PITTSBURG, Kan. — Although the City of Pittsburg has canceled its July 4th fireworks display and celebration at Lincoln Park this year due to COVID-19 and financial concerns, area residents are no less ready to commemorate Independence Day, if sales at local fireworks tents are any indication.
Melody Brennon and Carla Thompson, operators of the Ka-Boomer’s Fireworks tent next to Mazzio’s on South Broadway, said that while most of their customers are not first-time fireworks buyers, about 15 to 20 percent of them are saying they’re buying more this year with the city’s fireworks show canceled.
"I mean that are at least telling us that," Brennon said. "There may be a lot more."
Addy Robinson, operator of Bellino Fireworks tent in front of Home Depot on North Broadway, meanwhile, said that over half her customers are saying they are buying more fireworks than they usually would this year.
Operators of both fireworks tents said that the timing of this year’s dates when the city allows fireworks sales, from June 27 to July 5, has also helped.
"This is kind of the year that all fireworks people wait on, because it does incorporate two weekends in the city when you’re selling them," said Thompson.
"Starting on a weekend helps, you know, just the way it fell," Brennon said. "That we were able to start on a Saturday, that always is kind of the fireworks stands’ dream, to have two weekends."
At the Bellino Fireworks tent, Robinson similarly said the timing of when they were allowed to operate was helpful.
"It was perfect, and the weather was nice, and a lot of people were coming in early in the morning because they were going to the lakes to go camping and they were going to be able to shoot them off out there, so they were stocking up," she said.
The fact that setting off fireworks is an outdoor activity that can easily comply with social distancing guidelines is also likely boosting sales, she said, along with the city’s cancellation of its fireworks show.
"So we were able to open Saturday, and a lot of customers have said, you know, since that’s been canceled that they’re looking to do their own deal with their families" she said, "and so they’re looking to buy big stuff, and I think everybody’s, you know, kind of tired of being kept at home so, you know, they’re really wanting to do something and it’s really helping us out."
Customers are "definitely asking our opinions on the bigger things, like for finales and to show their families and stuff instead of just coming in and looking at the little things for kids and then doing the big show," Robinson said, adding that many of them have said they would be back to stock up on more fireworks throughout the week.
Robinson, who lives in Parsons, said this is her first year running the Bellino Fireworks tent in Pittsburg, but it has been a good year to start.
"We’ve done well the last two days, for sure," she said. "So we’re on track to beat what they did last year."