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Phantom Fireworks

Phantom Fireworks

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WENATCHEE — Not enough money in the coffers to take a mini-vacation this holiday weekend? Why not stay home for the Fourth and shoot off some fireworks in the backyard instead?That's what Wenatchee Valley firework vendors hope will be the result of the year's dud economy.Many Wenatchee and Chelan County fireworks stands opened Sunday.

East Wenatchee fireworks stands had to wait until today to open due to a Douglas County fireworks ordinance that is more restrictive."These are just for tonight.

We'll have a big show with our families on the Fourth," said Stephanie Lovell, who was shopping with her boyfriend, Juan Izarraraz and their baby, Adriana, at a Phantom Fireworks stand in the Albertsons grocery parking lot on North Miller Street on Tuesday.

Izarraraz had a basket with a couple cone-shaped Volcanic Vortexes in it."We need to get a couple of these," he said, pointing to the Phantom Night Fright Assortment for $59.99.

"Look, they come with 3-D glasses!"Lovell said the couple will probably spend $150 to $200 this year on fireworks by the time July Fourth rolls around.Lots of families will spend $200 on fireworks and then come back and buy some more as the excitement builds July Fourth, said Shirley Barnes of East Wenatchee.

Barnes was one of four women helping customers at the Phantom Fireworks tent Tuesday.

All are members of the Living Word Church of God at 1315 Ninth St., Wenatchee.

The church has operated a fireworks stand in Wenatchee as a fundraiser for 28 years."It's unbelievable.

After July 1 when people get paid, they go crazy," she said.

According to the American Pyrotechnics Association, U.S.

residents spent $950 million on fireworks last year."It's like taking paper money and lighting it on fire," added Shari Carveth, another church member from Malaga.Denise Permin of Wenatchee had eager help from her children, Tyler, 10, and Brandi, 8, when she picked out some fireworks Tuesday.

Their basket was quickly filled with firework displays with names like Feast of Fire, Pearls of the Orient, Moondance Fountain and USA Salute.

The cost: $74.63."Usually I don't spend this much, but the kids have a way of sneaking things in the basket," Permin said."If they were free, we could get them all," said Tyler.Fireworks sales have been a profitable fundraiser for the church, said Barnes and Carveth, who are mother and daughter.

What effect the economy will have on sales is still to be seen."We've heard that people may stay home instead of going out of town.

That could be good," she said.Phantom Fireworks is one of a couple of national fireworks distributors that provide fireworks, tents, locations, permits and insurance for organizations and individuals looking for a fundraiser or extra cash.

The company claims organizations usually make between $3,000 and $6,000 in a week.TNT is a competing fireworks company that offers similar arrangements.

Marilee Ramirez said she was operating the TNT fireworks tent in the J.C.

Penney parking lot as a way to do something fun with her family while making a contribution to a victims of violent crime organization.

This is the first year she has operated a fireworks stand.

An insurance agent from Tri-Cities, Ramirez said she had no idea how much money she would make and wasn't overly concerned.

She's staying in a motorhome next to the tent with her four children, a niece and her parents."It's all new to us," she said.

"We just thought it would be a good experience."Rick Steigmeyer: [email protected]
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