Drive through most US cities right now and you’ll see fireworks stands on the side of the road and people lining up, eager to show their patriotism through pyrotechnics. Fireworks are how we celebrate the Fourth of July – and they also translate into big money.
The American Pyrotechnic Association (APA) estimates that firework revenues could exceed $800 million for the 2016 season. That’s up from last year, when Americans spent $755 million on fireworks, the APA estimates, and 180% more than the $284 million we spent in 1998.
Part of the reason revenues have increased is because more states are doing away with restrictions that limit the sale of fireworks within their borders. Since 2011, Kentucky, Utah, New Hampshire, Michigan, New York, Georgia and West Virginia have all legalized at least some fireworks to cash in. Currently, 47 states allow the sale of some kind of consumer firework.
For example, big fireworks (bottle rockets, roman candles and artillery shells) are still illegal in New York State, but a law passed in 2015 allowed for the sale of sparklers and other small ground fireworks in dozens of counties outside of New York City. With this change, New York expects to collect $2 million in tax revenues from fireworks this year.
Every state has its own rules and restrictions for which consumer fireworks are allowed, but only three states —Delaware, Massachusetts and New Jersey — still ban the sale of consumer fireworks altogether. Safety is always a concern: According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 230 people go to the emergency room every day with firework-related injuries in the month surrounding the Fourth of July. If you’re unsure which fireworks are allowed in your state, check out this directory of state laws from the APA.
One firework that definitely isn’t allowed in every state is the multi-shot cake device, which the APA says is the best-selling firework in the US. This display box comes in various sizes, including the 100-shot finale box, and can cost up to $199. At 500-grams, this is the maximum pyrotechnic composition for a consumer firework allowed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
But regardless of how much you spend on fireworks this July 4, there are two things you need to remember. First, it’s always smarter to buy from an accredited company that sells legal fireworks.
And most importantly, have fun and be safe this weekend!