Fourth of July with a bigger celebration Thursday night in an effort to out-do last year's disappointing display.
People ringed the streets and bridges downtown Thursday to get the best views as the city held two – one on Fayetteville Street at 9:15 p.m. and then a larger display that started around 10:25 p.m. from Red Hat Amphitheater.
The second show went off about 10 minutes late, annoying many, but the fireworks themselves were a crowd-pleaser with their bright colors and red, green and even luminous smiley faces dotting the Raleigh skyline.
Police say it was people parking in the firework safety buffer zone that delayed the show.
Thousands of people ringed downtown to watch the event as the bright colors of the fireworks flickered off the downtown buildings.
“Tonight, compared to last year, was far better,” one fan said.
We talked to Raleigh Mayor Susan McFarlane about the shows. She says overall she thinks it went great, but there were also lessons learned.
“I think it's really about anticipating crowds and movement and just getting that straight for next year,” said McFarlane.
The two shows are in an effort to improve last year's celebration after many people complained about the display because the fireworks company, S&W Productions of Wake Forest, could only shoot shells that were 3 inches in diameter. Federal guidelines dictate that a fireworks shell can only be one inch in diameter for every 70 feet it is from a structure.
Adding a fireworks show from the Red Hat Ampitheater gave S&W more space, and thus the chance to fire off bigger shells.
But some people still weren't pleased at all and found the downtown effort disappointing.
WNCN's Facebook page was flooded with comments from people who thought the event was much better at the State Fairgrounds.
“I won't return until they are back to the fairgrounds,” posted Penni Potter. “How many more thumbs down do you need Raleigh?”
“Move them back,” posted Traci Branch. “They are hard to see unless you are standing in the middle of the street. Small children and those in wheelchairs have an even harder time. I was standing next to two people in wheelchairs who couldn't' see due to people standing in front of them. Children around me were complaining and crying because they couldn't see and adults were putting young children on their shoulders which added to the difficulty.”