Make your holiday explode
Early American pioneers shot off guns into the sky to commemorate the Fourth of July, while today we celebrate with fireworks.
Whether you’re sitting at a park watching a professional display, creating your own show with purchased fireworks or just twirling a sparkler, fireworks are a staple of Independence Day.
The American News talked with Mike Beadle, owner of Beadle Fireworks north of Aberdeen on U.S. Highway 281, to see what is new in the world of pyrotechnics. Aberdeen Fire Marshal Mike Thompson also comments on what is legal within the city limits of Aberdeen.
Here are seven things to know about fireworks:
What is legal?
Most fireworks must be shot off at least 1 mile outside the city limits. The only fireworks that are legal in town are novelty items that contain less than 25 grams of powder of materials, Thompson said.
Novelty items include sparklers, champagne poppers, smoke balls and snakes. There are some items that may qualify as novelty items, such as small tanks which shoot sparks, small fountains or cardboard chickens that lay “eggs.” If the device shoots sparks and does not have an explosion, it is acceptable as long as it has less than 25 grams of materials, Thompson said.
Items that are illegal within Aberdeen city limits include fire crackers, bottle rockets, Roman candles and all consumer fireworks (25 grams to 500 grams).
One source of uncertainty is that small fireworks are not labeled with the number of grams they contain, Beadle said. Only the larger 200 grams and 500 grams ones are labeled.
Bigger is the trend
Since 500 gram fireworks became legal several years ago, consumers have been buying them like hot cakes, Beadle said. The price on the “500-gram cakes” range from about $35 to $110, depending on how many launching tubes are involved and the shot pattern.
The cake has one fuse, but multiple shots are fired into the sky in different patterns.
“It is not quite like a Wylie Park show, but they are impressive,” Beadle said. “The bursts are like a commercial show, just not quite as big.”
At Beadle’s business, about 75 percent of revenue comes from the sales of the 500-gram, 200-gram and large packaged fireworks. While consumers still buy smaller items, such as fire crackers, the trend is toward bigger fireworks, he said.
Within the category of bigger fireworks, Beadle said these are some of the most popular items:
500-gram — Battle Cry, $90; Off the Charts, $110. 200-gram — Crazy Exciting, $17; Pyro Splash, $13. Artillery shells — Excalibur, $60 for 24 shells; Goliath, $90 for 36 shells.
While most of the sales by dollar amounts are bigger fireworks, most families still shop for the smaller ones. Beadle said that there are many types and colors of sparklers and even snakes have been improved. Now the pellets that grow into a snake-like ash tube after they are lit come in a Medusa variety, which sprouts several snakes at once.
In the last few years, several new items have been added, including fluorescent sparklers and cracker barrels, which sound like 200 firecrackers going off one after another. Sky lanterns, which float into the sky like a mini hot air balloon, are a newer, popular item, Beadle said.
Beadle sells an enormous pack of pyrotechnic called the “Biggen,” which contains 21 of the 200-gram and 500-gram cakes and 66 shells. The cost of the 5-foot by 5-foot box is $650. Bring at least three people to lift it into a truck.
Make your own show
To design a private fireworks show, mix a variety of small and bigger fireworks, said Beadle. Alternate between high flying bursts of color and artillery shot explosions. It often works best to save the biggest blast for last, he said.
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