MT. JULIET, Tenn. (WTVF) — Instead of "oohs" and "ahhs," you may be hearing "ouch" at the fireworks stand this year. A major fireworks shortage is expected, making everything from sparklers to big mortar shells hard to find.
Ironically, this Independence Day misfire is because we depend on another country for a majority of our pyrotechnics. "Most of your powder components and everything are produced in China," said Aaron Blankenship, the owner of Titan Fireworks. "We’ve got a lot of fireworks either sitting in the ocean or in port stuck there."
Blankenship says it normally takes him about 30 days to get fireworks shipped from his Chinese suppliers. This year? "It’s been anywhere from 6 weeks to even 10 weeks," he said.
That's because international shipping companies are trying to make up for the time and money they lost during the pandemic. Fireworks are evidently a lower priority.
"So as these boats are being unloaded, a lot of the fireworks and those type items are being put on the side of the yard and they’re prioritizing Walmart, Amazon, Target, a lot of the large retailers," explained Blankenship.
Blankenship started buying up all the supplies he could ten months ago, but even that wasn't enough. Titan Fireworks then decided to consolidate its number of locations. "We wanted to make sure when people went to the stand that they weren’t disappointed to see a half-stocked tent," said Blankenship.
Kid-friendly fireworks are expected to be the hardest to find this year. Blankenship says the fireworks industry knew this supply chain issue was likely coming, so they focused their production on the big, expensive items.
So if you're one of those people who like to convince the neighbors they're living through a second Revolutionary War, you better come stock up while you can. "We anticipate, starting as early as this weekend, things are really going to start ramping up," he said. "If they want a good selection, they need to come as early as possible."