Safety & Traffic Patterns

Safety Message from Chief of Police Todd Coring

The NC 4th of July Festival is an exciting time for the City, residents and many visitors who attend each year.   Southport welcomes thousands from across the country to celebrate our Nations Independence.  Our city grows from our average population of 3800 to the most recorded 60,000 for a week of family fun, entertainment and fireworks.

With the increase of visitors and festivities comes planning and preparation to assure the safest event possible.  Southport Police Department begins planning in early February meeting with various agencies both local and state to assure we have resources and manpower ready to address any need.  Monthly meetings are held at the Southport Emergency Operations Center to finalize schedules, emergency operations planning, and equipment needs.  Agencies include but not limited to Southport Police, Fire and Public Works, Brunswick Emergency Management and EMS, Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office and 911 Communications Center, neighboring Police Departments, North Carolina Emergency Management and Highway Patrol.   The Southport Oak Island Chamber of Commerce and City of Southport officials also play a vital role in planning holding a series of monthly meetings to prepare and assure readiness.

With that being said I’d like to personally welcome you to Southport for this year’s festival and hope you have an enjoyable time with us.  Southport has been the host city for the State’s Festival for many years. Being born and raised in Southport enjoying the festival each year I’ve seen the many parades, craft shows, vendors and fireworks.  I’d like to take this time to offer some advice and safety tips to help make your stay with us pleasant and enjoyable. 

  • Patience.  You want to make sure you bring patience with you to the festival.  Plan for traffic to be congested.  You want to make sure you allow time to get to and from your event knowing traffic will be an issue.  Allow approx. 30-45 minutes to and from.   If you plan to watch the parade and leave afterwards know that traffic will be congested for approx. and hour, check the maps in your festival guide for routes out of the city.  The same goes for after the Fireworks.  Traffic will be congested and slow moving when leaving.  Officers will be at traffic control points to assist as you leave.  N Howe Street will be converted to 2 lanes headed out of town to expedite the process.   Again, study the provided maps in your festival guide beforehand to assure your safest route home.
  • Parking.  Parking is LIMITED in Southport daily so adding 30-60,000 visitors will make it extremely difficult to park.  City right-of-way parking is allowed but please DO NOT BLOCK DRIVEWAYS.  Please park clear of intersections, allowing for safe “line of sight” at those intersections.  There will be marked areas for handicap parking, see the festival guide for those locations.  There is NO PARKING IN FESTIVAL AREAS.  Towing will be enforced.   The morning of the Parade Howe Street will be restricted and NO PAKRING ALLOWED along the parade route.  Vehicles WILL BE TOWED to assure a safe parade route.    
  • Golf Carts, Bicycles, Skateboarders.   Golf Carts and Bicycles MUST OBEY all laws, ordinances and rules as it applies.  SEAT BELTS MUST BE WORN on GOLF CARTS.  Bikes, Golf Carts and Skateboarding IS NOT ALLOWED IN FESTIVAL AREAS.  You MUST PARK and SECURE before entering any festival area.   Towing and or impoundment will be enforced.
  • Alcohol.  Obey all ABC laws and refrain from the public display of alcoholic beverages.  Alcohol will not be sold as part of the NC 4th of July Festival.  This is a family friendly event.
  • Yacht Basin & Bay Street.  The Yacht Basin Bay and Brunswick Street area is home to lots of visitors as this is a hub of restaurants and pedestrian traffic around our historic Old Yacht Basin.  EXERCISE CAUTION and drive cautiously in this area.  Those working at businesses will need to access via W Moore Street to Lord to Bay Street.  Bay Street will not be accessible from Howe as this is a designated “Festival Area” and CLOSED to vehicular traffic.
  • Distracted Driving & Speed.  Please keep your eyes on the road and not on your cell phones and other devices.  Speed and Distracted Driving is a recipe for disaster especially during an event such as this.  There will be an increase amount of traffic and congestion on roadways.  Knowing this we need you ALERT and PAYING ATTENTION to the roads and your surroundings.   The festival guide will have maps of the festival areas, traffic control points.  We will also have sign boards and traffic officers stationed along routes to assist with traffic.      

Police Station and Command Post

The Southport Police Department has moved to a new location since January.  Our new Office is located at 1029 N Howe Street upstairs.  We will also have a command post established in the old bank building located at the corner of Howe and Moore Street.  This will allow you better access to officers should you need us.  We will have staff at both locations during the festival however our command post will be the best place to reach us.  We will also have Officers and Deputies on foot and bike patrols throughout the festival areas.  Southport Police will be assisted by deputies and officers from across Brunswick County working under our current mutual aid agreements.   Officers will be in uniform, so we are noticeable and highly visible to festival goers.  Should you have an emergency please call 911 for assistance.  Routine matters such as lost items, directions or routine matters please stop by our command post or flag down officers.  Our non-emergency officer number is 910-457-7911.  We pride ourselves on customer service and stand ready to assist whatever the need. 


Again, welcome to Southport.  My hope is that your stay here and 4th of July experience will be relaxing and memorable.                            


Chief Todd Coring

Southport Police Department

Southport, NC Traffic Patterns After Fireworks Traffic Pattern
Fireworks Traffic Egress Map
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Street Closures for Parade Route
No parking areas during Parade Route
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General Festival Location Information
General Festival Area Maps Including Restroom & Public Safety Locations
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First Aid and Police Locations

There are a limited number of roadways into and out of the City of Southport, so bring your patience.  Be prepared to spend some time in traffic when entering and exiting the City, especially before and after the parade and fireworks.  Pay strict attention to safety officers. Officers will be stationed at key locations to guide you quickly and safely to your destination.  There will also electronic information signs located on main thoroughfares during the festival to provide information to motorists. 


For a more enjoyable festival experience:

  • Do not block driveways when parking your vehicles.
  • Do not leave valuables in unlocked vehicles.
  • Visitors traveling by bicycle are encourage to secure them when not in use.
  • Refrain from bringing pets to the festival.  Temperatures and humidity are very high and could be hazardous to your pets health.  If you decide to bring your pet to the festival; all pets must be kept on a short lead for the safety of others and your pet. DO NOT leave your dog in a vehicle. 
  • A command post will be in operation at the intersection of Howe and Moore Streets to provide information and assistance to visitors.
  • Southport Rescue Squad will provide any emergency medical service.
  • The Police Command Post is located next near the Waterfront Food Vendors at the intersection of South Howe and West Moore Street. Insure that all in your traveling party are familiar with the location of the Police Command Post in case you become separated.
  • Pedestrian Only Policy - The Festival area is a pedestrian only area. The Waterfront Festival area is defined as South Howe Street to Bay Street and on Bay Street from South Atlantic Avenue to Lord Street. The Franklin Sqare Park Festival area is defined as in the Franklin Square Park. No unauthorized vehicles, bicycles, ATV's, golf carts, skaeboards, rollerblades...
  • Remember to obey the ABC laws and refrain from the public display of alcoholic beverages.
  • Officers of the Southport Police, Brunswick County Sheriff's Office and the NC State Highway Patrol will be available if you need assistance.
  • The Southport City Pier will be closed on July 4th from 5pm until after the fireworks.
  • Restricted Parking along parade route on July 4th - Do not park along the parade route between the hours of 6:00am - 12:30pm.  Should vehicles be parked along the parade route, we will have no other alternative but to have the vehicle towed.  The Parade route is as follows
    • Assemble at Atlantic Avenue & Moore Streets
    • Parade travels west on Moore Street to Howe Street
    • Turns north onto Howe Street then to Fodale Avenue turning right onto Fodale Avenue and disassembles at the Jaycee Building.

POLICE COMMAND POST: will be in operation at the intersection of Howe & Moore Streets to provide information and assistance to visitors. Insure that all in your traveling party are familiar with the location of the Police Command Post in case you become separated.  Officers of the Southport Police, Brunswick County Sheriff's Office and the NC State Highway Patrol will be available if you need assistance.


FIRST AID STATIONS: Southport Rescue Squad will have a First Aid Station at the  111 E. Nash Street from 12noon - 8pm July 2, 3, & 4th.   The Rescue Squad Station will also be manned for a Food Drive on these days from 8am-8pm.  If you are in need of rescue services please dial 911 or stop by the Station Headquarters or the First Aid Station.


Drone Policy

It is the policy of the NC 4th of July Festival to prohibit drone usage over designated festival areas.  Refer to festival schedule for those areas.

Portable Restroom Locations

July 2nd - 4th:

  • Franklin Square Art Gallery Parking Lot (E. West Street on the back side of  Franklin Square Park).
  • Keziah Park (E. Moore Street next to Southport Library). 
  • Fort Johnston-Southport Visitor Center and Museum - (outside the Visitor Center 203 E. Bay Street).
  • Southport Community Building Driveway (203 E. Bay Street, next to fence by Tennis Courts)

July 4th Only - In addition to the above locations there will be a portable toilet:

  • West Side of Howe Street at 511 N. Howe Street (near Southport Auto Glass & Audio)
  • 817 N. Howe Street(Parking Lot at Swayne's Crafts & Things)
  • Corner of 10th Street and N. Howe Street.
  • East Side of Howe Street at corner of Leonard Street & N. Howe Street (Tim's Towers)
  • 8th Street and N. Howe Streets (Randy's Detailing)
  • 924 N. Howe Street/Fodale Avenue (near Dosher Memorial Hospital)

July 1st Only - Beach Day:

  • Portable Toilets will be located in the Middleton Park Extension off SE 46th Street, Oak Island

Year-Round Public Restroom Locations

Year-Round - Southport:

  • E. Nash Street- Behind the Southport Baptist Church
  • Fort Johnston-Southport Visitor Center and Museum - (behind the Visitor Center 203 E. Bay Street).

Year-Round - Oak Island:

  • Middleton Park - SE 48th Street, Oak Island.
  • Oak Island Beach Cabana - Beach Drive & SE 46th Street, Oak Island.
  • Malcom Register Park - NE 52nd Street & Yacht Drive, Oak Island.
  • Oak Island Recreation Center - 3003 E. Oak Island Drive, Oak Island.
  • Bill Smith Park - Fish Factory Road, Oak Island.
  • Ocean Education Center - 4901 E. Beach Drive, Oak Island.
  • Kevin Bell Skate Park - 4901 E. Beach Drive, Oak Island.
  • Waterway Park - NE 14th & Yacht Drive, Oak Island (Portable)
  • The Point - West Beach Drive, Oak Island (Portable)

Child Safety Warning


Child Safety - These are facts from Safe Kids of NC.  Every year, 35 to 40 children across the country die from heat exposure in vehicles. Sadly, these deaths can be prevented.  The temperature inside a vehicle can rise to almost 200 degrees in just 10 minutes. In fact, it gets so hot that s’mores can be cooked in the backseat. A child’s body heats up 3 to 5 times faster than adults.  Even a few minutes of heat exposure can be dangerous for a child. July is historically the deadliest month for child fatalities in hot cars.  NEVER leave a child  unattended in a car, for any length of time or at any time of the year.  This same warning applys to pets.  NEVER lead a pet unattended in a car, for any length of time or at any time of the year.

Festival Pet Policy

PET POLICY: For the safety and comfort of our visitors and pets, leave your pets at home.  The N.C. 4th of July Festival Pet Policy discourages pets on the Festival grounds, excluding service dogs and law enforcement dogs .


This policy is in place out of respect and safety for the animals.   Pets become a liability and logistical challenge when they are brought to the Festival.  The Festival hosts more than 50,000 visitors. The size of these crowds and noise associated with festival events can prove a threat to the safety of your pets.


Most importantly the heat is a real concern for the health of pets. Pavement, metal and tar-coated asphalt get extremely hot and can burn their feet.  Make prior arrangements to ensure proper care is given to your pets while attending the Festival. Do not leave pets unattended in parked cars, regardless as to whether a window may be open.  



  • Register your dog or cat annually.
  • Maintain current rabies vaccinations.
  • Dogs & Cats must wear a collar with vaccination tag and city license attached.
  • Dogs must be under restraint at all times.  Either by keeping the dog exclusively on the owner's premises or off premises under control by chain or leash or within a vehicle being driven or parked on the street.
  • Must promptly remove and dispose of all feces left by dog or cat on public property and any private property not owned by the pet owner.
  • It is unlawful for any person to willfully or maliciously inflict unnecessary or needless cruelty, torture, abuse or cruelly beat, strike or abuse any animal or by any act, omission or neglect cause or inflict any unnecessary or unjustifiable pain, suffering, injury or death to any animal.
  • It is unlawful for any person in charge of any animal to fail, refuse, or neglect to provide such animal with food, portable water, shade or shelter, or to carry any such animal in or upon any vehicle in a cruel or inhumane manner.
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