Independence Day 2021: Where to check out fireworks this week

Samantha Morris and Will Darrough, both Wilmington residents, watch the Thursday night fireworks show from the patio of the Olde Salty, 9:07 p.m. (Port City Daily photo | Mark Darrough)
Samantha Morris and Will Darrough, both Wilmington residents, watch the Thursday night fireworks show from the patio of Carolina Beach’s Olde Salty, 9:07 p.m. (Port City Daily | Mark Darrough)

SOUTHEASTERN N.C. — After most municipalities and cities canceled their fireworks last year because of Covid-19, Independence Day 2021 is returning with a bang. Numerous displays are scheduled to take place this week in honor of July 4th celebrations along the southeast coast, and we have the rundown below.

But before we get to that, let’s rehash fireworks laws in North Carolina for all the pyros looking to have their own neighborhood shebang. When it comes to shooting off bottle rockets or anything that explodes, spins, detonates, or propels, it’s a class 2 misdemeanor and can come with a $500 fine or six months in jail.

Legal ones include caps fired within toy pistols, snake and glow worms, smoke devices, trick noisemakers, party and string poppers, wire sparklers, and other sparkling devices that do not spin, detonate, or explode.


Rather leave it to the pros? Here are some festivities worth checking out across the tri-county region:

Downtown Wilmington

The City of Wilmington is celebrating July 4 with the opening of its new Riverfront Park (10 Cowan St.) on the Riverwalk. There will be live music from Signal Fire, L Shape Lot, The Coastal Collective, Benny Hill Quartet, plus comedians Timmy Sherrill and Matt White, local brewers, and kids’ activities.

The park will close at 8 p.m. to give folks time to head toward the fireworks, which will be launched near the Battleship over the Cape Fear River at 9:05 p.m. Fireworks won’t be visible from Riverfront Park, but rather along Water Street. Pets are not allowed downtown during this time. As well, 30 minutes after fireworks launch around the barge near the Battleship, no thru boating traffic will be allowed.

Carolina Beach Boardwalk Blast

Carolina Beach will celebrate Friday, July 2, with free live music at the gazebo on the boardwalk beginning at 6:30 p.m. A Johnny Cash cover band, Johnny Folsom 4, will take the stage until 9:30 p.m. The fireworks show will be visible oceanside at 9 p.m.

NC 4th of July Festival in Southport

The official North Carolina 4th of July Festival will resume in 2021, but it will be spread out to both Southport and Oak Island.

For two centuries, the festival has taken place, and this year will welcome back most events — though no parade or naturalization ceremony. Still, there will be live music, games, food, the reading of the Declaration of Independence, a flag-raising ceremony, classic car show, arts and crafts market, Freedom Flotilla and of course fireworks, which will take place July 1 and 4, 9 p.m., at Oak Island Pier (705 Ocean Dr.).

A full schedule of events can be found here.

Town of Surf City

Taking place at Soundside Park (517 Roland Ave.), Surf City will celebrate Independence Day a day early on July 3. Festivities take place at 6 p.m. with free live music from The Embers and Craig Woolard, as well as food vendors and fireworks.

Holly Ridge Liberty Fest and Fireworks

Free festivities will take place at Holly Ridge Municipal Park (417 Kraft St.) from 4 p.m. – 10 p.m. on Friday, July 2. There will be food and arts and crafts vendors, inflatables, balloon animals, face painting, games, and music from The Carolina Band and The Imitations. The fireworks blast off at 9 p.m.

Wilmington Sharks

What’s more American than baseball and fireworks?

Wilmington Sharks are batting off against the Edenton Steamers on July 3 at 7:05 p.m. Special Independence Day fireworks will be part of the game as well. Tickets are $8-$12 for adults; children get in free. Gates open at 6 p.m.


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