What $20 Will Get You at an Oklahoma Fireworks Stand
11:00 AM EDT on July 2, 2015
The 4th of July is coming up and what better way to celebrate than in the E.R. consoling a 4-year-old who’s hand has just been blown apart by a fistful of Randy Dandies, as my trashy neighbors did last year. That's what America is all about.
Yes, explosives from the tiniest snapper to the biggest bomber capture the patriotic awe and jingoistic shock as we recreate the American bid for independence from Europe by lighting up Chinese-made firecrackers and going to town in a spectacular recreation of the battles fought therein. Happy birthday, United States! (It’s our birthday, right?)
TLO editor Patrick thought that it would be fun to send me to the edge of town and smuggle back in some of the top of the line, totes primo explosives, maybe even scoring some of the classics like Tijuana Toilet Cleaners, Flaming Dragon Biscuits, or everyone’s favorite, the Beverley Hills Chihuahua. With a strict budget of $20, that was more than enough, right?
Not that I didn’t get good, wholesome items for my money, I did. Many of my neighborhood’s smaller, less jaded denizens (read: toddlers) will love the items I picked up. But if you’re expecting the whiz-bang delights of notable fireworks such as Skittle Beans, Brown Sugars, Dimple Dusters, El Paso Knobjobbers, Porcupine Merkins, Filet-O-Flames, Screaming Diz Busters or DeVry Diplomas, keep moving on, son.
Now I’m not sure how it is for our out-of-state readers, but it’s apparently illegal to buy, possess or sell fireworks within the city limits of Oklahoma City. So, much like the young rebels in the film Footloose, if Footloose was about little kids running around with sparklers like idiots, you have to travel into the country, past the county line where, helpfully enough, there are numerous stands set-up and ready to serve you your explosive entertainment.
My party and I stopped at the first one we saw, eager to get out of Texas Chainsaw Massacre territory as fast as we could. The teen behind the counter was very helpful, answering all of my questions like “Does this go boom?” and “Ya’ll got a bathroom?”
With only $20 to spend, you end up mostly perusing the bottom shelf where they keep things in the under $5 range. For example, I picked up a 12-pack of Blockbuster Smoke Balls, a 12-pack of Whistlin’ Chasers, and a BOGO 50-pack of Maximum Load Blockbusters, which I preferred over Black Cats simply because these looked like they came from a shady, less reputable factory and that equals more danger and excitement!
The kids I were hanging out with were asking about snaps, those little pellets of gunpowder that you throw on the ground and they, well, snap. It was a pleasure to know those were not only still cool with the under-10 crowd, but still very cheap at about 50 cents a box. We loaded up on them, ready to pockmark a concrete walkway with black gunpowder stains a plenty.
For increased unpredictability, adding a few Night Crawlers—spinning pots of flame and sparks—and a Monkey Driving—a monkey driving a car that, I’m guessing, shoots sparks from the tailpipe—all took me to about $15. With the remaining couple of bucks, I decided to treat myself to a flaming Pirate Sword, if only to wave it around like Ronnie James Dio in the video for “Holy Diver.”
Just to reiterate the law, per the City of OKC webpage, it is “illegal to sell, possess or discharge fireworks within the majority of cities around the state. Specifically, the following metro areas do not allow lighting fireworks within their limits: Del City, Edmond, Midwest City, Moore, Norman, Oklahoma City, and Yukon.”
However, here are some area cities that do allow fireworks: Choctaw (from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. July 1-3 and 9 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. July 4th), Okarche (from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. July 3-5) and Mustang (from 3 to 10 p.m. June 27th - July 3rd and 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 4th). So drive out there, if you must.
If caught in the city, violators can face a fine of $167 and have their stash confiscated but, let’s be real: the cops ain’t coming. I’ve called the cops before on kids shooting fireworks in the street and that was in the middle of November. You think they’re gonna come a runnin’ on July 4th? Please. So go nuts, kids! Assert your freedom! No blood for oil!
In the end, if I could walk away from this experience with any piece of advice, it would be to bring more than $20. Bring a few extra bucks so you can get your kids the good stuff. Maybe pick up some Ample Bosoms, Belphegor’s Showers, Red River Rivalries, Glowing Locnars, Harlin’ Ellisons, Streaming Catechisms, Custer’s Revenge, and the Arby’s Roast Beef and Cheddar (with Extra Horsey Sauce). You deserve it, your kids deserve it, and dammit, America deserves it.
Oh yeah: I forgot to mention that with my purchase they threw in three free sparklers. So that’s something. And in recognition of that, here’s some B.O.C.: