Fireworks celebrations cause oohs, ahs and aw-shucks

July 4 lights out in Chapel Hill

Staff WriterJuly 1, 2011 

  • Planning to put on your own backyard fireworks display? Pay attention to these tips:

    Never light fireworks indoors or near buildings or vehicles.

    Always have a bucket of water or fire extinguisher nearby.

    Never try to re-ignite malfunctioning fireworks.

    Don't shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers.

    Never throw fireworks at another person.

    Use the "stop, drop and roll" method if clothing catches fire.

    No fireworks, including sparklers, are allowed in national forests. Violators can be fined as much as $500, imprisoned as long as six months, or both.

Loud booms and flashes of color will erupt across the Triangle this weekend and Monday. But in Chapel Hill, the evening sky will stay still and dark.

The town has canceled its annual fireworks display because of the cost.

"We're in such a tight budget this year because we don't want to raise taxes," councilwoman Penny Rich said.

Celebrating Independence Day without fireworks is disappointing, she said, but putting on a pyrotechnics show would cost nearly $37,000.

In Durham, the fireworks will be brighter and louder than ever this year, thanks to a $10,000 grant.

Virginia Jones, a human resources manager for the city, mobilized staff members and residents to join a contest sponsored by Liberty Mutual insurance. Contestants received credit for submitting an online quiz on historical facts. Durham is one of the top three winners in the large-city category.

"Durham had a great showing," said John Natale of Liberty Mutual.

Nearly every town has fireworks planned. Rich said she hopes Chapel Hill will be back by next year.

regina.wang@newsobserver.com or 919-836-4918

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