June 30, 2014
You've probably noticed they've popped up in parking lots around town in the past few days. Fireworks stands are open for a short window, but they mean big business here.
Joe Frazier works at the Charlottesville Fashion Square Mall firework stand.
He says they will be steady from now until the 4th with families looking for some fun on Friday.
They want bright lights, smoke, and they want cool colors.
Backyard fireworks are where the money is for the holiday. Sales have climbed steadily every year since 2000.
Frazier says his customers are the same people that head out to see the fireworks display at McIntire Park.
"Dads with the kids. Moms. Majority of ‘em are moms with their kids. Most of ‘em will still watch the fireworks, and they do this, for like, afterward, the day of, or a cookout or something like that and then goes over to the big fireworks."
Virginia has tough fireworks regulations. Sparklers and fountains are allowed but firecrackers or anything that goes up into the air is forbidden. With those limits, fireworks manufacturers get creative within those guidelines.
A law that would have allowed Virginia residents to sell and use fireworks that fly and explode, like the ones that you can get in Tennessee and South Carolina, died in a house of delegates subcommittee earlier this year.
Still, Frazier says he hears of people that will make the long trip down to south just to get the kind of fireworks that are illegal in Virginia.
"You’d be surprised how many people say they do. What most people come and they ask for are those kind of fireworks. And we can’t sell them then. Lot of people really want them but ain’t nothing we can do."..
It’s a small window for sales. Frazier says they get busier every day leading up to the 4th . The day after, they shut it down until you catch them again next year.
It might have its limits as a seasonal business, but the people that are running them know that...they are the same ones that sell you your Halloween pumpkins and Christmas trees.