Fizzle or boom on fireworks with higher costs?

Fourth of July celebrations in Kitsap County are getting back to pre-pandemic levels, but firework vendors are feeling the pressure of inflation due to limited stock and increasing costs.

Vendors opened for business across Kitsap County at noon June 28, but customers noticed higher fireworks prices for the second year in a row.

Chester Dahlenburg, one of the workers for TNT fireworks in Port Orchard, said the prices are “as high as they shoot” and that it has affected business.

Viana Glass at Pyro Dave’s Fireworks said that prices no longer matched the quality of the product. She said “the market made it ridiculous for the quality of the product. The quality remained the same but the price went above what that product was worth.”

Janice Ventura is owner of Halo Fireworks, the company that puts together Port Orchard’s Fathoms O’ Fun 4th of July show along with many others in Kitsap County. She is also working with Boomtown Fireworks vendors. She said that shipping cost increases are a big part of the price hike in the fireworks industry, with numbers on combined ocean freight and truck shipping nearly tripling the past two years.

Shipping delays are also decreasing the number of fireworks being offered. Ventura said, “We ordered two semi-containers because we just didn’t know, and sure enough, only one came in. So this is actually less product than I’ve ever had in terms of variety.”

Dahlenburg said that overall costs rising will be a big deterrent to some people wanting to buy fireworks. “I think it’s more so because everything is going up, and nobody has an excess of funds to spend on stuff like this, and then the added cost of that rising, too. It’s a domino effect,” he said.

Not all vendors believe that inflation will have negative effects on business. John Bales at Grand Slam Fireworks said an urge to spend and the traditions of the season will keep customers coming.

“I think more people have money, and I think more people are eager to spend quality time with family and fireworks. This is what they’ve done now, the last couple years, and I think they’ll continue doing it,” he said.

Kimmie Makani of Port Orchard said that family plans and seasonal anticipation will have her buying more fireworks this year. “Gas prices are rising. Everything else is rising, but overall, fireworks don’t really bother me.”

While prices are up everywhere, Ventura expects that the fireworks business will continue to boom. “It’s seasonal,” Ventura said. “There’s only that week, and people want to do their fireworks. They will have a budget for it.”