Buying fireworks for Fourth of July? Better bring more Benjamins


Celebrating the red, white and blue will take a lot more green this Fourth of July.

The same inflated costs of that have consumers paying more for, well, pretty much everything these days, could make honoring our nation’s 246th birthday with fireworks a little less Yankee doodle dandy.

“There will be increases due to the escalating cost of freight, fuel, raw materials, and other items that will impact pricing compared to 2021,” said Carson Anderson, president of California market leader TNT Fireworks.

Supplies should be improved from last season, but consumers are urged to shop early for the best selection. (Photo by David Dickstein) 

Pyrotechnic-passionate patriots of California are about to learn first-hand that prices of fountains, novelties and smoke items and spinners have gone up, and not just in smoke. While the jump won’t be as dramatic as last season when some items more than doubled in price from the previous year, many returning fireworks, assortments included, will see increases of 15-25%.

RELATED: Drones challenge fireworks for Fourth of July in the fire-prone West

The silver lining of this sulfur-infused cloud is that while consumers had to deal with the double whammy of higher prices and lower inventory in 2021, just the former may be an issue this Independence Day.

“Overall, the industry is in a better inventory situation than 2021, but as always, certain items will sell quickly (and) we encourage customers to purchase early,” Anderson said.

State-approved fireworks can only be sold by nonprofit groups where and when legal in California. (Photo by David Dickstein)
State-approved fireworks can only be sold by nonprofit groups where and when legal in California. (Photo by David Dickstein) 

Phantom Fireworks, the state’s second-largest fireworks retailer, also is ready for a bang-up Fourth of July.

“Phantom will have adequate supply of consumer fireworks in all categories and price points for the 2022 season,” said Linda Hass, Phantom Fireworks’ California-based operations manager. “That said, we suggest that consumers shop early for the best selection of fireworks.”

The companies’ shared advice not to procrastinate on pyrotechnic purchases isn’t without merit. A Monday Fourth of July means that the biggest selling days are over a three-day weekend, and with governments less vocal about discouraging socialization due to COVID-19 fears, we should see a return of block parties and family gatherings. Adding in the likelihood that people will stay home for the long holiday due to sky-high gas prices, the industry is predicting a boon for boom.

“We expect 2022 to exceed the previous year’s demand as the nation is ready to fully celebrate the end of this two-year-long pandemic, and there’s no better way to celebrate our freedom on Independence Day than with the lighting of state-approved fireworks,” said Julie Heckman, executive director of the American Pyrotechnics Association.

Thousands of California nonprofits will again be raising funds through fireworks sales for the Fourth of July. (Photo by David Dickstein)
Thousands of California nonprofits will again be raising funds through fireworks sales for the Fourth of July. (Photo by David Dickstein) 

Of course, that’s assuming those legal fireworks are also legally shot off. Sale and use of “safe and sane” fireworks are permitted in 296 California communities;  churches, schools, service clubs, youth sports teams and other types of non-profit organizations will sell fireworks out of temporary stands in these “open” communities.

RELATED: 20+ Bay Area Fourth of July fireworks displays

Anyone selling or lighting state-approved fireworks in a “closed” community is breaking the law and subject to severe fines and arrest. Penalties go way up if we’re talking about the variety that explodes, leaves the ground or moves about the ground uncontrollably, and that holds true in open communities as well. Although federally approved, fireworks with those characteristics are illegal in California and their possession can lead to a fine of up to $50,000 as well as prison time for up to one year.

At least 60 percent of illegal fireworks used in California are linked to 13 stores in Nevada, with the town of Pahrump being the chief supplier to Southern California, according to fireworks industry spokesman Dennis Revell. A push is underway for the state Attorney General’s office to enforce the California Health and Safety Code, something Revell said hasn’t happened since Section 12704, which holds these retailers accountable if they facilitate shipments across the western state line, was added to the policy in 2008.

Spectators watch the annual fireworks show at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on July 4. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)
Spectators watch the annual fireworks show at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on July 4. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG) 

One way to get a fireworks fix the easy way is to attend a public display. Some of the largest are scheduled on the Monday holiday in cities where consumer fireworks are banned. A sampling: Los Angeles (Hollywood Bowl, Grand Park), Long Beach (Rainbow Harbor), Riverside (Ryan Bonaminio Park), Ontario (Westwind Park) and Pasadena (Rose Bowl).

Also planning to light up the skies are the open communities of Pico Riviera (Pico Rivera Sports Arena), Rosemead (Rosemead Park) and, on July 3, Costa Mesa (Orange County Fairgrounds).

Buyer’s Guide

Directing our attention to readers who want to light their own fireworks where and when legal ….

Considering that 2022 will see record-high prices for state-approved fireworks, getting the most bang for your buck has never been more crucial for the budget-conscious wanting to celebrate Independence Day with their own snap, crackle and pop.

Atomic Salsa, available at TNT fireworks stands, makes for a good finale. (Photo by David Dickstein)
Atomic Salsa, available at TNT fireworks stands, makes for a good finale. (Photo by David Dickstein) 

Vital, too, are the funds raised by nonprofits through the efforts of volunteers working inside those toasty, unair-conditioned stands for the days leading up to and including the Fourth of July.

What will they be selling? That question raises six more: What’s new? What’s loud? What’s colorful? How long is it? What’s unique? What’s worth the money?



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