration, featuring baseball and fireworks. While the Bulls will be playing in Charlotte against the Knights, the stadium will serve as the venue for the second game of the 42nd USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Series, featuring the best collegiate baseball players in the country. The game will start at 6:05 p.m, and at the end of the seventh inning, gates will open for free admission, subject to availability, to a fireworks show following the game. The fireworks can also be seen from outside the park, including from Tobacco Road Sports Cafe, Ponysaurus Brewing Co., outside of Burt’s Bees and the North Deck, and Diamond View Park. Info: https://bit.ly/2sna0bs. Tickets: https://atmilb.com/1zfBSdu

Kenly: Kenly's Fourth of July Celebration will be at Kenly 95 Petro, 923 Johnston Parkway. A DJ and games will begin at 7:30 p.m. and the fireworks will start at 9 p.m. Info: https://bit.ly/2KbO51g

Robin Catiller was filming the annual fireworks display at Bogey Hills Baptist Church in St. Charles, Missouri, when things suddenly went horribly wrong. "Before they started the display they said sit back, relax and enjoy the show," she said. "Ev

Knightdale: The Knightdale July 4 Celebration will take place at the soccer fields at Knightdale Station Park, 810 North First Ave. The event will begin at 5 p.m. and run until 9:45 p.m. There will be food trucks, local band The Embers will play, and fireworks will start at 9:15 p.m. Shuttles will run to and from Knightdale High School, 100 Bryan Chalk Lane, and Square D, 8001 Knightdale Blvd. Additionally, there will be several street closings. First Avenue between Poplar Street and Knightdale Boulevard will be closed from 4 p.m. onwards, Poplar Street between Robertson Street and First Avenue will be closed from 1 p.m. onwards, and Second Avenue between Pine and Sycamore streets will be closed from 4 p.m. onwards. Info: https://bit.ly/2KbA6sd

Morrisville: The Morrisville Fire Department will host a pancake breakfast at Fire Station One, 200 Town Hall Drive, from 8 to 10 a.m. Presale tickets, which cost $4 for adults and $2 for children under 12, can be purchased until July 1 at the Cedar Fork Community Center, 1050 Town Hall Drive, Morrisville Aquatics and Fitness Center, 1301 Morrisville Parkway, or the Parks Administration Building, 240 Town Hall Drive. Tickets can also be purchased at the door, pending availability, for $5 for adults and $3 for children younger than 12. Info: https://bit.ly/2tup9Yy

Pine Level: Pine Level's celebration will run from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. at Sam Godwin Recreation Park. The event will include softball games, firetruck rides, inflatables, live music and concessions. Fireworks will begin at 9:30 p.m. Info: https://bit.ly/2MQesrZ

Raleigh: In the morning, Runologie has organized the Keep RLGH Independent 4-Miler in Dorothea Dix Park. The race will start at 8 a.m., and leads into an afterparty with a DJ, food trucks and beer from Trophy Brewing Co. Info: https://bit.ly/2J71HLp. Registration: https://bit.ly/2J2aFtr

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the State Capitol will host a celebration, with opportunities to write with a quill pen, pie a redcoat, or dress up like a Revolutionary-era citizen. Several food trucks will be available, and the Capitol building will be open for self-guided tours. At 12 noon there will be an outdoor naturalization ceremony for new citizens, a reading of the Declaration of Independence, and performances by the Raleigh Concert Band, and Wake & District, Raleigh's bagpipe and drum band. At 1 p.m. there will be a birthday cake for the United States, and at 1:30 p.m. a watermelon seed spitting contest.

At 6:30 p.m., the Barenaked Ladies, with opening acts KT Tunstall and Better Than Ezra will play at the Red Hat Amphitheater downtown. Info and tickets: https://bit.ly/2tjDcR9

Read Next

The ‘Works, Raleigh’s annual fireworks display, is returning to West Raleigh after six years in downtown. All fireworks will be launched on NC State property along Trinity Road, which is near PNC Arena, Carter-Finley Stadium and the NC State Fairgrounds.

Free parking will be available at the PNC Arena, 1400 Edwards Mill Road; Carter-Finley Stadium lots and NC State Fairgrounds Bunn Field lots along Trinity Road. There is no public access to the bathrooms inside any of the facilities, but there will be portable restrooms at each location.

Participants are encouraged to bring blankets, lawn chairs and picnics. No food or drink will be sold.

Gates open at 6 p.m. The display launches at 9:32 p.m. The rain date is July 5. Info: https://bit.ly/2xwtcJa

Wake Forest: In the morning, young people are encouraged to bring bicycles for the Wake Forest Children's Parade. The parade will stage at 10 a.m. at the intersection of North Main Street and West Juniper Avenue, then depart along North Main Street at 10:30 a.m. The parade will conclude with art and games in the Park, at Holding Park, 133 Owen Ave., and R. H. Forrest Field, 123 Owen Ave., from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event will include arts and crafts, and games including sack races, a watermelon seed spitting contest, and a pie eating contest. Info: https://bit.ly/2tePhHg

Zebulon: The Carolina Mudcats will host the Frederick Keys for the second night of the Mudcats for America Series. The game starts at 7 p.m. The Mudcats will wear patriotic-themed jerseys and all proceeds will benefit Hire Heroes USA, a nonprofit that "empowers U.S. military members, veretans, and military spouses to succeed in the workforce." A fireworks extravaganza will follow the game. Info and tickets: https://atmilb.com/2Kg0JMH

Thursday, July 5

Holly Springs: Holly Springs will celebrate Independence Day at Jefferson L. Sugg Farm at Bass Lake Park, 2401 Grigsby Ave., from 5 to 9:30 p.m. Admission is free and attendees can enjoy facepainting, crafts, inflatbles and rides, food, live music, and a skydiving demonstration by the All Veteran Parachute Team. Fireworks wil begin at 9:15. Info: https://bit.ly/2Kf9fsg

Alex Lewontin: @alexclewontin
Related stories from Raleigh News & Observer