When: Wed., July 4 2012
Various locations—Although some of us have taken a liking to the mockingly jingoistic songs of Team America: World Police, we do worry that they'll someday be mistaken for the real thing. Trey Parker's "Freedom isn't free/ no, there's a hefty fucking fee/ and if you don't throw in your buck o' five, who will?" isn't that far removed from Lee Greenwood's sadly unambitious boast that "I'm proud to be an American/ where at least I know I'm free." The latter has come close to joining the canon (as a New York school principal discovered when she banned the song from kindergartens), though we have a sneaking suspicion that another Trey Parker masterpiece, "America Fuck Yeah," will be required singing in our grandchildren's kindergartens.
Happy 236th, America! Locally, there are many places and ways to celebrate freedom. Here are some large gatherings that are planned: After a one-year furlough because of budget constraints, fireworks return to Chapel Hill's Kenan Stadium. Freedom isn't necessarily free, though: To defray the $42,000 cost of the 6,393 fireworks including Wave Willows, Red & Green Falling Leaves, Silver Whirls and Lemon and Purple Crossettes, officials will be accepting donations at the gates of the stadium. (Better chip in a tad more than a buck o' five.) The gate opens at 7 p.m., with explosions to start at 9:30. Visit townofchapelhill.org/july4.
In Durham, the place to see the fireworks is after the Bulls complete their matchup with the Norfolk Tides. The game starts at 6:05 p.m. The cheapest seats are $6.99, though you should do fine just making your way to Blackwell Street around 9 p.m., or perhaps sitting on the back porch of The Pinhook. Visit durhambulls.com.
In Cary, freedom really is mostly free at Koka Booth Amphitheatre, where there will be an Independence Day Celebration concert with the North Carolina Symphony, conducted by Grant Llewellyn. No charge for picnicking on the lawn, but there's a fee to reserve a table. Visit boothamphitheatre.com.
In Raleigh, freedom is freest: This year, the fireworks move from the State Fairgrounds to downtown's City Plaza. Music and family fun begin at noon, and the fireworks go off around 9:30 p.m. Visit raleighconvention.com/works. —David Fellerath