Wake Forest holds virtual July 4th fireworks show amid pandemic

Wake County News

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (WNCN) — For the first time in its history, the Independence Day fireworks show in Wake Forest went on without a large crowd of spectators Friday night.

The town set off fireworks on a greenway near Heritage High School’s Husky Stadium, but didn’t allow people to view the display on campus.

Instead, the town held a virtual celebration and streamed it on Facebook.

“We felt that it was important to get as many citizens as possible to see the show, and not be here in the stadium,” said Ruben Wall, Director of Parks and Recreation for Wake Forest. “The town saw it as very important that we try and give the citizens something this year to help them get that feeling for Independence Day.”

Wall said the decision to hold a virtual celebration came months ago, in the midst of the state’s shutdown.

To prevent people from gathering, police blocked off the school campus, nearby greenways and public parking spots. Some families still found a way to see the show in person.

“For us, we’re able to walk here, so we’re fortunate,” said Paul Drake of Wake Forest. “So we can watch the fireworks, still be outside and have some family time and something normal to do.”

Another family watched the show outside nearby.

“We think it’s really important, especially for our kids, to have some sense of normalcy,” said Tanya Drake, who watched the fireworks from the sidewalk a few blocks away from the stadium. “And as long as everybody is outside and trying to be safe, I think it’s a great thing we can still do something to celebrate our country.”

Wall said about 30 town staff members volunteered to work Friday night to help bring a little bit of that normalcy to the community during uncertain times.

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