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Sarasota Wednesday, Jun. 30, 2021 1 year ago

$100? $1,000? The fireworks choices are yours

A Fourth show need not be expensive. But it surely can be.
by: Brendan Lavell Staff Writer

Almost 250 years after fireworks were used to celebrate America's independence from Great Britain, the tradition still runs strong, from the National Mall to your next-door neighbor’s front yard.

If you want to create your own fireworks display this year — or if you mainly want some smaller options just to keep the kids occupied for a while — the Observer spoke with Sky King Fireworks Managing Partner Dustin Luer for an expert opinion on three shopping sprees.


Luer said it would be easy enough to spend $100 on a couple of finale pieces (among them, products called: Go Home, Karen; Wicked Hardcore or Buzz Lightyear's favorite, Edge of Infinity all ranging in price from $150 to $250, often BOGO) and call it a day. However, those looking to spread out the fun and keep family and friends occupied throughout the evening can do so.

This combination of mortar shells and finale pieces would cost about $100, according to Sky King Fireworks Managing Partner Dustin Luer.

“You could walk home with a whole bag,” Luer said.

Luer would start with two packs of Roman candles, which would cost between $12 and $20. Luer also chose two packs of sparklers for $10. He would then buy two packs of bottle rockets, meaning 288 individual launches, for $16.

“You could spend all afternoon (setting them off),” Luer said.

With the remaining $50 to $60, Luer suggests four finale pieces for the end of the night. He also considered swapping out two packs of finale pieces for two packs of mortar shells.

“Then you’ve got a real show, and you’ve got stuff you can muck around with for a little while,” Luer said. “There’s lots of options.”


At this price point, an actual small-scale show is possible.

Luer starts with two 16-packs of mortar shells at $150. He used the other half of the money to buy three finale pieces.

“That’s what will give you more of a professional display,” Luer said.

This combination of mortar shells and finale pieces would cost about $1,000, according to Sky King Fireworks Managing Partner Dustin Luer.


Customers willing to shell out four figures will likely spend most of their money on supercharged 5-inch and 6-inch mortar shells and high-volume finale pieces.

Luer said he would buy two 5-inch mortar shells for $240 and two of the highest quality for $280, leaving him about half of his budget for finale pieces. However, the mortar pieces take more work than the finale pieces because each mortar needs to be prepared for launch individually.

“You light it, shoots up, awesome bang,” Luer said. “Cool effects, colors, all that jazz. But if you’ve got (four packs), you’ve got 96 things to individually load and light.”

People who don’t want to put in that level of work might be better off spending more money on finale pieces.

“With these, you can make a display, each box has its own display,” Luer said. “You can fuse 10 together and make a five- to 10-minute show. It just depends on if people want to spend hours out there touching and feeling and doing stuff like that or if they’d like to just have a real professional-looking show.”

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Brendan Lavell is a general assignment reporter for the Observer. He earned degrees in journalism and history at the University of Missouri. He has visited 48 of the 50 United States, has a black cat named Arya and roots for the Eagles, Flyers, Phillies, 76ers and Chelsea FC.

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