Like fuel, patrons see fireworks skyrocket

This year, getting your Fourth of July bang may cost you a few more bucks.

A massive explosion of 20 fireworks warehouses in China this year hurt supplies. Add to that rising fuel costs, and the price of Roman candles is skyrocketing as well.

Vendors in some parts of the country have raised prices 30 percent or more. But at the six ShowTime fireworks stands in the Triangle run by Jimmy and Anna Moore, prices have gone up by a dollar or two on larger-ticket items, such as the popular “assortment packages.” Prices on sparklers and smaller items have remained the same.

“I usually put in two orders, one in May and one in June,” Jimmy Moore said. “When I called in May, my distributor said, ‘You'd better order all you want now.' Since I ordered early, I got what I wanted.”

But higher costs and supply constraints aren't the only worries for fireworks companies this year. It's likely that the painful gas prices also will curtail pyrotechnic purchases.

“I always ask people how much they are looking to spend,” said Philip Lyon, a Zebulon resident who is in his third summer selling fireworks for Maryland-based Paramount Promotions. “Most people say between $30 and $40. I remember last year a lot of people saying $100.”

Still, not all people are shying away from expensive – and loud – fireworks.

At his stand on Capital Boulevard in Raleigh, Lyon said his highest-priced item is the Pyromaniac, a huge assortment pack that costs $124.99 and is selling well, despite being a few dollars more than last year.

“There are definitely those who come in here and ask, ‘What's the biggest thing you've got?' ”

Area merchants won't know how they did this season until after Friday, Moore said.

“I won't make as much money as I did last year just because of the gas,” he said.