Sparks Flying Over Holiday Fireworks

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by Will Kennedy
Bio | Email | Follow: @willkennedynews by Photojournalist Darnell Hart

CHARLOTTE, NC -- Sparks are flying over fireworks this year on the 4th of July. The City of Charlotte moved its holiday show out of Elizabeth and into Uptown this year, causing some confusion.

And one Queen City neighborhood had to cancel its annual display at the last minute.

"People are upset. We've been doing fireworks in this neighborhood for 14 years," says Plaza Midwood resident Brian Dowling.

The announcement came down last night on social media: no fireworks display during the 14th Annual July 4th Pig Pickin' in Plaza Midwood. Organizers say they have never needed a permit before, but were told Tuesday the tradition can't continue without one.

"We didn't realize that a small fireworks display that we put on, just a tiny, minor budget, would require such permitting," says Dowling.

The Plaza Midwood neighborhood celebration has always been a full day, capped off by local fireworks after everyone watched the city's big display. But that big city show has moved.

"This year I'm disappointed, because from our vantage the Uptown is going to block from the baseball stadium," says Dowling. "You're only going to be see the fireworks from the south side or west side."

The official Queen City celebration now takes place after the Charlotte Knights' game at BB&T Ballpark in Uptown. The place will be packed, and that's squeezing out some families who will have to find an alternative.

"The baseball stadium is so much smaller now," says Steele Creek resident Erin Chmura. "I know it's been sold out for a really long time. And we didn't want to get caught up in the traffic Uptown. So that was not an option for us."

Other Charlotteans are excited about the change of venue. Scott Boutin and his two young boys are making a day of it.

"Our kids are a little young for a late night, but we keep them up on 4th of July," says SouthPark resident Scott Boutin.

It's worth it?

"Yeah, definitely," says Boutin.

Organizers in Plaza Midwood tell WCCB that they plan to get a permit to resume the fireworks display for next year's Pig Pickin' event.

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