Downtown Independence Day fireworks: Where to watch, park is your source for free news and information in the Wilmington area.

Fireworks will light up the downtown sky Monday night to round out this year's festival..
Fireworks will light up the downtown sky Monday night to round out this year’s festival.

Downtown Wilmington will be a prime destination for many area residents to see a spectacular fireworks display on Independence Day. But the city is expecting one- to two-hour delays for a large volume of downtown traffic before and after the show.

The event area, which includes music and food vendors, has been moved to the North Waterfront Park, located at the foot of Harnett Street in downtown Wilmington.  Food vendors and music by “Machine Gun” start at 6 p.m. along Water Street.

The events are all leading up fireworks show, which begins at 9:05 p.m. Monday, according to the city. Fireworks will be launched from a barge in the Cape Fear River near the park with primary viewing of the fireworks from North Waterfront Park. Pets are not allowed downtown during special events where large crowds are present and streets are closed.

For boating traffic, a boating safety zone will be designated for 30 minutes after the fireworks show around the launch site. No boating traffic on the Cape Fear River will be allowed through the launch area at that time.

Motorists should expect delays before and after the fireworks display. All streets west of Second Street in downtown Wilmington toward the river will close as early as 6 p.m.

Vehicles should park on the side of downtown Wilmington with Red Cross Street being the dividing line that is closest to the direction motorists can travel after the fireworks have ended.

Traffic parked south of Red Cross Street will be diverted south toward Market Street, Dawson Street and the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge. This includes city parking decks in the 100 block of Market Street, the 100 block of N. Second Street and the Water Street parking deck, as well as the county parking deck in the 200 block of N. Second Street and the Cape Fear Community College parking decks at Nutt and Red Cross streets.

Vehicles parked north of Red Cross Street will be diverted north toward MLK Parkway and the Isabel Holmes Bridge. This includes the Wilmington Convention Center parking deck at 515 Nutt St. and the CFCC deck at Third and Hanover streets.

All on-street parking is free on the Forth of July. The following is a list of parking decks and rates for special events:

  • CFCC parking decks: $5
  • Market Street deck: $7
  • Second Street deck: $7
  • New Hanover County deck beside downtown library: $7
  • Convention Center parking deck: $8
  • Water Street deck: $10

For more information about traffic patterns and street closures visit the City of Wilmington’s Fourth of July page. Traffic information the day of the event is available by calling 511 or visit the North Carolina Department of Transportation website.