Downtown Raleigh businesses hope for profitable 4th of July after losing street festival

Andrea Blanford Image
Wednesday, July 4, 2018
Businesses could feel impact of no downtown fireworks
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Businesses could feel impact of no downtown fireworks

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Fourth of July looks very different in downtown Raleigh compared to years past.

Old Glory waves quietly over a quiet Fayetteville Street where, since 2012, a day-long street festival drew crowds enjoying food trucks, vendors, and live entertainment long before the fireworks were launched.

"It's weird," said Georgeanna Murphy of Raleigh. "It's like a ghost town. We came down to find some breakfast, get some brunch but everywhere is almost closed."

This year, the City decided to scrap the street party and move only the fireworks to west Raleigh, where ample parking and wide open sky would allow for a bigger-than-ever display.

"We used to have two different shoots because of the buildings that got in the way," said Taylor Traversari, City of Raleigh Event Producer. "So now we're combining them to have one big large massive comprehensive shoot."

Some downtown restaurants, like Jimmy V's and Beasley's Chicken + Honey, that usually capitalize on the holiday that brought the masses to them, are concerned about their bottom line.

"It definitely could have an impact for business tonight, for sure, because there aren't going to be as many people just downtown, walking around," said Caroline Binz, Beasley's Chicken + Honey Manager.

Other businesses, like Raleigh Raw, don't think the lack of potential customers will make an impact.

"It normally has not brought in that much foot traffic because Fourth of July is normally associated with drinking and fun like that so we don't normally get people coming in for juices," said Derrick Black, store manager.

One comfort for the business owners missing out on big business- the Barenaked Ladies are playing Red Hat Ampitheatre Wednesday night.

"Any event at Red Hat, no matter what sort of musical performance is going on, we always have good turnout for that," said Binz.