Fireworks sales up in East Texas in spite of heat, dry conditions | Local News

Fireworks are still illegal inside Longview city limits but that hasn’t stopped residents from getting their fix.

Tonya Fowler is the manager at Cole Family Fireworks at the corner of FM 1844 and Gilmer Road. She’s worked at the store consistently and said she sees patterns in shoppers spending habits. Compared to last year, sales are higher at this point in the season this year but about the same as in 2020, she said.

The majority of the store’s sales are made on the Fourth of July holiday but last year its busiest day was the day before the holiday.

“People hit on the third instead of the fourth, and it could possibly fall back to the second (this year) with it being a Saturday,” Fowler said.

This year’s big sellers at the store have been artillery shells, multi-shots and large fountains, which Fowler said customers are “eating up.”

According to Fowler, many customers have asked questions about burn bans in the area and if it’s still safe or if they are allowed to shoot off fireworks.

Harrison County issued a notice for residents this past week that bans outdoor burning for 90 days unless it is terminated sooner. The order followed a shorter burn ban enacted in Upshur County that was extended on Thursday. Other East Texas counties including Anderson, Cherokee, Henderson and Marion counties also issued burn bans.

Jan Lilly, who works the Fantastic Fireworks stands at 5651 US 259 ​​with her husband Dennis, said she’s also had several people asking about the burn bans.

“But since Gregg County don’t have one — that’s what I tell them,” Lilly said, and added that she is aware of the bans in Upshur and Harrison counties.

Firework fountains appeared to be the big draw at the stand, which Lilly said she had been selling nonstop. She expects the stands to get busy Sunday and Monday, but much like Fowler she anticipates customers to start rolling in on Saturday.

Cassie Vowell was visiting the stands with her son Charlie, 4, who was busy animatedly chatting with Lilly and asking a bevy of questions.

“He asks for fireworks all year long and, as you can tell, he asks like questions about everything, and he wants everything,” Vowell said with a laugh.

Charlie took turns pointing at a product, asking about it, and would then repeat the process with the next thing that caught his eye. For her part, Lilly patiently explained what each of the products does and how they look when ignited.

Vowell’s favorite products are the fountains. Charlie seemed to love everything but had a warm spot for the parachute army men. As Charlie continued to point and ask for more items to take home, Vowell said she is unsure how much she would end up with.

While there’s no burn ban in place in the county, it is still illegal to shoot off fireworks within the city limits of Longview. Fire Marshall Kevin May said Thursday that citations for illegal firework activity can include fines of up to $ 2000.

“Anybody shooting fireworks this year needs to practice extreme caution because of the dryness and lack of rain,” May said. “Maybe leave the fireworks to the professionals who have all the precautions and safety measures in place.”

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