The night skies of some American cities will be dark this Independence Day, as concerns about supply chain and staffing shortages, drought and wildfires lead to the cancellation of several fireworks displays across the country.
For some, this is the third year their shows have been canceled.
“The first two years were related to the pandemic, and this year is related to the supply chain,” said Adam Waltz, a spokesman for the city of Phoenix, where three major fireworks were canceled. According to Mr. Waltz, the vendor who usually supplies the city with fireworks could not promise the product.
“It’s just disappointing,” he said.
Other cities have canceled fireworks displays due to concerns about wildfires. Especially throughout the West this summer, drought, hot, dry and windy weather have already helped create the conditions for fast-burning fires. As of Friday, 55 large wildfires in 11 states, including the Rice Fire in California’s Nevada County, have burned more than 900 acres since it started Tuesday, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.
In Flagstaff, Arizona, about 150 miles north of Phoenix, city officials are more determined to plan a laser light show than to host a fireworks display, which they might have to cancel at the last minute if weather makes the show unsafe.
“We are dealing with dangerous conditions,” city spokeswoman Sarah Langley said. He said the city has not yet made any decisions on whether it will continue to replace fireworks with laser light shows in future years.
City officials in North Lake Tahoe, California, said they decided to replace their annual July 4th fireworks show with drones because of fire hazards and other environmental risks. (Fireworks require various chemicals that can contaminate them to make them big, loud, and colorful.)
Demonstrations at Lake Don Pedro, about 50 miles east of Modesto, California, and Lake Claremont, about 35 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, were also canceled due to the state’s drought.
This is the third year in a row the show has been canceled in Claremont, city spokeswoman Melissa Vollaro said. He said it would take about 650,000 gallons of water to soak the area where the fireworks were released, which is not possible under current water restrictions. Instead, the city is planning a concert in the park, he said.
Other cities have canceled their shows due to staff shortages.
Cal Expo in Sacramento said it had to focus its staff and resources on the upcoming state fair and food festival, so they couldn’t hold the Independence Day fireworks display. Officials in Ocean City, Md., said two fireworks displays were canceled due to “staffing shortages.” Authorities in Minneapolis said they had to cancel the demonstration due to construction at a local park, as well as staffing issues.
In many other parts of the country, including New York, Independence Day celebrations continue as planned. For some, it’s the first time they’ve seen fireworks before the coronavirus pandemic.
“Everyone is ready to celebrate their independence from this virus,” said Julie L. Heckman, executive director of the American Pyrotechnics Association.
Ms Heckman said that while some shows had been cancelled, she still expected the number of professional fireworks displays across the country to be higher than in 2020 and 2021.
“Demand is at 110 percent of pre-pandemic levels,” Ms. Heckman said, adding that she expects about 17,000 shows nationwide in the days leading up to Independence Day. (Before the coronavirus pandemic, he said there were about 16,000 shows across the country during that time.)
In cities with canceled shows, some residents plan to set off their own fireworks. Some types of consumer fireworks are legal in 49 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, although individual states and cities may impose bans, Ms. Heckman said. Consumer fireworks are banned in Massachusetts.
Dennis Revell, a spokesman for TNT Fireworks, the nation’s largest distributor of consumer fireworks, said that with the vast majority of mass events canceled in 2020, TNT’s sales increased significantly, both in terms of total sales and the number of sales. people buy their products. “We’ve kept most of it in 2021,” Mr Revell said. But, he added: “It’s too early to predict what 2022 will look like.”
However, some smaller retailers have also experienced supply chain issues.
Eyvonne Hall, owner of Discount Fireworks in Brainerd, about 130 miles northwest of Minneapolis, said she’s been waiting more than a month for some orders that used to take about a week to arrive.
He said he called 12 different suppliers looking for his favorite fireworks in particular: Pure Fantasy. “They’re nice and colorful and the fountain goes up and people love it,” Ms Hall said. “It’s been slow this year,” he said. “I’m just hoping that in the next few days this situation will be resolved.”
Another vendor in Queen Creek, about 40 miles southeast of Phoenix, where public fireworks displays have been suspended, said business has increased in part because of the cancellations.
“They’re really disappointed and it’s a shame, but they’re excited to try these new fountains at home,” Christian Valles, who runs the fireworks stand, said of his customers. He added, “they’re going to get a good show.”
Michael Lusiak, a fireworks enthusiast from Green Bay, about 115 miles north of Milwaukee, said that since 2020, he has been trying to increase the dazzling show that has no place on Independence Day. go to another.
Mr. Lusiak, a farm worker who hosts the shows in his employer’s cornfield, said the best moment is the grand finale. “I feel shockwaves in my chest and I know I’m making a statement that people across the nation will see or hear,” he said.
“All the cheers and jingles,” he added, “it’s one of the best feelings in the world.”