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HINSDALE, N.H. — Despite the cost of fireworks increasing, sales are still up over last year during the busiest time of year at Phantom Fireworks.

“They’re not going anywhere,” said Mary Bebey, manager of Phantom Fireworks. “This weekend, we were packed. I mean, they were parked in the field out there. Every register was running.”

Not every item is more expensive, Bebey said. She declined to go into specific detail on financial information.

According to reports, prices for fireworks can be up as much as 35 percent over last year. Demand has increased since shows were cancelled during the COVID-19 pandemic and shipping prices also have risen.

Higher costs caused Vermont Symphony Orchestra to forego fireworks for its festival this year. However, in Grafton, the community raised funds to allow for fireworks at the festival stop there Sunday.

Bebey has seen customers from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Vermont. She noted the lack of sales tax in New Hampshire.

Also, some types of fireworks available in the state are not in others. People “need to check with local laws before bringing stuff back,” said Hinsdale Fire Chief Charles Rataj.


Sales at Phantom Fireworks are strongest ahead of July 4 and start tapering off in September at the end of summer, Bebey said. She also notices customers buying fireworks for New Year’s celebrations, gender reveal parties and weddings.

This marks her 20th year of employment at the store. She started as a cashier and worked her way up to management.

“I love it,” she said. “We have a lot of repeat customers and they want to come in and see us, and we just know them and they know us.”

Phantom Fireworks provides all customers with a safety pamphlet. During its busiest weekends, a staff member will be at a table explaining how to properly use fireworks.

Hinsdale has three fireworks stores, making it a popular place to pick up supplies.

On Monday, Andrea Welch of Iowa and her family unpacked a cart full of fireworks at Phantom Fireworks in preparation of a family reunion on July 4.

“It’s his baby,” she said, pointing to her husband.

Welch said they have family in the area.

Randy Hawk of Massachusetts looked for roman candles, bottle rockets, sparklers and items for a grand finale. This marked his second year in a row coming to the store ahead of July 4.

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Steve Cook of Connecticut was hitting up several fireworks stores in the area as he geared up for a party on a private lake he’s been going to for six years now. Usually, he said, the shows last about 25 to 30 minutes.

Communities have different noise ordinances people should be mindful of when setting off fireworks, Rataj said. Hinsdale prohibits loud noise after 10 p.m. so he anticipates fireworks will be going off from 9 to 10 p.m. during the holiday.

Written permission is required to set off fireworks on someone else’s property.

“It’s against the law to just show up on someone’s land and start shooting off fireworks,” Rataj said.

In public spaces in New Hampshire, fireworks shows must be run by a licensed professional.

Rataj said he highly encourages people to read the directions of fireworks before setting them off. He advised against drinking alcohol beforehand.

“When you’re intoxicated, your thought process is a little delayed,” he said.

Rataj also urges people to point fireworks straight in the air and not at animals, neighbors or things.

Hinsdale will host its July 4 celebration at Heritage Park with food and music from 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday. Rataj said people can come and check out the fireworks there instead of buying them.

Fireworks may be fun for humans. However, their furry friends might not like the exploding sounds so much.

Maya Richmond, executive director at Windham County Humane Society, suggests getting identification tags and chips for pets. The July 4 season tends to be the “number one time dogs get lost,” she said.

“They escape,” she said. “They’re scared.”

Richmond highly recommends owners leave their pets at home when they attend fireworks shows. She said dogs don’t particularly enjoy large crowds and the events.

“It can be disorienting and confusing,” she said. “If they’re at home and your dog is scared of noises, I would advise that people try to find a comfortable spot on the interior of the house.”

Richmond said dogs can be crated or kept in a basement in a comfortable way. She suggests setting them up with water and blankets, closing the windows and putting on soothing music to reduce or muffle the sound of fireworks.

“Do not leave them in a hot car,” she said.

Some dogs might get “really petrified” after hearing fireworks and urinate inside a home, Richmond said. She recommends not scolding the dog in this situation.

If a neighbor has been shooting off fireworks, Richmond encourages people to check their yard for old fireworks or debris before taking their dog out. Dogs like some novelty and sometimes eat things they shouldn’t, she said.

Also, Richmond suggests cats should be brought indoors when fireworks are going off.