What a difference a snow storm makes for fireworks sales.
Local sellers note that fireworks are popping off the shelves in the wake of wet winter weather over the holiday period, with youngsters out of school until Jan. 7, and late holiday sales hours.
“We've been really busy,” Billy Rook, manager/owner of Stateline Fireworks, said Thursday. “People are buying more of the big, colorful items. They're not buying much of the little items, like bottle rockets, because of the city ordinance.”
Local Ordinance 1480 prohibits the discharge of any sort of fireworks “missile” within the corporate limits of Hope. But, folks are still buying the projectiles, according to Paul, the manager of the Hale Fireworks outlet at Hervey Square Shopping Center.
He said customers are reminded that those items are for use outside of the City limits.
“They were popular when I was growing up,” he quipped. “Probably, our bag assortment of fireworks for $20 is the most popular; it's got a little bit of everything in it.”
He said Roman candle fireworks also remain popular.
Rook said variety is also a big seller for him this year.
“What we call the artillery shells are popular,” he said. “Families go in together and do their own fireworks shows.”
Rook said families from across Southwest Arkansas buy fireworks here because they are not sold in many other communities.
“I've had a lot of folks from other states,” he said.
Fireworks use was banned in Hope during the July 4 holiday this year because of a severe drought during the summer; but, Rook noted that wetter weather in the fall and the Christmas snowfall this week should keep the New Year fireworks celebrations safer.
“The rain and snow will be a big help in preventing fires,” he said.
Hope Fire Chief Dale Glanton said the Hope Fire Department has had only one fireworks-related call during the holidays, which resulted in no serious damage and no injury.
Hope Police Chief J. R. Wilson also reported a better understanding of and compliance with the City ordinance this year.
“I haven't heard of any problems,” Wilson said. “People aren't personally offended by it that I can tell.”
Under the ordinance, HPD officers will confiscate fireworks that are discharged improperly, at unauthorized times, and are unauthorized for use within the city. Fireworks use within the city must be supervised by an adult on private property, with the express permission of the property owner, and during the New Year holiday may be discharged only from noon until 10 p.m. on Dec. 29-30, from noon until 12:30 a.m. on Dec. 31, and from noon until 10 p.m. on Jan. 1-2.
Questions regarding fireworks sales or use may be directed to the Hope Fire Department or the Hope Police Department.