Living in downtown, for years, I went to the bar at the top of the Clarion to watch the Fourth of July fireworks. This year, the fireworks will explode above the Clarion. For the first time in three decades, the North Carolina State Fairgrounds will not host the Fourth of July Fireworks celebration. Instead, City Plaza in Downtown Raleigh will be the destination for thousands of Wake County residents.
Entitled 'The Works', Downtown Raleigh's Fayetteville Street will have a day long celebration of our nation's birthday. From noon-10pm there will be tons of entertainment including live music, kids rides and games, gouge wrestling, a circus and of course, fireworks. A handful of downtown restaurants and businesses will be serving food as well. The full list of entertainment and food is below.
Live music: Stages at City Plaza and Morgan St. will salute the Fourth with live performances spanning genres from Jam and Blues, to Vintage Rock. Acts slated to appear include Milagro Saints, Jon Jackson, Chris Hendricks Band, Holy Ghost, Ed Stephenson, Children of the Horn, Gravy Boys, Casablanca Orchestra.
A beer and wine tent: from noon through the fireworks show, you can enjoy over 25 microbrews and 12 fine wine choices on the corner of West Hargett and Fayetteville Sts. Ten dollars for (8) 3 oz. pour samples.
Kids rides and games: just behind the courthouse, kids will have tons of fun visiting their very own area, complete with a bouncing house and water games area just down the street. Water area is in the plaza on the turf grass – slip and slide, water balloons, etc.
Gouge Wrestling: enjoy this ancient sport at 2:30, 4:30, 6:30, and 8:30
Stunt Shows: King BMX Stunt shows at 2:00, 4:00, 6:00, and 8:00
Circus Maximus at 6:00 and 9:00
Street performers: take a walk to the courthouse, where the steps will be lined with acts like jugglers, magicians and fire-throwers!
Eating contests: no matter what delicacy you find dandy, there’s an eating contest for everyone. Stuff yourself silly at the hot dog eating contests at 3:00 and 7:00. If spitting is your bag, you’ve got four chances to be a champion watermelon seed spitter at 2:00, 4:00, 6:00, and 8:30. Finally, enjoy some dessert at the ice cream eating contests at 5:00 and 8:00.
Food and art vendors: the streets of downtown Raleigh will be lined with over 50 food vendors and select art vendors designed to make this a celebration everyone can enjoy complete with more than 85 vendors.
Picnic on the street and camp out to see fireworks light the sky over the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts at 9:30 p.m. Pack your own picnic, if you like. Tables will be set up on Fayetteville St. from Davie to the City Plaza.
Downtown restaurants signed up to participate in the July 4 celebration:
• Isaac Hunter’s Oak City Tavern. Cornhole and other tailgating games will also be offered;
• Raleigh Times Bar. Live music and barbecue will be featured;
• The Oxford. Raleigh’s first gastropub will also have tailgating games;
• Sono, a Japanese restaurant that also will have tailgating games;
• La Volta, an authentic Italian restaurant;
• Buku, which specializes in international dishes; and,
• Busy Bee Café, which offers organic food.
The following food vendors will be selling a variety of concessions at “The ‘Works”:
• CJ’s Turkey Legs;
• Tropical Island Concessions;
• Beal Bartholomew;
• Jeffery’s Concessions;
• Wolff’s Backyard Cuisine;
• D&J Concessions;
• Southern Flavor;
• Party in a Pita;
• Hibachi Express;
• Sweet Cakes;
• S2 Concessions;
• Kona Ice; and,
• Masterpiece Ice Cream.