New Home for Fourth of July Celebration

Post Date:06/06/2019 10:26 AM

Severe Weather Update (3 p.m. 7/3/19): We understand that there is a chance of thunderstorms in the evening forecast for July 4.  The fireworks show in Southern Community Park and the Community Celebration on the Village Green is still on as scheduled. In the event of severe weather, we will adjust plans accordingly, with public safety and security as our top priority.  Follow the Town of Chapel Hill on social media at @chapelhillgov for updates.

In celebration of our nation’s birthday, the Town of Chapel Hill will light up the skies with a community fireworks display in Southern Community Park on Thursday, July 4, 2019. In advance of the fireworks, Southern Village will host a community celebration on the Village Green. This year signals a new era for this Chapel Hill tradition as it moves from UNC-Chapel Hill’s Kenan Stadium to a new home in the community.

This year’s event offers two different experiences for local residents looking to enjoy the fireworks display. Southern Community Park’s sports fields will be open starting at 7 p.m. for those who simply want to bring a blanket or chair and relax with family and friends in the park before the show. For those who are looking to feed the family and catch some live entertainment before the fireworks begin, then the Southern Village Green is the place to be. From 6 to 9 p.m., Market Street merchants will have food and drink for sale and live music on stage from Idlewild South. The fireworks are expected to begin around 9:15 p.m. and this year’s show will be visible from the park, the Village Green, and many other locations around town. Town staff have created a 3D model of the fireworks and it shows that the fireworks will be visible from many locations in the community.

Chapel Hill Fire Chief Matt Sullivan expressed his deep appreciation to UNC-Chapel Hill for the years of partnership and notes that this new event will not recreate the experience at Kenan, but will start a new community tradition of a more intimate, hometown celebration. “The fireworks experience at Kenan was a unique one, and we are creating something just as special at Southern Community Park. We are so appreciative of our longstanding partners at UNC-Chapel Hill and our new partners at Southern Village for helping us create a great experience for our town.” 

There were several factors that went into the decision to change locales, including the new synthetic grass at Kenan Stadium, about which Sullivan notes, “Fireworks and synthetic grass don’t pair well together and we don’t have the technical resources and capabilities to protect the new field and guarantee that it won’t be damaged.” Carolina Athletics will continue to have a presence at the celebration with a Carolina Athletics Zone that will include some activities for all ages.

Planning and executing a new community celebration like this involves almost every Town department, from Police and Fire to Public Works and Parks and Recreation. Town Manager Maurice Jones notes that interdepartmental collaboration is one of Town’s greatest strengths and is on display at events like this, noting “These are complex, all-hands-on-deck operations and we have an outstanding Town team and great partners at Southern Village, all working to give our community a safe and fun family experience for the Fourth.”

Event organizers with both the Town and Southern Village recognize that this is a brand new community event and local residents will have many questions about everything from where to park to what to eat.  Everyone is encouraged to visit the event website at for information and to plan their evening.  Included on the site are some of the 3D models, so residents see where the fireworks will be seen around the community. The site is being constantly updated, so frequent visits are encouraged in the days and weeks leading up to the event. The Town and Southern Village will also post updates on social media platforms, including @chapelhillgov, @chcommunityarts, and @southernvillage


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