Fireworks sales begin in county

The Fourth of July is less than a week away, so it’s open season for fireworks stands in unincorporated Snohomish County. Stands were allowed to open Tuesday, provided they passed an inspection by the Snohomish County Fire Marshal.

Business was slow, stand operators said, but should grow over the holiday weekend.

“It is huge,” said Sean Bolinger, head manager of the Shock ‘N’ Awe Fireworks Co. stand on 132nd Street SE. “Fourth of July, it’s shoulder to shoulder in here.”

His tent was located just across the street from Mill Creek’s city limits. The sale of fireworks is still banned in many towns, but is now legal in unincorporated Snohomish County. The discharge of personal fireworks is allowed in several towns on July 4 only.

“You could say almost half your business is done on the Fourth,” said Mike Luke, owner of Mike’s Fireworks Stand on Edmonds Way.

Many stands sprang up along 132nd Street north of Mill Creek, setting up shop in parking lots every few blocks.

Despite the whiz-bang fame of fireworks, sellers say the smaller, safer items are the biggest sellers. For less than a dollar you can buy a small paper tank that shoots fire out of its guns or a hen that rolls around laying fireball eggs.

“The biggest sellers are the little things,” Bolinger said.

Still, the real attention-catchers are “cakes,” like “The Woah! Daddy,” a maximum load, nine-shot grand finale of shells that showers flaming balls, waves, glitter and peony displays.

Most stands are open until the Fourth, hoping to sell out by then. Some, such as Mike’s Fireworks Stand, stay open until July 5, with discounts on that last day.

Many of these stands operate as fundraisers or nonprofits. Shock ‘N’ Awe is one of several stands owned by a group of local churches, and their sales benefit the Christian Faith Center’s youth ministry.

A TNT Fireworks stand just west of I-5 on 132nd Street earns money for the Gunslingers, a local drill team. They have been running that stand for 13 years, manager Edith Scott said.

“It’s one of our big fundraisers for the year,” she said.

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