The next few days brings a small window for fireworks sales and use. The combination of mild December weather and a positive outlook by local retailers makes for a perfect storm of healthy sales.
“Just to smell that gunpowder, that's where it is at,” laughs Dale Polak at the United Methodist Church fireworks booth in Waterloo, Nebraska, 307 Lincoln Street. Hours are 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. through Saturday.
The next few days for him are like two holidays wrapped in one. "I take vacation for this and I have my buddy here all the time and we just have a ball, it's a great time."
For the second year in a row, “Dealin' Dale” is selling fireworks over the New Year’s holiday, but there’s one big difference this time around. "It was cold last year.”
Dale hopes to increase sales. “Last year, I think we made about $1,500 for the church, but word of mouth through this year I'm looking for a little bit better in sales. Each year should grow now that everybody is aware that you can sell and shoot the 29th, 30th and 31st of December."
He says during Omaha's first year of July 4th fireworks sales, he lost about 10 percent of his normal business. During these next four days, the fireworks dealer says there's nothing more patriotic than selling fireworks over this holiday.
“It's a lot quicker than waiting a whole year to go back to July 4th sales, so six months waiting is not that long for us."
You’ve got to take the good with the bad when it comes to the mild temperatures. Firefighters say the dry, windy conditions make fields a prime target for brush and grass fires. They say just be aware of where and how you are shooting your fireworks so your New Year’s celebration can go off without a hitch.
It's illegal to sell fireworks in Omaha and Bellevue, but you can shoot them off starting Wednesday. In Omaha, fireworks may be shot off Wednesday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. and then again Saturday from 8 a.m. until 1 a.m. on Sunday. Fireworks can be legally purchased only in Waterloo, Papillion, Gretna and Springfield.
Don Bellino of Bellino Enterprises has two stands in Papillion, south of 84th and Giles and at 72nd and Giles, where the proceeds go to Papillion Spirit Football. They will be selling fireworks from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. through Friday, remaining open until midnight on New Year's Eve. The same stands last year didn't do as well as he'd hoped, for the first year New Year's fireworks became legal.
Bellino partly blames colder weather, and he also says more people needed to learn about the change in state law. This year, with mild conditions, he's hoping sales improve.
They have also made changes to the stands for 2011 sales. Instead of drafty tents, they're using heated trailers, which will help keep customers and staff more comfortable.
The Gretna Area Chamber of Commerce is selling fireworks in the old American National Bank building located southwest of the Highway 370 and 31/6 intersection. The stand will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day, although New Year’s Eve the tent may stay open as late as 10 p.m.
Wild Willy's Fireworks in Springfield, 710 First Street, will be selling fireworks from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. through Saturday.