Boom or bust: Less explosive fireworks season expected

Rush Hour

People are silhouetted against fireworks as they watch a Fourth of July celebration from a park in Kansas City, Mo., Saturday, July 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

(NewsNation) — Extreme weather, supply chain shortages and rising costs are all putting a damper on fireworks season.  

In California, a number of cities have cancelled their fourth of July shows, and backyard displays are being discouraged. The drought and extreme fire risk in these communities have made the displays too dangerous.

Across the county, annual Independence Day celebrations are being cancelled for other reasons. Two Arizona cities, Phoenix and Pleasant Harbor, won’t have fireworks shows this year because of supply shortages.

Rising prices have left some cities scrambling to cover costs. The mayor of Port Clinton, Ohio, Mike Snider, shaved his head this week to fundraise for their annual fireworks.

“We have a great community, very patriotic,” Snider said. “You know, John Adams said in a letter he wrote to his wife Abigail after he signed the Declaration of Independence, said that this day, Independence Day, would be celebrated from one side of the nation to the other, and we’ve taken that to heart.”

In other towns, there simply isn’t enough licensed pyrotechnic staff to pull off the shows, which is yet another symptom of the nationwide labor shortage.

Fewer professional shows have sparked higher demand for backyard fireworks. But that’s impacted by supply chain issues, too, according to Jim Meyers of Captain Jim’s Fireworks.

“We don’t have as many of the long sparklers that we normally do, but your standard colored sparklers, gold sparklers, morning glories are here, but there’s not going to be as much selection of sparklers this year, either,” Meyers said.

Backyard displays will also be expensive this year. In fireworks stores everywhere, consumer costs have shot up 30%.

“It’s going to be a tough year, COVID has affected the shipping channels and costs have gone up, just like everything,” said Fernando Viramontes, area manager, TNT Fireworks. “It’s going to be hard for families to purchase maybe the same amount of fireworks that they had before.”

Still, that won’t stop all the fun. shopper Kenny Floyd said, “It’s definitely a pinch, the economy but I mean, it’s the Fourth of July, you got to splurge.”

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