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Number of Nebraska fireworks vendors decreases for third straight year
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Number of Nebraska fireworks vendors decreases for third straight year

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There are fewer places in Nebraska to buy your roman candles, Black Cats, bottle rockets and smoke bombs this year.

The decrease in retail and distribution licenses in Nebraska is a trend that has been noticeable since 2017, according to the state fire marshal's office.

There are 599 licenses this year statewide, down 47 from 2019. In Lincoln, there are 63 licensed vendors.

The National Fireworks Association was concerned that coronavirus shutdowns would cause fireworks imports from China to be disrupted, spokesperson Larry Farnsworth said.

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Although the fireworks importation process was slightly delayed, everyone should be able to easily acquire fireworks for their Fourth of July gatherings, he said.

"We have not heard from our licensees of any fireworks shortage," Nebraska State Fire Marshal Christopher Cantrell said.

Fireworks sales are on track to set a record, partially due to the Fourth of July falling on a Saturday, which means many people have a three-day weekend.

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“People are cooped up and bored, and they want to shoot off fireworks,” Farnsworth said. “It allows you to do something outside.”

Professional buyers may face revenue loss as most large-scale firework displays are canceled because of the coronavirus, he said. And there will be costly storage fees as professional fireworks for this year were purchased in 2019.

In Lincoln, sales and the setting off of fireworks are only allowed from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and 8 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on Saturday. Some retailers, like Crazy Cracker Fireworks, are providing online ordering for the first time because of the pandemic.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7241 or ssaric@journalstar.com.

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News intern

Summer news intern Sofia Saric is a Los Angeles native studying journalism at Boston University and has previously written stories for the Boston Globe, the Brookline TAB, the Daily Free Press and Spindle.

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