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Rising prices and staffing shortages will affect July 4 weekend

The American Pyrotechnics Association reported that overall costs across the fireworks industry are up 35% and one thing is to blame, inflation.

MINNEAPOLIS — Editor's Note: The video above originally aired on June 29, 2021.

The Fourth of July weekend is just under two weeks away and many people are trying to figure out how much fireworks cost at local retailers, and where they can go see them at nearby celebrations.

But one problem stands in the way, inflation.

With U.S. inflation hitting a new four-decade high of 8.6% last month, industries across the country have taken hit after hit. Prices continue to rise, and this has led to employee layoffs at companies, even in the firework industry.

The American Pyrotechnics Association reported that overall costs are currently up 35% across the industry.

James Baxter, owner of Minnesota Pyrotechnics, predicts that inflation’s effect on the industry will become more apparent with cuts to the length of fireworks celebrations across the metro next month.

“For the 20-30 minutes shows, you will see a 2-3-minute reduction,” Baxter said.

Inflation has also caused many explosives companies to go out of business, but Baxter says that staffing shortages are to blame.

“A lot of companies haven’t found employees. Not as many companies are around anymore,” Baxter said.

When firework suppliers have staffing issues and raise their prices due to inflation, event organizers for July 4 celebrations across the state must react to these changes.

Minneapolis’ annual “Red, White and Boom” celebration is the latest local Independence Day event canceled due to staffing shortages and nearby construction. This is the third straight year that the event was canceled since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

And while COVID-19 caused many July 4 celebrations to shut down in previous years, Baxter said he believes the pandemic will have no effect on events across the metro this year.

Baxter also said that people hosting their own small celebrations at home should find no trouble purchasing fireworks at pop-up shops or local retailers.

“Stuff is still flying off the shelves,” Baxter said.

However, not all fireworks and explosives are legal in Minnesota. For a detailed list on what you can and cannot buy in the state, visit the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s page.

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