July 03--You can take your pick from dozens of Independence Day festivals, parades and fireworks displays on Friday. In fact, the celebrating kicks into high gear Thursday evening and runs through the weekend.
On Thursday, the Charlotte Symphony will hold its Celebrate America! concert at Symphony Park in SouthPark. Fireworks will follow the show. Tickets are $15 for adults.
Relatively rain-free conditions are forecast Friday for the Piedmont, foothills and mountains. Arthur could bring hurricane conditions to the North Carolina coast late Thursday and Friday.
The traditional festival and fireworks display near Charlotte's Memorial Stadium will not take place this year. The Friday night party has been moved to the west side of uptown, at BB&T BallPark after the Charlotte Knights game.
That means the traditional viewing spots won't work this year -- although the Charlotte Hounds lacrosse team will host a fireworks display Saturday night at Memorial Stadium after its game.
Here are some other displays to consider on Friday:
--Anything along the lakes should be spectacular, so consider displays at the Peninsula in Cornelius and at the Buster Boyd Bridge (N.C. 49) on Lake Wylie. Both of those will begin shortly after 9 p.m.
--The town of Kings Mountain, near the site of a key Revolutionary War battle, will shoot cannons and have a pipe band performance at 9 p.m., followed by fireworks.
Northwest Charlotte's Coulwood neighborhood has a parade at 9 a.m., and east Charlotte'sHickory Grove community marches at 10:30 a.m. Over in Union County, there are parades at 9:30 a.m. in Waxhaw and 11 a.m. in Indian Trail.
You also might want to consider hitting the road a bit, with several big festivals within 50-mile driving distance of Charlotte. The biggest of these town events are in Harrisburg (Cabarrus County), Oakboro (Stanly County) and Faith (Rowan County). There will be morning parades, daylong festivals, and late-night fireworks displays.
AAA Carolinas said motorists will pay an average of $3.62 a gallon for regular gas in North Carolina and $3.38 in South Carolina. The good news: that's down about 6 cents from Memorial Day. The bad news: It's up about 20 cents from last July 4.
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