After so many Fourth of July celebrations were canceled last summer because of COVID, demand for sparklers, cherry bombs, bottle rockets and more sophisticated amateur fireworks hit a record high.
Now there's a problem this summer: A shortage of fireworks in the United States.
Professional displays are not in danger; municipal shows going on all over the state aren't affected. But for people who want to put on a mini-show in their backyard, or who just enjoy the noise and flash associated with the holiday, it's another matter.
Although sales are fairly concentrated into a tight time period around Independence Day, vendors buy year-round and try to have a buffer if demand is high. Last year, many vendors sold out early and depleted that buffer that would normally have rolled over into 2021. In addition, the supply chain this year hasn't recovered from the pandemic.
Phantom Fireworks, the leading fireworks retailer in the country, has several locations in Wisconsin, including one in Racine that serves the Milwaukee area. The company had a 48% increase in sales of fireworks cases from 2019 to 2020.