FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Hundreds of pyrotechnics enthusiasts gathered at the Grand Wayne Convention Center Thursday for Day 4 of the National Fireworks Association’s 2023 Fall Expo.
Booths from firework companies across the world filled the main convention hall to feature their fireworks.
Ed Vasel, vice president of the National Fireworks Association (NFA), said China, where fireworks originated, still dominates the industry, even though a majority of the companies at the expo are based in the United States.
“There is little to zero manufacturing taking place in the United States with fireworks,” Vasel said.
However, some companies at the expo featured products made outside of China, including Kansas-based Garrett’s Fireworks, which featured fireworks manufactured in Brazil.
“They have unique effects in Brazil that we haven’t seen out of China yet,” said Eric Garrett, CEO of Garrett’s Fireworks.
While many of the attendees enjoy the spectacle of fireworks, Vasel and others emphasized the importance of being safe while using fireworks, which is one of the main themes of the 2023 Fall Expo.
A 2022 report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission showed over 10,000 people made trips to the emergency room with fireworks injuries and 11 people died from fireworks injuries in 2022.
According to the report, the most common types of fireworks involved with those injuries included firecrackers and sparklers.
Paul Smith, a board member with the American Pyrotechnics Safety & Education Foundation, said in order for people to fully enjoy fireworks, people should utilize safe habits so the risk of injury is minimized.
“We’re after people really having a good time and having fun, but the best way to do that is through safe procedures and practices,” Smith said.
Both Smith and Vasel said people should keep a safe distance when fireworks are being used, and Smith also suggested keeping a water source, such as a hose or a bucket, nearby and wearing eye protection.
“Distance is your biggest friend when lighting fireworks,” Vasel said.
One opportunity the NFA will offer that allows the public to watch fireworks from a safe distance will be Friday when the last product demo of the expo takes place.
All previous product demos were unavailable to the public, but Vasel said the public will have the chance to see fireworks that use shells the size of bowling balls.
The free product demo show will take place at 8:00 p.m. Friday at Kruse Plaza in Auburn.
Those interested in going are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets to watch from the parking lot on the interstate side of Kruse Plaza.