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Getting fired up: Fireworks vendors see area sales skyrocket

SHOWING OFF THE Spread Eagle Fireworks display at 553 U.S. 2 in Spread Eagle, Wis., are, from left, staff members Josh Droese, Jack Kriegle, Danika Varda, Grace Roberts, Nate Lammy and Zach Smith. (Theresa Proudfit/Daily News photo)

SPREAD EAGLE, Wis. — With many community fireworks displays canceled due to COVID-19, residents are looking to their local firework stands to supply the spark for their holiday celebration.

Nate Lammy, manager of Spread Eagle Fireworks lat 553 U.S. 2 in Spread Eagle, said sales have been fantastic.

“I think people are looking for something to do and they can somewhat social distance with this. They want to be able to celebrate something. It’s the first holiday after a long quarantine shutdown and people are coming out early, which is something we usually don’t see,” Lammy said. “Normally people come out on the second, third, and fourth of July. Now they are coming early to make sure to get the stuff that they want and maybe to start the celebration early.”

Spread Eagle Fireworks, owned by Todd Dooley of Spread Eagle, operates nine tents in the region: six in Michigan — in Escanaba, Marquette, Negaunee, Gwinn, Iron River and Ironwood — and three in Wisconsin, at Aurora Liquors and Bigfoot Liquors in Aurora, plus the Spread Eagle site.

“Our sales have been noticeably higher in all tents,” Lammy said, adding, “The local businesses have been very supportive. We have great partnerships with the businesses like Aurora Liquors, Super One in Ironwood, Angeli’s Market in Iron River.”

Josh Droese, co-manager at SEF, said artillery shells are the biggest sellers this year. “The canister shells are the biggest and loudest and we have the largest variety of shells in the area,” he said.

Droese also recommends checking out the “scan and watch labels” on the packages. “Customers want to know what they are buying. Now they can scan the firework on their phone and see exactly what the display will look like. If the firework doesn’t have a code, we have a video available for them to watch,” he said.

Lammy said different kinds of fireworks are available every year. “A lot of our larger show-type packages — like our finale cakes, our mortars and our multi-shot cakes — are new. We continuously look for new products that wow us. We had the business for over twenty years, so we have seen the evolution of a lot of this stuff. Now they have made it available to consumers to shoot similar items you would see at a professional show. A lot of our fountains and ground displays are new. Josh (Droese) and Todd (Dooley) did a really good job and picking out some of these,” he said.

Those looking to stage their own fireworks show at home need to be aware, however, of state and local regulations.

Sgt. Jeffery Solka, who is the zoning and ordinance officer in Iron Mountain, said fireworks can be lit in the city from 11 a.m. until 11:45 p.m. June 29 through July 4. Fireworks are not permitted this year on July 5 because it is a Sunday.

Fireworks cannot be discharged by a person under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances; cannot be lit on public property — including streets, sidewalks and alleys — school property, church property or another person’s private property without permission. If fireworks cause damage it can be charged as a misdemeanor. Violations can carry a $1,000 fine.

Kingsford will allow fireworks July 3 through 5, with similar rules and fines.

Tracy Coppens at Niagara City Hall said the city generally follows Wisconsin state law on fireworks but said they “don’t have a lot of issues” and most people abide by the law.

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