Ready for the Fourth

Salesman Sloan Lane arranges inventory in his firework tent in Bluefield on Saturday.

PRINCETON — Fireworks outlets were stocking their shelves Friday and preparing for shoppers seeking everything from sparklers to rockets for their Fourth of July celebrations while preparations were being make for a professional fireworks show in Princeton.

Tents were being erected and vendors were opening boxes of merchandise in preparation for weekend openings. At the Southview Mall in Bluewell, German Shepherd mix Dixie was barking to newcomers while Joshua Thompson of Hillsville, Va. was stocking the Pole Night Distributors outlet. His current plans called for opening Sunday.

The ongoing pandemic has led organizers to cancel events such as the West Virginia State Fair, taking fireworks shows with them. Thompson said his company plans to practice social distancing, limit shoppers to 10 at a time and have hand sanitizer available. Fireworks enthusiasts looking to have shows at home usually look for the less-expensive varieties.

“Our bestsellers are actually the small stuff,” he said. “Sparklers, Roman candles, finale cakes and the smaller mortars.”

Larger fireworks such as the bigger mortars and finale cakes are available, but they can cost more.

“They don’t feel like spending an arm or a leg because the bigger fireworks are more expensive,” Thompson said.

Not all professional fireworks shows have been canceled by pandemic precautions. The Princeton Rescue Squad currently plans to have a show on July 4 despite the fact concerts and other celebrations had to be canceled.

“We will be doing the fireworks on the Fourth of July and they’ll come on approximately 10 p.m,” Stacey Hicks of the Princeton Rescue Squad said. “This year we’re going to do them on the city’s new property at the (former) Dean Company, and this year we’re going to have bigger shells so they’ll go higher; and it should be a better show than even in the past.”

Spectators will be asked to watch the show from local parking lots.

“We’re asking that no one park along Route 460,” Hicks said. “The best viewing point will be the parking lots at Kroger and places like that. Just don’t park along the highways. We couldn’t do the concerts and things at the stadium like we normally do, but we wanted to do the fireworks for the community and recognize all the people who served in the armed forces, and this year especially our first responders and everyone in the health care community.”

Radio Station Star 95 will play patriotic music during the fireworks show, Hicks added.

“We’re hoping everyone will enjoy the fireworks from inside their cars with their families,” he said. “We ask that everybody please social distance.”

Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com

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