Good Question: What Happens To Unsold Fireworks?

By: Jeff Herndon Email
By: Jeff Herndon Email

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Thursday, July 4, 2013

It seems like every other 4th of July the firework tents keep multiplying. There seems to be one of every corner.

A viewer asks what happens to the leftover firecrackers they don’t sell. Good question.

Remember when the 4th of July was just one day? A trip to the fireworks tent on the 3rd, and the BOOM-BOOM commenced on the 4th. Nowadays, it’s a weeklong ordeal. In Wichita and other area towns, tents can start selling the week before the holiday, and you can shoot ‘em off on the 5th.

You won’t hear the fireworks tent owners complaining. It’s big business. A recent survey by Visa found that consumers spend, on average, $300 per year on firecrackers. It’s a multimillion-dollar biz.

And here’s the dirty little secret about those leftover firecrackers you year after year: Most of them are leftovers. Like Twinkies, fireworks have a long shelf life. The ones that don’t sell are simply stored away and put back on the shelf the next year and the year after that. Some places resale fireworks that are at least three years old. So, the next time you see a firecracker on the shelf that looks like it was made years ago, it probably was.

If you have a good question, send it to me at or find me on Twitter.

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