Gwinnett County residents have taken this year’s Fourth of July celebrations into their own hands.
While cities throughout the county have opted to either postpone or cancel their annual fireworks celebrations due to the coronavirus pandemic, many residents have opted to buy their own fireworks.
Phantom Fireworks of Buford Assistant Manager Sabriena Shattles said her store has seen a 20% increase in sales this year compared to last year for the month of June. Phantom Fireworks is the largest provider of fireworks in Georgia.
“Some people are saying a lot of fireworks shows are canceled due to COVID-19 and so they are wanting to do their own show and be more safe at their own house this year instead of going off with their friends and things like that,” Shattles said.
Esperanza Flores, a cashier at a Phantom Fireworks stand on Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road, said she’s also noticed more foot traffic since the stand opened last week.
“People don’t want to see their kids bored, so I think they’re going to be making shows more so in their backyards,” Flores said. “I’ve seen a lot of families pull up — more than usual.”
Flores said the most popular types of fireworks she’s sold are the artillery shells fireworks and the cakes fireworks. Shattles on the other hand said most people have bought the 500 Gram Repeaters at the Buford location — the biggest fireworks sold at the store.
Seemingly, the only Fourth of July celebration close to Gwinnett residents this year on the day of will be at Lanier Islands. The festivities will start Friday with DJ Sterling performing at Fin Dunker from 3-9 p.m.
Lanier Islands will hold a number of other activities all weekend-long, but its fireworks show is set to begin at 10 p.m. on Saturday at the LandShark Landing stage.
On Tuesday, the city of Lawrenceville announced that its traditional July fireworks event would now take place Sept. 11 on the Lawrenceville Lawn in conjunction with the city’s fall concert.
“The renovation of the Lawrenceville Lawn will provide expanded facilities and a beautiful permanent stage for the community to enjoy our popular concert series,” Mayor David Still said.
“Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, our concert series was moved to the fall due to the lawn renovations. We are thrilled to reopen the Lawrenceville Lawn with a premiere concert and fireworks after canceling our traditional July fireworks event in support of public health.”
In May, Sugar Hill officials also postponed their patriotic event, Sparks in the Park, to Aug. 1 at E.E. Robinson Park. Star Spangled Snellville was postponed to Sept. 5 on the Snellville Towne Green. And Braselton moved its parade, fireworks show and festival that is normally held around the Fourth of July to Labor Day weekend.
Snellville Tourism and Trade Executive Director Kelly McAloon previously said city officials knew July 4 would be too soon to have a large gathering of people. All cities with upcoming events have several new health and safety measures built in to their plans to accommodate social distancing.
Meanwhile, Duluth, Suwanee and Norcross canceled their Fourth of July celebrations altogether. Lilburn’s Sparkle in the Park event was postponed in early June, but a new date has not been announced.
According to a report provided by the Gwinnett County Fire Department, there have been 11 fireworks-related incidents so far this year, but only one in the month of June.
According to the report, crews responded to a report of a grass/woods fire caused by fireworks on Collins Hill Road in Lawrenceville on June 19, but no property damage or injuries were reported.
The fire department also released a fireworks safety news release Wednesday.
“We would also want to spotlight outdoor grilling safety and water safety, as many residents will be celebrating outdoors,” Public Information Officer Tommy Rutledge said.