Notes on Purchasing Fireworks

Recognized and loved by children and adults across the country, fireworks are a splendid form of entertainment. Watching fireworks is enough of a celebration for some people, but others may be interested in acquiring and igniting their own fireworks. If you are considering purchasing fireworks, and looking to do a little research, there are several notes to keep in mind.   

Types of Fireworks

According to FireworksLand, fireworks can be unofficially divided into three categories: ground-level, aerial, and proximate. Ground-level fireworks are those that are positioned on the ground or those that are hand-held. Next, aerial fireworks are the types that are shot into the air; this may what most people have in mind upon hearing the word “fireworks.” Finally, proximate fireworks are special-effect type fireworks including some used at stage shows. Examples of proximate fireworks are Gerbs, set pieces, and Niagara Falls. Here are a few examples of the main types, ground-level and aerial. 

Ground-Level Types

  • Sparkler: a handheld firework resembling a stick, it sparkles while it burns. 
  • Flare: another handheld firework, this one gives off a colorful flame. They can be different colors like red or blue.  
  • Firecrackers: these look almost like paper sticks of dynamite, and when lit, they create small explosions. 
  • Fountain: this kind of firework is placed on the ground, where it shoots out a fountain of colorful sparkles and crackles. 

Aerial Types 

  • Skyrocket: the kind that looks like a small rocket and is shot into the sky to produce its effect. 
  • Cake: a firework that gives off repeating shots up into the air. Multiple shots are wrapped in one package with one fuse. Sometimes the packages are shaped like cakes. 
  • Roman Candle: even though there is only one tube, it has several shots that go one after the other. They shoot up and create a burning tower of flame and color. 

Legality of Fireworks

Next, you should be aware of any legal issues with fireworks. As might be expected, fireworks pose some safety issues such as possible fires and injuries. For this reason, states make the rules on which types of fireworks can be used and by whom. Legality issues vary by individual state, and there may be additional laws or restrictions put in place by your city or county. Depending on the state, many kinds of fireworks will only be available with a special permit. In Virginia, for example, firecrackers and all aerial firework types are only allowed with a permit (according to US Fireworks). Be sure to look up the fireworks laws in your state.

Where to Buy Fireworks

Finally, you will need to know if fireworks are widely available and where to start your search. Fortunately, fireworks are fairly easy to find. There are many stores specializing in fireworks, and some non-specialized stores may sell a more limited selection. A supermarket might sell sparklers, for example, but they might not sell aerial items. Plenty of stores allow you to buy online as well. Excepting the specialty stores, most places carry fireworks during the July Fourth season. Availability is also somewhat dependent on your state. Fewer stores will sell firework types that require a permit by State law. 

Knowing about the types, legal issues, and availability of fireworks will help you in the task of purchasing these exciting pyrotechnic toys.