As Sterling Avery what she loves about the 4th of July, and smile quickly appears on her face. Her response, ??the fireworks are awesome. I mean they explode and they are loud and colorful." Avery may be a little biased. She and her husband run one of the many fireworks stands that pop up in parking lots across Northern Michigan this time of year. Few do more business statewide, than Avery's TNT fireworks tent in Interlochen. And this year, the crowds and the cash have been coming in droves, and walking out with arms full of fireworks.
Avery says the rush has been focused on a few items, "Oh absolutely, bottle rockets, mortars, have been flying off the shelves, they really have." Avery says so far this year has been exceptional. The reason she believes is, for the first time, what were once taboo fireworks here in the state are now legal. A change in Michigan's law has changed what stands like Avery's can sell.
Avery says "now you can buy aerials, mortars, your artillery shells, bottle rockets, firecrackers, anything that goes up and goes boom you can probably get it." The big difference in the law may be as simple as that. Legal Michigan fireworks used to be grounded. Literally, if it left the ground it was probably illegal but that??s not the case anymore. In fact, almost 3/4 of the fireworks Avery has on display this year, were probably banned a year ago. That's a pretty big change that boosted her bottom line. But it??s also a pretty big change for anyone looking to light one of them up. After all with new fireworks, come new risks.Avery's advice is pretty simple to her customers. She reminds them that "you need to read the warnings, the labels, do what they say, don't hold them in your hands, don't light them and stand right next to them because they will go and up and explode everywhere."What's legal isn't the only change you'll notice this year. You'll also be paying more. You may not notice it on the sticker price for a package, but you probably will when you check out. Avery explains that in addition to the state's normal 6% sales tax, customers this year will also be paying an additional 6% firework safety tax. The new safety tax was part of the compromise made in Lansing. It could end up paying off for local fire departments. The tax revenue, which some predict will be in the 8 to 10 million dollar range; will be used to help fund fire departments statewide.