If you drive through an unincorporated part of the county, you’ll probably see a fireworks stand or two doing brisk business.
These temporary storefronts, festooned with strings of lights and colorful signs advertising their explosive wares, pop up like mushrooms at this time of year.
Customers who crowd around the stands typically are smiling and laughing, anticipating that their purchases will help them have a fun holiday.
Few spend much time considering that their party could have an unhappy ending.
But for every celebrant who stages a private fireworks show, there are other county residents who spend their holiday waiting and watching, dreading the rapid popping of indiscriminately tossed strings of firecrackers and the whine of rockets fired in total disregard of dry underbrush and unprotected rooftops.
These people “celebrate” the Fourth by making sure they have their water hoses handy and their cellphones charged.
They check the breeze with regularity to see if it carries the scent of smoke.
On average, the county responds to more than 20 fireworks-related fires a year, even though officials tell us that fireworks are illegal in more than 90 percent of towns and cities across the county. Officials said roughly eight to 10 injuries from fireworks require a medical transport.
County residents who want to use fireworks need to confirm their legality before using them, Denton County Fire Marshal Jody Gonzalez advised.
“Call and check [if they are allowed] — not only the city where you live, but your homeowner’s association; they too, might issue their own violations.”
Officials said it’s illegal to shoot fireworks on county roads and if caught, you will be issued a citation. The violations are generally for littering and reckless damage and destruction, both Class C misdemeanors that can carry fines of up to $500.
“I’ve had people get trash bags full of firework debris from their property, and they never shot a single firework off,” Gonzalez said. “Be cautious of your neighbors and make sure you have plenty of room on your own property before firing.”
It’s also illegal to shoot fireworks from any U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or Texas Parks and Wildlife Department property, Gonzalez said.
Perhaps the best way to celebrate, and one of the safest, is to attend a public fireworks display.
The annual fireworks show sponsored by the Denton Noon Kiwanis Club is a great example. This year’s show will be held at Apogee Stadium, so if you haven’t paid a visit to the new facility yet, Thursday’s celebration will provide a great opportunity.
Live music will start at 6 p.m., and the fireworks will begin at 9:30 p.m.
All parking near Fouts Field is still free, but it will cost $10 to park in Victory Hall parking at Apogee Stadium or $5 to get a spot in the grass near the stadium.
Officials are asking those attending not to bring coolers. Concession stand items will be available at Apogee Stadium.
“All we are asking is to break even — anything we get in parking that goes over will be donated to the Children’s Clinic,” said Hank Dickenson, lead organizer of the event.
The Denton County Kiwanis Children’s Clinic provides low-cost and no-cost medical and dental care and prescription assistance to disadvantaged children.
Other area public fireworks displays will include one planned Thursday night by the Lake Cities as the climax to a daylong celebration at City Park in Lake Dallas, 101 E. Hundley Drive. There will also be a parade, live music and plenty of other activities beginning at 9 a.m.
The annual “Red White & Lewisville” fireworks show will be held Thursday starting at about 9:30 p.m. The best viewing area will be on the south side of Vista Ridge Mall, between the mall and the Sam Rayburn Tollway, according to a press release from the city.
Why not celebrate Independence Day by attending a public fireworks show? It’s a great way to enjoy a safe and happy Fourth and give your neighbors more peace of mind.