Saturday, June 27, 2009
Hey, Mom and Dad, pile the kids in the car. Let's all go buy a trunkload of fireworks. How fun is that!
Every year as our 4th of July Independence Day celebrations approach, huge tents like this one appear on just about every imaginable empty lot and parking lot in our city and county. (I hope this happens in other places so I don't feel our local governments are the only ones who turn a blind eye - not a desirable condition when discussing fireworks.) Many are operated by a company that has been in business for a couple of decades or more and specializes in these types of temporary fireworks retail businesses. They import all of their fireworks and then wholesale and retail fireworks them all over the state of Florida. I have never bought any fireworks from them or any other stand on the side of the road and I think the last time I did more than watch a public display is when I was a not-too-smart high school kid in South Carolina throwing some powerful little devils such as ash cans and cherry bombs; that was a long, long time ago. Since then, as I've grown older and I think a bit smarter, I worry for every small child I see lighting and throwing something that goes bang. And it's not just on the 4th . It goes on for days (and nights) before the holiday. The neighborhood peace is destroyed by dads thinking it's entertaining and educational to go out and help the little ones actually light these things - 5 and 6 years old love the loud, explosive thrill of dangerous fireworks. Where is the adult here?? Sparklers are always fun (and I know very dull and not explosive) but I firmly believe in leaving fireworks to professionals. Tampa and surrounding cities have a wide variety of public displays each year and the ones near Hillsborough Bay and the Channelside district downtown are always very well done. The tent I shot is typical of a retail operations intended for "consumer sales" which require buyers to sign a legal waiver that they will be used for agricultural purposes only. Scaring off birds or something. Although we have strict laws, apparently you could drive a 16- wheeled semi through the loophole. All the legal mumbo jumbo aside, the tents are perfect subjects for the camera and this one was especially good. On the top of the striped tent is an athletic young lady pulling and positioning the biggest banner into place. I shot closeups as she worked on the tent for almost 30 minutes without falling. She did finally get it straight and roped tight. (I bet she's a full-timer who has done this many times before. Who knew you could climb onto the canvas tents and jump all around.) So now you know. If you want some fireworks that disturb neighbors and carry the risk of blowing off fingers visit any of the several convenient striped tent locations for the best selection. And to look cool and smart, take your very young children along so they think dad (and mom) are real smart shoppers as you cart the biggest box to the car. Please have a save 4th this year.