With shortages, fireworks season has arrived

Chad Frey
The Kansan
Friends of the Harvey County ERT put up their fireworks tent on June 26, part of the group's annual fund-raising efforts for the ERT. This year 12 permits for fireworks tents were filed in the city of Newton.

A shortage of fireworks could not have come at a worse time for the Friends of the Harvey County ERT — the group is about to perform their largest fundraiser of the year, and this year that fundraiser is more important than ever. 

The team is wanting to help the Minkevitch family, pledging to give 10 percent of the proceeds from its fireworks tent to Levi Minkevitch's unborn daughter. 

"He is a brother, he is a teammate," said Brandon Huntley, ERT commander and sergeant with the Harvey County Sheriff's office. "Once in the family, always in the family."

Minkevitch died after an ATV accident Feb. 17. He was expecting a daughter — her birth is due in July. The ERT plan is to start a college fund for her. 

They will do that short on staff, and in a new location as the fireworks tent moved from Main Street to 1601 W. First Street  — in front of B&B Lumber. 

"It is scary because we have been in the same location for eight years and we forged great partnerships. We were compelled to move this year," Huntley said. "We are excited with the partnership we have with B&B Lumber and it looks like a long term relationships."

And they will do it in the face of reported industrywide shortages of fireworks.  

Vendors are encouraging people to buy early, as waiting until the end of the season could put consumers out of luck. 

An industrywide shortage is seriously limiting fireworks selection and availability, said Devin Krusich, a digital marketer for Pittsburg-based Jake's Fireworks.

"Don't wait until the 3rd or the 4th," he said.

The shortage is caused by delays experienced by the fireworks industry due to shipment challenges facing the global market.

Huntley said much the same. 

"We have probably lost a third of what we normally order because it is not available. It is either hung up in shipping issues or logistics," Huntley said. "... The shortage is not a hoax. It is a true thing. Everybody is facing that. With the demand, and the available product, the prices have gone up. There  is nothing we can do about it."

In the past when the ERT has run low, they have made trips to their distributor to refil tables. Huntley said this year that will not be an option.  

"We are going to get what we get. Our goal is to push it all out," Huntley said. "We want people to support the mission of what we are trying to do for the Minkevitch family." 

Despite possible shortages,  this year 12 permits for fireworks tents were filed for sales in the city of Newton — one more than a year, and equalling the number from 2019

In Newton, fireworks are allowed on private property with approval of the landowner or occupant. Fireworks are not allowed in city parks, on city streets or any city-owned or school property. Fireworks are not allowed in fire zones. 

This year the allowed times for discharge of fireworks include 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. July 1 and 2, 7 a.m. to midnight July 3 and 4, and 10 a.m. to midnight on July 5. 

In North Newton, fireworks discharge is limited to one day: 10 a.m. to midnight July 4. 

Those looking to get their hands on fireworks for the holiday may want to get them as early as possible, as industry-wide shortages are reported.

Locations of fireworks stands in Newton include: 

200 N. Meridian – Wholesale Fireworks

1701 S. Kansas Avenue – Wholesale Fireworks

1515 E. 1st – Wholesale Fireworks

601 SE 36th Street – Wholesale Fireworks

105 Manchester Avenue – Ka-Boomers Ent.

1410 S. Kansas Avenue – Bellino Fireworks

1216 N. Main – Bellino Fireworks

1300 S. Kansas Avenue – Big Show Fireworks

1601 S. Anderson – TNM Fireworks

401 N. Meridian – TNM Fireworks

1525 N. Main – TNM Fireworks

1601 W. 1st Street – Friends of Harvey County ERT

Volunteers readied the Friends of the Harvey County ERT fireworks tent more than a week ago in preparation for sales to start July 1.