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Americans honor their freedom with patriotism and pyrotechnics. But this July 4, the skies will be quiet in dozens of cities.
Salt Lake City canceled its fireworks celebrations due to drought and wildfire concerns. Minneapolis and Sacramento, California, couldn’t find enough workers. Phoenix could not get fireworks due to shipping delays.
Despite “huge demand,” suppliers were only able to fill about 75% of the fireworks ordered, according to American Pyrotechnics Association president Steve Pelkey.
“The West Coast has probably been hit the hardest because those companies that are relying on the Port of L.A., a lot of those companies have been waiting two, three or four months for their inventory,” Pelkey told CBS News.
Jim Souza’s fifth generation family company, Pyro Spectaculars, nearly went out of business during the two years of pandemic lockdowns and canceled shows. This year, his fireworks barely made it to the U.S.
“They should have been here in April, and they just arrived,” Souza told CBS News. “Ninety percent of the fireworks come from China and we were really relying on the last few containers to get here.”
Some cities are choosing to illuminate the night sky with drones or laser beams this holiday, but whether it’s fireworks or another alternative, organizers want viewers to enjoy the show.
“Come together with family and friends, just celebrate, look to the skies,” Souza said. “I’ll do the rest for you.”