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Keith on Fireworks

Monday, July 5th, 2010

“For me, the 4th of July is about getting together with friends and family and shooting off fireworks. It is a tradition that goes back as long as I can remember. My Godfather has been selling fireworks in this city for a long time. When I was a kid, he used to bring me this thing called the rocket every year. For the 4th, all of the kids in my neighborhood would get together and set off fireworks. I have always loved the smells and the colors and the oohhs and aahhs that fireworks create.

I have five kids and my family is always getting together for cookouts and birthday parties. In my house, there is always an occasion for fireworks.

“Ten years ago, I opened my own fireworks stand in D.C. around the 4th. It was a small operation, but I probably made $800 in a week. It was my own business and a nice way to make some extra money. Over time, I expanded my business and this year, I have five stands around the city that I run with my family.

“Most of my stands have been in predominantly African-American and Hispanic neighborhoods, but this year I experimented with one on upper Connecticut and one on Columbia Road. Those stands are doing pretty well, but not as well as our traditional stands. I don’t know what it is about that side of town, but maybe they don’t like spending their money on things like fireworks.

“Every vendor in D.C. has to sell TNT approved fireworks. TNT is a company out of Alabama that is the wholesaler for this area. D.C. law allows us to set up our stands on June 15th and sell up until midnight on July 5th. People who buy fireworks are only really allowed to set them off around July 4th, but you’ll see and hear fireworks for almost a month before and after the 4th. Like I said, people just love fireworks. For example, I have five kids and my family is always getting together for cookouts and birthday parties. In my house, there is always an occasion for fireworks.”

“The last thing I would like to say is that there is a mandate in City Council to ban all fireworks in the city. As someone who has been around fireworks my whole life, people in D.C. love fireworks and a lot of us depend on fireworks for jobs and income. I would hate for people here not to be able to enjoy fireworks in the years to come.”

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