'It celebrates America'

Emma Dale • Jul 1, 2017 at 10:00 AM

With Independence Day just a few days away, local fireworks vendors say sales haven’t been booming — at least not yet.

Eric Francik, who sells fireworks out of a large tent in the parking lot at the Meijer store in Grand Haven Township, blames the slow season on the weather, and said people are waiting for a more favorable forecast before making their purchases.

The TNT Fireworks tent in Grand Haven is run by Living Word Church of Muskegon, which has been using the sale of fireworks as a fundraiser toward their ministry for more than a decade.

Francik said adults tend to gravitate toward the large fireworks, which can cost up to $600, while plenty of smaller options starting at $1 appeal to the kids. He said most transactions total around $50.

Tyler Brown of Grand Haven was browsing through the selection Friday morning. Brown said he is going camping for the Fourth of July and wanted to contribute to the fireworks show his friends have planned. He said he didn’t like the loud bursts for a long time, but has become accustomed to it.

“I just like the thrill of it — (it) celebrates America,” Brown said.

Similar fireworks vendors can be found in parking lots across West Michigan.

Local rules state that consumer-grade fireworks can only be used on the day before, during or after 10 select holidays, which include Independence Day.

“Don’t be shooting fireworks off over the Fourth of July weekend,” Grand Haven City Manager Pat McGinnis warned. “Two days before (the holiday), it’s not OK.”

Consumer fireworks became legal in Michigan in 2012. State law requires that consumer-grade fireworks only be ignited from personal property, as it’s illegal to ignite them on public property — including streets and sidewalks, school property, church property, or another person’s property without permission.

State law makes it illegal to discharge fireworks when intoxicated or under the influence of drugs. When fire-related incidents involve consumer, low impact or illegal fireworks resulting in property damage, injury or death of another person, individuals are subject to being convicted of a misdemeanor or felony punishable by imprisonment of not more than five years and fines of up to $10,000, or both, depending upon the severity of the crime.

“Those are the rules, and we expect that people will abide by those rules,” McGinnis said.

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