RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Fireworks filled the skies as cities and towns across the Triangle celebrated the 4th of July.

Dorothea Dix Park, in particular, saw friends and families gather to celebrate Independence Day. It’s a holiday many look forward to all year long.

“I like sitting here and watching the fireworks,” Ava Rogers said.

“I am excited about the fireworks,” added 5-year-old Sebastian Marin, who jumped up and down, unable to contain his enthusiasm.

In Cary, families spent the afternoon at Koka Booth Amphitheater listening to music and enjoying time together before the fireworks display.

For some, it was the first big celebration since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Al and Candace Garcia and their children were excited to spend the afternoon in Cary.

“With COVID we just did family things, so this is our first time back since 2019,” Al Garcia said.

This is Dvorah Hayes’ first Fourth of July in North Carolina and her second in the U.S. She said she’s grateful for everything the day means. 

“It’s freedom,” she said.

While families focused on fun, event organizers kept safety in mind.

In Cary, there were dogs to detect firearms and explosives and everyone passed through a security checkpoint.

Raleigh police were a visible presence at Dorothea Dix Park, too. 

Families said they’ll remember the celebration and spending time together as a community.