BB&T Ballpark means new home for July 4th tradition - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

BB&T Ballpark means new home for July 4th tradition

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

The new addition to Uptown will be Charlotte's home for the Fourth of July tradition.

For the last seven years, the Independence Day celebration started with festivities at Memorial Stadium, then fireworks at Central Piedmont Community College.

This year - a new tradition is starting - with the new BB&T Ballpark.

"Our purpose is to tie it in with baseball" said Dan Rajkowski of the Charlotte Knights. "And there's nothing more American than the military we're going to salute on July 4th. Players will be in uniforms. Great fireworks after."

The Knights franchise used to have their Independence Day celebration at the ballpark in Fort Mill. The team partnered with WBT Radio for SkyShow.

Now, that the Knights have moved to Charlotte - this is their first season - they're bringing the Fourth of July festivities with them.

"I believe it's going to be the greatest show in the Southeast" Rajkowski said. "The festivities begin at 3pm so it's going to be an all day type event that we're tying in a street closure. There's going to be ferris wheels and face painters  - really just a wonderful event for the community to enjoy."

While this year's July 4th festivities is a first for the Knights in Charlotte - the show is a return home for WBT Radio.

2005 was the last year WBT Radio held SkyShow in uptown Charlotte. The radio station shot the fireworks from a parking garage at 4th and Church, and had a street festival on Mint between MLK and 4th. 

In 2006, station executives told WBTV the fireworks show became too expensive to put on in Uptown. That's when SkyShow went to the Knights in South Carolina.

Now, it's back in Center City.

"It's back in downtown" said Brad Witers. "It's the feel. It's the energy of center city and baseball and everything about America and July 4th. We've got all the fireworks specifically choreographed to music. So that will be broadcast on WBT and 107.9 The Link."

Rajkowski said "it's going to be located outside on the berm then we're going to close 4th Street and Mint Street so that there's no fall out, so we protect our patrons. Traditionally, it's {fireworks} put on the field. We're going to go ahead and move it because of the size and magnitude of the show."

The Knights game is scheduled to start at 7pm, and it's already sold out.

Thousands are expected Uptown.

"Obviously the best view of the fireworks will be inside the stadium" Witers said. "Bearden Park will probably be the second best then anywhere around the stadium in the general area."

Rajkowski said "there's going to be some food trucks out there, and vendors near Romare Bearden Park. You'll be able to see the show all the way up to Trade and Tryon."

Organizers say the fireworks will start when the game ends - approximately 10pm.

Rajkowski said "it will be the magnitude of what we've done in Fort Mill in the past but what we won't have is as large shells because we had a lot of open space out there. We don't have that. But there will be a lot more activity, a lot more color and a lot more excitement."

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