What it is: My boys are 3 and 5 and we had never taken them to a big fireworks show. I wasn't sure how they would do with the noise. My youngest is especially nervous about loud noises. However, this year my oldest son really wanted to check out the big fireworks, so we decided to give it a try.
Before we left we made sure the boys had tried out their earplugs and safely stowed them in my purse for showtime. The fireworks at Kenan Stadium begin about 9:30pm which is definitely past my boys' bedtime. However, it was just one night, so we decided we were ready for the adventure. The website told us to arrive when the gates opened at 7:00 in order to get good seats. I was concerned and wanted to make sure we got a good spot, so we arrived by 7:30. Parking was easy and seats were plentiful, but we didn't know what we would do for the 2 before the fireworks.
They had a band playing on the stage in front of the seats, but that was too far away to hold the boys' attention. We did wait in line for the face painting, but that was $3, $5, or $6 depending on the size of the face painting. They had watermelon eating contest and a few other activities, but we mainly sat and waited for the fireworks to start. The kids were fidgety, but they had fun watching the crowds, eating snacks, and just taking in all the sites.
At 9pm, there were still seats available, so we could have waited to get there, but parking might have been tricky. Finally, the lights dimmed and the fireworks started. The earplugs were in and I helped my littlest by putting my hands over his ears as well. It was loud, but they were entranced. Both boys had a ball even though my littlest usually doesn't like loud noises. I did see some little kids get upset and have to leave with their parents, but I definitely think the earplugs helped, and it was definitely worth it for us.
What we liked: It was a great fourth of July experience. The fireworks show was awesome, and the price was right at a $5 optional donation per family.
What we would change: The wait between when we arrived and the fireworks show was long, so if you do decide to arrive early, make sure to bring some things to occupy your kiddos. Don't rely on the snack line because it was REALLY long at times. You can make a choice to arrive early, wait, and then have easy parking and seating to get out early at the end, or arrive later but chance tricky parking and not as great of a seat. Regardless, it was worth it for us to see the kiddos faces during the fireworks.
Website and other important information:
Address: Kenan Stadium, UNC
Date and Time: July 4th, doors open at 7pm, fireworks start at 9:30pm (in 2013)
(watching the pre-fireworks entertainment)