For the first time in five years, fireworks are coming back to Memorial Stadium for the Fourth of July — but this year, they'll happen on July 3.
In recent years, uptown fireworks have taken place only at BB&T Ballpark as part of the Charlotte Knights games. Those displays will continue Tuesday and Wednesday, but now residents will have another center city option.
The free Memorial Stadium fireworks show is coming back with an extra incentive to celebrate from the city, said Adam Rhew, the director of communications for Charlotte Star Spangled Spectacular planner Charlotte Center City Partners.
Charlotte is celebrating more than the nation's birth. The show is also the kick-off for the city's 250th anniversary celebration, which will run through May 2019. The fireworks show, sponsored by Regions Bank and supported by the City of Charlotte, will begin at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday.
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The stadium will open at 6 p.m. with a food truck rodeo, live music from The Voltage Brothers and activities including mini golf, face painting and soccer darts. The 20-minute fireworks show will be choreographed to music broadcast on local radio station 102.9 The Lake. The fireworks, which will be fired from a parking deck on Central Piedmont Community College's campus, can reach altitudes of more than 1,000 feet.
Rhew said that it's this scale that sets the Memorial Stadium show apart from others in the area — notably, Skyshow Charlotte 2018, which will take place at BB&T Stadium after Wednesday's Charlotte Knights' game against the Durham Bulls.
"In most cases, if you're able to see the skyline, you're able to see the fireworks," Rhew said.
Viola Williams, wife of Voltage Brothers member Raymond Williams, said that the band will be celebrating its 49th anniversary on Wednesday, and is happy to return to Charlotte. The Voltage Brothers also played the event 22 years ago, where Williams says she reconnected with her future husband on stage.
"Every time we go to Charlotte, we get so much love," Williams said.
Williams isn't the only one celebrating tradition on Tuesday. Rhew remembers attending the fireworks show as a child. Now, as part of the team that's planning it, he's happy to keep "the same fun, family-focused feel" that he grew up watching.
While he said it's "hard to tell" how many people will come to the stadium, the event has had 15,000 attendees in the past. He said that Independence Park, First Ward Park and Little Sugar Creek Greenway are also good viewing locations.
Road closings for fireworks
Charlottetowne Avenue between 4th and 7th street, Elizabeth Avenue between Torrence Street and Kings Drive and 4th Street between Charlottetowne Avenue and Kings Drive/3rd Street Connector will be closed before 9 p.m. on Tuesday to prevent injury from firework fallout. Rhew said that spectators in Memorial Stadium should leave fold-out chairs at home to avoid turf damage, and try to take public transit to get to the show due to increased traffic.