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Personal fireworks in higher demand with SWFL July 4 displays canceled

A concern for a county leader ahead of the Fourth of July holiday weekend is the use of fireworks on beaches. One Collier County commissioner says she doesn’t want personal fireworks on beaches, and we know many large fireworks displays are already canceled this year across Southwest Florida.

But we learned Tuesday that public cancellations are not stopping many community members from getting fireworks and celebrating Independence Day.

Several fireworks stands and stores across the region told us they are definitely seeing more business this year.

With more people coming out to grab fireworks and sparklers, community members are making sure they can still light up the sky on the Fourth.

This year, people we spoke to are setting up to celebrate Independence Day from home.

“Red White and Boom, we do that normally,” said Robert Balder in Estero. “But knowing that they’re canceled, I went a little higher on the price this year.”

Balder and his friends wanted to make sure they can still light up the sky.

“Firecrackers, mortars, boxes, whatever,” Balder said. “I went an extra two or three hundred dollars this year.”

And Balder is not the only one spending big this year. Denny Billec with Phantom Fireworks of Fort Myers says business is booming.

“We have doubled our numbers in the month of June from last year, and it’s unbelievable,” Billec said.

“This doesn’t come until the last, you know, July 2, 3, 4,” Billec said. “This started 10 days ago, and it’s not slowing down. It just increases every day.”

Commissioner Penny Tayor in Collier County says the increase in fireworks sales concerns her. She worries people will try to light them on the beach.

“The beaches are a lovely place, but it’s not good for fireworks,” Taylor said. “It’s not allowed, but I don’t think we’re going to be able to stop it.”

Taylor says she proposed the beaches close at noon to avoid any fireworks on the beaches at night, but the board of commissioners voted against it.

We published a Facebook poll to see how many of you are planning to buy your own fireworks. If you haven’t already, you can still weigh in here.

Reporter:Breana Ross
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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