• Fourth of July SkyShow lights up Charlotte skyline

    By: Gina Esposito , Joe Bruno

    Updated:

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Thousands of people packed Romare Bearden Park Tuesday night for the largest firework show in Charlotte.

    After a short rain shower, people placed their lawn chairs in the park and laid out blankets for prime firework viewing.

    Some people got to Romare Bearden Park early in the afternoon to claim a spot, including Galina Boyko and her family, who are from Ukraine.

    "I am going to enjoy a nice quality Fourth of July in American times," Boyko said.

    BB&T Ballpark offered a screening of USA Baseball's game against Cuba. The game sold out and Team USA won 5-0.

    The fireworks show was delayed because the baseball game was pushed back because of rain. The show started around 10:30 p.m.

    Up to 100,000 people were expected to watch fireworks light up the Charlotte skyline.

    Last year, SkyShow was declared an extraordinary event by the city manager. Last week, Charlotte City Council repealed its extraordinary event ordinance.

    Despite the repeal, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said it would have no impact on how his department polices large events.

    CMPD met with organizers ahead of time to create a specific safety plan.

    Dozens of officers were spread throughout Romare Bearden Park, barriers were placed along streets for traffic and city garbage trucks for strategically placed around the park to protect people.

    "My son was like, 'There are a lot of cops here' and I said, 'Well we are in a major city now,'" Regina Hoffman, who recently moved to Charlotte from New Jersey, said. "It's a big event, Fourth of July, but you know what, you can't be afraid."

    Many people attending SkyShow said they were grateful for the extra security.

    "A lot of things going on in the world, feels good to have your family out here and to feel safe," Chris Foster said.

    In addition to fireworks, Skyshow featured food trucks, a 90s cover band, dancing, games and pop-up boutique stores.

    (RAW: Crews setting up for big SkyShow at BB&T Ballpark in uptown)

    Pyro Shows programmer Russ Ellis has been perfecting the Skyshow for the past three years. He said the grand finale ended with 1,500 big booms. 

    Ellis makes sure the fireworks aren't too close to high-rises and to families. He said the fireworks are covered in plastic to protect them from rain and fire.

    He said Pyro Shows closely monitors the weather and if there was lightning or strong winds, he could end the show at the push of a button.

    "If we need to, we can pause the show, to see if anything needs to be taken care of," Ellis said. 

    Channel 9 spoke with some people who said they were looking forward to the show.

    “We are very excited because we came all this way to see fireworks in Charlotte,” Debbie Wardel said.

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