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Pandemic affects firework availability in Northwest Arkansas as holiday nears

by Erica Wilson | July 1, 2021 at 7:25 a.m.
Abbi Bowerman, 11, helps her dad, Jeff Bowerman load a package of fireworks Wednesday June 30, 2021 for customer Josh Sly of Bella Vista and his daughter Lilly, 7, at Sams Club in Fayetteville. The family, including Kim Bowerman, center, has been selling fireworks at the same location for 6 years. Visit nwaonline.com/21000701Daily/ and nwadg.com/photo. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/J.T. Wampler).

Revelers likely will spend more buck for their bang this Fourth of July.

Firework stands have less to sell and many are charging more for the pyrotechnics this year. China manufactures most fireworks, and the pandemic has put a crunch on quantity and delivery.

Kim Bowerman, who runs a TNT Fireworks stand in Fayetteville with her family, said the situation has made it difficult for big vendors to replenish their supplies.

Firework supplies are expected to be down about 30% before Independence Day, according to NBC News.

Bowerman expects her sales to decline this year simply because she has less product. She was not able to acquire some items, like artillery shells, at all. She still expects her stand will sell out as people start to gather in larger groups again.

Dakota Baggett, manager of Fireworks City tents in Bentonville and Rogers, said factory closings during the pandemic contributed to the shortage.

“Hopefully, people come out and buy fast, that way they have fireworks,” he said. “Otherwise they might miss out.”

Baggett and Bowerman said their businesses saw an increase in sales during last year’s Fourth of July. Bowerman said TNT Fireworks sales were about 35%-40% higher than normal years, while Baggett said his sales reached a record high despite the fact he operated only one tent.

Bowerman thinks the cancellation of larger events led to an increase in sales to people who held their own smaller fireworks shows.

The pandemic kept Ashley Noland of Rogers from celebrating last year’s holiday with her extended family. Noland and her family usually attend the baseball game and fireworks show at Arvest Ballpark or watch fireworks elsewhere. They shot fireworks off in their driveway last year and drove to watch a fireworks display at the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion from their car since the game was canceled.

Jennifer Wilson, public relations director for the Walmart AMP, said while the venue did shoot off fireworks for the public last year, it canceled in-person events like the usual family fun fest and Symphony of Northwest Arkansas concert.

The symphony returns to the AMP this year for the Fourth of July. It will be its first performance with the full symphony in front of a large audience since January 2020, Wilson said.

“They are making sure their performances reflect what we’ve come through over the last year; celebrates not only patriotism, but also just resilience in the community in coming through all of this,” Wilson said.

Noland is excited to be able to celebrate this year’s holiday again with family like her mom and her mother-in-law, she said. Noland rented a suite at Arvest Ballpark for 20 of her friends and family to watch the baseball game, eat hot dogs and enjoy the fireworks display together.

“I think everyone is just so grateful for life to be getting back to normal again and to be able to spend time with friends and family. And I think the Fourth of July holiday will be so great for everyone,” she said.

City plans:

SATURDAY

Bella Vista — Fourth of July Parade. Line up at 9 a.m., parade at 9:30 a.m., Sugar Creek Shopping Center in Bella Vista. Free. bellavistaneighbor.com

Gentry — Freedom Fest. Car show at 9 a.m., entertainment at noon and fireworks at dusk, Gentry City Park. Free. Email info@gentrychamber.com.

Gravette — Fireworks. Gravette High School at dusk. Free. Food trucks will open at 7:30 p.m.facebook.com/cityofgravette

Bella Vista — Fireworks. Loch Lomond Dam at 9 p.m. Free. bellavistaneighbor.com

SUNDAY

Rogers — Fireworks. Gates open at 6 p.m. Symphony of Northwest Arkansas performs at 7:30 p.m., fireworks at 9:15 p.m., Arkansas Music Pavilion. $3-$35. amptickets.com

Bella Vista — Concert. Community Band at 7 p.m., Blowing Springs Park. Free. 918-688-3582.

Bentonville — An Evening at Orchards Park. Music at 7 p.m. and fireworks at 9:30 p.m., Orchards Park. Free.

Firework discharge dates:

• Bentonville: Noon-midnight July 3-4

• Centerton: 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 1-4

• Decatur: Noon to 10 p.m. July 3 and noon to 11:59 p.m. July 4

• Elkins: 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 1-5

• Farmington: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. July 3, 5 and 10 a.m. to midnight July 4

• Fayetteville: 10 a.m to 10 p.m. July 1-3 and and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 4

• Gravette: Noon to midnight July 1-6 (3 days before and after the Gravette Independence celebration)

• Pea Ridge: Noon to midnight July 1-7

• Prairie Grove: 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 4

• Rogers: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 2-4

• Springdale: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. July 1- 4

Erica Wilson can be reached by email at ewilson@nwaonline.com or on Twitter @ericaWi33624801.

Fourth of July Events:

SATURDAY

OZ Kids Book & Bike Fest — Decorate your bike, enjoy stories, food, music and crafts, 8 a.m-noon, Bentonville Public Library.Free. bentonvillelibrary.org.

Freedom Fest — With a car show at 9 a.m., entertainment at noon and fireworks at dusk, Gentry City Park. Free. Email info@gentry-chamber.com .

Fourth of July Parade — 10 a.m. Sugar Creek Shopping Center in Bella Vista. Free. bellavistaneighbor.com

Drop-In Tour — Big Picture: Art, Architecture & Nature, 11:30 a.m., Main Lobby at Crystal Bridges Museum. Free. 657-2335 or crystalbridges.org

Fireworks — At dusk, at the Gravette High School. Free. Food trucks will be open at 7:30 p.m.facebook.com/cityofgravette

Fireworks — 9 p.m., Loch Lomond Dam in Bella Vista. Free.bellavistaneighbor.com

Fireworks — at dark, Ventris Trail’s End Resort at Beaver Lake, Garfield. https://visitrogersarkansas.com/events/annual-ventris-trail%E2%80%99s-end-resort-fireworks-display

SUNDAY

Fireworks Spectacular — With SoNA, gates open at 6 p.m., music at 7:30 p.m., fireworks at 9:15 p.m., Arkansas Music Pavilion in Rogers. $3-$35. amptickets.com

Bella Vista Community Band in Concert — 7 p.m., Blowing Springs Park in Bella Vista. Free. Bring your own picnic. 918-688-3582.

An Evening at Orchards Park — With music at 7 p.m. and fireworks at 9:30 p.m., Orchards Park in Bentonville. Free. visitrogersarkansas.com

4th at the Field Fireworks — Exhibition game between the Nevada Griffons and the Joplin Outlaws, followed by fireworks. Gates open at 5 p.m. game begins at 6:30 p.m., Arvest Ballpark in Springdale. General admission is $12.75. https://www.milb.com/northwest-arkansas/events/4th-at-the-field

Fireworks — At dark, Randall G. Lynch Middle School, Farmington. https://farmingtonar.sophicity.com/CityNews.aspx?CNID=3891

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