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Communities plan fireworks shows despite a supply chain slowdown

The U.S. is experiencing a fireworks shortage due to shipping and supplies from China
Published: Jun. 7, 2021 at 10:32 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD TWP., Ohio (WTVG) - As we approach the 4th of July, communities are making plans to celebrate despite headlines claiming a fireworks shortage.

Here in Northwest Ohio, the city of Toledo is the only local community to officially announce that it is canceling the fireworks show, for the second year in a row, citing supplier issues and a lack of ability to get what’s needed for the display.

Despite the shortage, many other communities are planning large celebrations, including Sylvania, Maumee/Perrysburg, Woodville, and Springfield Township.

The Springfield Township trustees made the decision to move forward with planning the Freedom Celebration back in January. The event is happening on June 26 at Homecoming Park. The gathering begins at 5 p.m. and will include food trucks and some activities for kids, with the fireworks set to begin around 10 p.m. Bob Bethel says he is happy that the event is a go after more than a year of COVID-19 restrictions.

“We’re all very excited about it. I think it will be packed because especially some bigger events will be canceled and we expect to have a lot of people there enjoying it,” says Bethel.

According to Miller Fireworks, a Holland company that sells wholesale fireworks and smaller products to the public, there is a global supply chain issue leading to the shortage. Miller Fireworks said it planned ahead to work directly with suppliers in China, giving them what they need for the season.

Miller Fireworks employee Greg Price says many of the fireworks manufacturing plants in China were shut down due to COVID-19 and did not get back online soon enough. Therefore, the amount of product available is less than in years past. In addition, getting the product overseas is costing a premium. The price for shipping containers is skyrocketing, and then once it arrives, many products -- not just fireworks -- are left sitting in shipping containers in port or still at sea. Moving them in trucks is also taking longer due to a lack of drivers.

Price says it’s a trickle-down, one that comes at a cost. This year, consumers walking into a fireworks store to buy supplies can expect to pay 30% more for their favorites than last year due to the ongoing issue.

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