Estimated 75K attended Raleigh 4th of July

July 5, 2012 1:18:52 PM PDT
The Downtown Raleigh Alliance said Thursday that it estimates some 75,000 people came to celebrate the Fourth of July downtown Wednesday.

Police put the number closer to 50,000.

It was the first year for "The 'Works: July 4th on Fayetteville Street," as city leaders moved the annual Independence Day celebration from its old location at the state fairgrounds.

"I had such a good time, and it was just so great to see so many different people down there. I met people from three different countries," said Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane.

Overall, city leaders are calling the event a huge success, but they said there may be ways to improve it next year. McFarlane said she's heard from people who enjoyed the appeal of all the outdoor events, but she has heard a few complaints too.

"I have had some feedback from people who wished the fireworks were higher," she said.

City Manager Russell Allen said the city was limited by code restrictions, which could prompt it to choose a different launch site in 2013, but the event would stay downtown.

City leaders said the intention at this year's event was for the public to view the fireworks from Fayetteville Street, so next year they will try to get that word out to people, so they know where they need to be to get the best view

Another issue was parking or access to downtown.

"I've had a couple people say, 'Gosh we wish you could've run buses from Crabtree or North Hills or somewhere like that to help people come downtown,'" said McFarlane.

While those are things city leaders are considering for the future, they said huge turnout for the event speaks for itself. And if they can tweak a few things for next year, they hope to make it that much better.

The mayor said she looks forward to hearing more feedback from the public. You can email her at Nancy.McFarlane@raleighnc.gov.

NOTE: ABC11 was a proud sponsor of The 'Works: July 4th on Fayetteville Street.

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