by William Needham Finley IV™

Raleigh Ruined My Fourth of July

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The City of Raleigh hates America and freedom. This was made clear on July 4th, when they offered up free entertainment and a fireworks show in downtown Raleigh, and begged for hordes of heathens to show up. Raleigh brought the State Fair to Fayetteville Street, then topped off the night with a pathetic fireworks display, ruining my Fourth of July. Downtown was just starting to become bearable with the opening of a few decent pre-Five Points bars, but this event just set it back by at least five years.

I would have been at the Club to watch our own exclusive fireworks show, where they spell out our last names in fireworks based on how old your member PIN is. However, I haven’t been allowed to watch fireworks there since 1997. Numerous golf course residents have cited fears of another mansion arson, so they won’t let me within 1,000 feet of anything related to fire. I would have just stayed home, but I love America too much for that. So my only options were to watch fireworks in downtown Raleigh or at some amphitheater in Cary. Obviously, I went downtown.

Upon arriving downtown, I was immediately met with a slew of first world problems. There were no ITB-only parking lots or reserved spaces and they didn’t even have a valet service. I had to park on some random street and fear that my SUV would get vandalized. Then I had to walk like 3 whole blocks to get to Fayetteville St.. Once we got there, I spent 15 seconds in awe before leaving.


In my 15 seconds on Fayetteville St., I saw crowds of collarless people I didn’t know, vendors selling foreign food I’d never heard of, and a giant inflatable NASCAR. All of this was too overwhelming for me to deal with, so we left before I started hyperventilating due to social anxiety.

We went to the Boylan Bridge to get a better view of the fireworks. The fireworks finally started and to say I was underwhelmed is a huge understatement. They were so bad that I couldn’t even take pictures and post them to all my social networks, for fear that others would think I was watching fireworks in Cary. The City of Raleigh will never fully understand how embarrassing it is to not be able to show off your patriotism on Twitter/Facebook via pictures of fireworks. I can’t have people questioning my love of America, especially in an election year.

This was more impressive than the Downtown Raleigh fireworks.

I wanted to know who was responsible for Raleigh’s fireworks budget and I wanted to know what the hell they were thinking. My investigative journalism, that consists of reading Twitter while hungover on my couch, led me to some answers.

1. Event organizers cut the fireworks budget from last year’s $24,000 to $15,000.
2. Wake County fire codes restrict how high fireworks can be shot in downtown.
3. “It was so enjoyable downtown,” Krupa added. “There were people in the restaurants; there were people in the bars. There were people at picnic tables. There was every walk of life in our streets.”

And that right there is the problem. In an attempt to maximize downtown restaurant and bar revenues, our city leaders tried to put on events that cater to every walk of life. Well, we’re inside the beltline, where there’s only one walk of life and it’s better than all the other walks. It’s absurd that my parents, by paying my taxes, are basically subsidizing these downtown bars and restaurants through this event. In no way is that the same as me spending thousands of their dollars a year at Five Points bars. Thanks for ruining my Fourth of July, Raleigh. We might as well be living in Communist China.[hr]

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