Small towns go without ‘oohs’ & aahs’

Marketplace Staff Jul 4, 2008
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Small towns go without ‘oohs’ & aahs’

Marketplace Staff Jul 4, 2008
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Bob Moon: Here’s hoping you have a sparkling Fourth of July weekend, although we’re painfully aware that in some places the only red glare will be coming from the frustrated faces of citizens who’ve been told the money just isn’t there this year for the usual community fireworks displays.

This year, everybody’s getting less bang for the buck. We’ve got a look at how that might be affecting the holiday weekend across the country from a new member of the Marketplace team, Mitchell Hartman.


Mitchell Hartman: The folks who put on the Boston Pops fireworks show haven’t taken any bang out of their Fourth of July extravaganza. Macy’s in New York and Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco will be just as spectacular as ever. Some smaller towns, though, are cutting back or canceling due to higher costs. So far, local distributors have been able to get all the backyard explosives they need.

Steve Graves is head of the Indiana Fireworks Users and Distributors Association.

Steve Graves: I think the one thing that retailers have noticed is the increase in price, which it’s our understanding will increase again next year.

Graves says wholesale prices are up in Indiana 15 to 20 percent and supplies are getting tighter. China, which makes nearly all U.S. fireworks, has cut shipments for safety reasons.

Julie Heckman is executive director of the American Pyrotechnics Association. She says the Port of Shanghai isn’t exporting any explosives until at least mid-October, part of security measures for the Beijing Olympics.

Julie Heckman: We are nervous about moving forward for our fall holidays like Labor Day as well as the fireworks season between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Heckman worries that some exhibitors may have trouble getting all the fireworks they need. But she says the splashiest shows will still sparkle.

Heckman: We’re getting away from just the traditional red, white blue, green and gold and we’re seeing a lot more softer colors beautiful pastels, pinks and lemony yellows and chartreuse.

Other trends include 3-D special effects like double Saturn rings and fishtails that streak across the sky.

I’m Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

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