With fourth of July just days away, sales aren't exactly booming. Jamie Burton is a Liberty Fireworks stand operator on Smelter Ave. near Walmart. She says, "sales have been slower than normal, but I think things will pick up over the next couple of days". Burton adds, "the second, third, and fourth are usually the busiest days".
The heat may be to blame for slow business. Burton says, "the weather is just too nice no one wants to stay in town, they're all out on the lake". Yet, firework venders are expecting a flood of last minute customers. Burton says, "on the 4th we stay open as long as there are customers".
Some of this year's top sellers include Burton says are "our Mortar Mayhem which has 54 shots, 84 breaks, and 10 tubes. I've sold 5 of those. It's a great deal for $95". She says other best sellers include "lots of novelty items like ladybugs, tanks, trucks, those types of things are always popular especially way before the 4th just to give the kids something to do".
Burton explains there are laws governing how old a person must be to operate a firework stand, however there are no regulations on how old a person must be to purchase fireworks. On the other hand, there are rules on how old you must be to use them. Sgt. Bryan Slavik with Great Falls Police Department says, "you have to be at least 8 years old to set off fireworks unsupervised". Slavik adds, however, that supervision is always recommended when children are playing with fireworks.
Firework sales are legal in Cascade County the ten days leading up to July 4th, but not in the city of Great Falls. Slavik explains, "thesale of fireworks is legal at different times depending on where fireworks aresold". He continues, "I know it looks like they're in thecity, but there are little pockets that were never annexed into the city limits,so they've (firework vendors) found these places and popped up". While fireworks are legal on county property, it's not legal to sell or discharge fireworks within city limits until 8 a.m. tomorrow.
Residents have until the stroke of midnight July 4th to celebrate. Remember noise ordinances are in effect as usual. Slavik says, "we ask people be courteous and kind to their neighbors". On the other hand, people need to practice a little tolerance as people celebrate.
There are also restrictions on where in the city fireworks can be set off. Slavik says, "it may be legal to set off fireworks in city limits, but they aren't legal to set off on any sidewalk or any public grounds such as schools, parking lots, and parks". Also you could be subject to littering fines if you do not clean up your mess.
Fireworks are an American tradition to celebrate our nation's independence. Burton says, "I think it's just a way to show their appreciation for everybody that has gone off to war and just to celebrate that we're free and we're a free nation and hopefully people remember the roots of Independence Day".
Please enjoy the holiday safely and responsibly.