Chandler celebrating July 4 without fireworks - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Chandler celebrating July 4 without fireworks

July 3rd, 2022 SanTan Sun News
Chandler celebrating July 4 without fireworks

By Ken Sain
Staff Writer

The City of Chandler will celebrate the Fourth of July this year, but will do so without fireworks.
City officials are planning for an All-American Bash at AJ Chandler Park in Downtown. Cold Shott and the Hurricane Horns will perform two sets of their rocking R&B music.

There will be no fireworks because of a shortage of the pyrotechnics – a problem that also has forced Phoenix to cancel its fireworks show.

“It’s a domino effect that started when COVID happened in 2020,” said Jason Colt, owner of Santan Fireworks, whose Avondale company is the largest fireworks retailer in Arizona.

According to Colt, here are the issues:

All the manufacturing is based in Shanghai, China and factories started to get behind because of the pandemic, being forced to close and having a shortage of workers.

All the shipping out of Shanghai is controlled by one man and importer and exporters must stay on his good side to get their goods onto a ship and on their way to the U.S.

The port in Long Beach had the same worker shortages other industries are facing, so it has led to a lot of goods sitting in the port for weeks before they ship out.

The backlog has made it hard for the U.S. train system to keep up and many containers filled with fireworks sit and wait for an available train spot.

At the same time there’s been all these issues in supply, consumer demand has seen an increase of more than 300%.

“People getting bored,” Colt said. “People not having anything to do and just deciding they want to blow fireworks off.”

Put all those factors together, and many cities are having to plan Fourth of July parties that don’t include fireworks.

The city traditionally does have a fireworks show on July 4th. They didn’t in 2020 because of the pandemic, but did have one a year ago as social distancing requirements started to be eased.

“Due to supply chain shortages, we were unable to secure a large scale show that Chandler has been accustomed to experiencing,” said Kim Moyers, the city’s cultural development director.

The supply chain issues have also led to price hikes. Colt said that he used to pay $10,000 to get a container shipped to him from Shanghai and have it delivered to Goodyear. Now, he pays more than $31,000 and it’s only delivered to Long Beach. He has to pay another $6,000 to get it to Arizona.

He said his retail business will be fine this year, because he ordered his supply more than a year ago. He has more than 50 locations set up around the state.

All aerial fireworks are illegal for residents to set off in the state. The organizations that have a license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms can set them off as part of shows. Of course, that will probably not stop some people.

The only type of fireworks that are legal for residents to set off in Arizona are ground based. Council made it legal for residents to set them off in residential streets when they updated the fire code earlier this year.

A city official said there is no restriction on when residents can set them off, so long as it’s within the dates approved by state law. However, that will likely change soon. The state legislature passed a bill that allows cities to regulate the time fireworks can be set off, starting at 11 p.m.

Chandler’s City Council will not be able to make any changes until at least the fall, when they are next scheduled to look at the city’s fire code.

Colt said they are easy to buy in neighboring states and bring back to Arizona. He expects the law will eventually change to allow residents to set them off.

“It is coming,” he said. “As you can see in the sky on the Fourth of July. You hear people really don’t care, and that’s them sending the government a message.”

People who are looking for a traditional fireworks display.

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