For us, one of the most important tools this time of year is the BBQ lighter. It has a great way of kicking off most of the important activities that will be going on this Saturday — fireworks and steaks. Around our home town, you notice two things that mark the 4th of July season: lighters of all shapes and sizes are marked down and available everywhere (even places they aren’t normally for sale), and metal-clad stands spontaneously spring from the ground and start selling legal black-powder products.
With this in mind, we normally head to the local market and pick up a 4-pack of lighters for about $2 and on the way home stop at one of the many stands and start picking up brightly packaged explosives that will “out-boom and sparkle” the neighbors’ stash.
Some things to keep in mind for those who are new to the whole experience: remember that fireworks stands will make increasingly cut-rate deals up to the cutoff time when their licenses expire for the year. Generally, if you go up to the counter and don’t know what you want, telling them “I have ‘X’ amount of cash and I want stuff that shoots” or “I want to make a lot of noise” is a valid response. These folks want to sell them to you and know you’ll be back next year if they don’t steer you wrong.
The National Council on Fireworks Safety site also has a bunch of info on regs and common-sense factors to consider when lighting up fireworks yourself. You might check it out if you plan to light up the sky this weekend.