WAKE FOREST, N.C. (WTVD) -- Fireworks lit up the night sky in Wake Forest on Friday but the town decided not to host its usual 15,000 spectators at the Heritage High School's football stadium because of the pandemic.
Instead, they used larger fireworks so the display would be visible to more people throughout the area.
"A lot of folks with small kids-- grade school kids-- this is a great event for them," said Michael Ruffin, who set up a tent in his neighborhood to watch the fireworks instead of biking across the street to Heritage High School.
He said he's looking at this Fourth of July through a different lens.
"I think a lot of people struggle especially me and other African-Americans," Ruffin said. "We're wrestling with tomorrow and whether or not to participate in any kind of celebrations."
Michael's father served in the Air Force for 21 years so he hung his flag outside his home.
He said it's crucial to "get out and explain what Independence Day is, explain what Juneteenth is and help put things into perspective and realize you're part of a greater community."
As for other events on Friday, Garner went completely virtual with its Fourth of July celebration, recording a 45-minute video and posting it to the town's YouTube page as well as Facebook.
Others opted for a Friday night dinner and drive-in movie at Focus Church; the event -- which cost $20 a car -- benefited Emancipate NC.