Independence Day is fast approaching and there is no shortage of ways to celebrate in the Triangle. Whether you’re looking for a small-town celebration or a big city gathering complete with fireworks against the city skyline, the Raleigh-Durham area has something to offer. Whatever you choose, make sure to bring lots of water. The temperature in 2012 is expected climb into the upper 90s.
For those accustomed to celebrating the Fourth of July at the State Fairgrounds, the city of Raleigh has decided to do something different this year by bringing the celebration downtown. The ‘Works! July 4th on Fayetteville Street presented by ABC 11 will take the place of the fairgrounds celebration. This free event runs from noon to 10 p.m. At the corner of Davie and Fayetteville Streets, King BMX will present a stunt show at 2 p.m, 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Gouge Wrestling will be on Hargett Street, giving shows at 2:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. For those with strong stomachs, head to Martin Street to watch the hot dog eating contest at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Also on Martin Street is the watermelon seed spitting contest at 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m; and the ice cream eating contest at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Live music will be going on throughout the event on the courthouse steps, the Morgan Street Stage and the City Plaza Stage. The event ends with fireworks at 9:30 p.m. over the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts. A wide range of food and beverage vendors will be set up throughout the city.
Historic downtown Apex provides a perfect backdrop for its Olde Fashioned Fourth of July celebration. Running from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on July 4, all downtown streets will be closed off for the festivities. A flag raising ceremony will be held at 9 a.m., with activities following at 9:15 a.m. The parade line-up begins at 11:45 p.m., with the Uncle Sam’s Parade of Wheels starting at noon. Kids of all ages should enjoy the carnival games, cake walk, inflatables, climbing wall, giant slide, jugglers, clowns and karaoke. All events and activities are free.
The Fourth of July Celebration for Chapel Hill will include a display of more than 6,350 fireworks. WCHL’s Ron Stutts is host of the event, which takes place in UNC’s Kenan Stadium on July 4. Gates open at 7 p.m., with fireworks starting at 9:30 p.m. Throughout the evening, activities will include a juggling Uncle Sam stilt walker, contests and face painting. The first 10,000 people receive a free glow necklace. At 8 p.m., Mick Mixon and the Franklin Street Band will perform. While the event is free, the town accepts voluntary contributions at the stadium gates.
Another small town celebration takes place to the south of Raleigh in Fuquay-Varina. The town holds its Independence Day Celebration at South Park, 820 Main St., Fuquay-Varina at 6 p.m. July 3. Free inflatables, rides and activities for children will be available before the fireworks, which begin at dusk. Those attending should plan to bring a blanket or chair. Food vendors will be on-site, but alcohol is not permitted. Free and open to the public, the celebration will also feature musical entertainment starting at 7 p.m.
Ring in Independence Day with the classic American game of baseball in Durham. The Durham Bulls host the Norfolk Tides at 6:05 p.m. on July 4 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Following the game is the Independence Day Fireworks Extravaganza. Tickets start at only $6.99 and there’s not a bad seat in the stadium. Go early to enjoy a meal at one of the many restaurants in the American Tobacco Complex or pick up a meal at one of several choices at the stadium.
Nestled in the pines along a small lake, Koka Booth Amphitheater provides a serene setting for celebrating the Fourth of July. Event seating on the lawn is free, with blankets, lawn chairs and picnics permitted. Gates open at 3 p.m. Contests including watermelon and ice cream eating take place from 4:30-6 p.m. At 5:45 p.m., the Cary Town Band takes the main stage, followed by the North Carolina Symphony from 5:45-9 p.m. The evening caps off with a fireworks display over Symphony Lake.