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Written by:  Odile Fredericks
Date: July 3, 2012

Independence Day celebrations are gearing up across the Triangle, and you'll have lot of choices on where to see the fireworks close to your home or near the coast.

For the first time in decades, downtown Raleigh will host the city's July Fourth celebration, which is usually held at the N.C. State Fairgrounds. Dubbed "The Works," the downtown festival will feature an 11-hour July 4 lineup of fun that includes food, fun, games, music, libations, circus acts, street performers and eating contests.

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Capitol Grounds will celebrate July Fourth with musical performances, historical and military displays, crafts, food vendors, tours of the Capitol, and kids' activities, including a children's parade to a replica of the Liberty Bell on the Bicentennial Plaza. For more information, call 919-733-4994 or visit www.nchistoricsites.org/capitol/default.htm. From 3:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., live music will flow from two stages – Morgan and Fayetteville streets and City Plaza. Three watermelon-seed spitting competitions will be held at 2 p.m., 4 p.m., and 8:30 p.m. Martin Street will feature a Kid's Zone, with an inflatable bounce house games and train rides for a small fee. At 8 p.m., the 82nd Airborne Division's All American Free Fall Team will land in City Plaza, and at 9:40 p.m. a fireworks display will begin on the south end of Fayetteville Street in front of the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts. All Downtown City of Raleigh parking garages will be staffed from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. on July 4.  There will be a charge of $5 upon entry.

While Independence Day festivities are taking place across the Triangle, a three-day celebration of the environment will also be launching in Durham. The 33rd annual Eno River Festival runs July 4, 7 and 8, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., offering more than 90 music and dance performers, the state's best crafters and artisans, and fun activities such as dance workshops, historical tours, expos, craft demonstrations and river activities. You'll find more details here.

If you're heading to the coast, you can also enjoy Independence Day celebrations at state historic sites that include Battleship North Carolina in Wilmington and Tryon Palace in New Bern.

Your safest place to watch fireworks is at community firework display where professionals are handling the fireworks, according to Safe Kids Wake County. In 2010, the most recent year for which statistics are available, an estimated 3,400 children ages 15 and under had injuries involving fireworks. Children and teenagers are the most likely group to be injured as a result of consumer fireworks.  "Children under 15 years old account for 39 percent of the estimated fireworks injuries," said Siobhan Davis, Safe Kids Wake County coordinator.

Everyone knows kids should never play with fireworks, but did you know that The United States Fire Administration says they also should not play with sparklers? I didn't. Sparklers are designed to throw off showers of hot sparks, which can reach 1,200 degrees, hot enough to melt some metals.

"Let your child use glow sticks instead," said Ms. Davis. "They can be just as fun but they don't burn at a temperature hot enough to melt glass."

Safe Kids also reminds us not to allow kids to pick up pieces of fireworks after an event as some may still be ignited and can explode at any time. Fireworks, including sparklers and flares, can cause serious burns as well as blast injuries that can permanently impair vision and hearing. "Teach your children how to call 911 in an emergency.  Also teach them what to do if their clothing catches on fire – stop, drop and roll," Davis says.

Have a happy and safe Independence Day celebration!

Visit our Summer Fun Guide for more events and see which are our readers' top 2012 favorite places to shop, eat, play and visit in the Triangle.



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