The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

July 3, 2013

Vendors, city profit from fireworks

— Despite a 70-percent chance of showers and storms on Independence Day, local fireworks vendors reported brisk sales this week.

According to statistics released in July 2012, the American Pyrotechnics Association National Council on Firework Safety reported that Americans spend roughly $940 million on fireworks.

“A lot of people didn’t do fireworks last year, and this year people are really wanting to shoot some,” said Mark Carter, owner of Fireworks Outlet in Tanner and Athens.

Enthusiasm over bottle rockets and Roman candles runs contrary to a News Courier poll, however.

In a question posed Friday to readers at enewscourier.com, 85 percent, or 169 people, responded that they would not be purchasing fireworks. Fifteen percent, or 30 people, said they would buy fireworks.

Both Fireworks Outlet and TNT Fireworks reported an increase in customers this year compared to years past, while a representative with Tennessee-Alabama Fireworks didn’t see much of an increase.

All three of the vendors said that the individual increase of specific fireworks has been with the 500-gram boxes and artillery shells.

Those who don’t want to shell out their own hard-earned cash for an at-home display can watch the annual fireworks show in Athens Thursday night. (Citizens are prohibited from shooting fireworks in the city limits.) 

The show, sponsored by the city, Limestone County Commission and Athens-Limestone County Tourism, begins at nightfall at Golden Eagle stadium off U.S. 31.

Fireworks shows can provide an economic boon for cities that host them, according to the American Pyrotechnics Association. In an article published in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal, APA executive director Julie L. Heckman said hotels, boat rental outlets, retail stores and restaurants all see positive economic benefits from large fireworks shows.

Athens officials also expect to see similar positive effects from the local show.

“We will have people lining the streets,” said Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks. “We’ll have up to as many as 10,000 people (who come out to watch.) They’ll wind up tailgating and buying drinks.”

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