Shoppers prepare for Fourth with fireworks purchases (w/video)
By BY JESSICA RODRIGO - JRODRIGO@VICAD.COM
July 1, 2014 at 2:01 a.m.
Working hard to celebrate the Fourth
Harold Bellanger, of Victoria, has worked at the Alamo Fireworks Megastore for nine years. He said he enjoys working with people and returns during New Year's, too.
Goliad and DeWitt counties have prohibited the use of aerial fireworks including "skyrockets with sticks" and "missiles with fins." Fireworks are prohibited within Victoria city limits. Fireworks cannot be set off in public roadways.
Need a place to explode fireworks?
Saxet Lakes, Timber Drive between Fordyce Road and Fox Road off U.S. Highway 59 South, will be open for the public to set off fireworks. Victoria County Fire Marshal Ron Pray said the park will be open from 5 p.m. to midnight Friday with fire trucks and EMS on site.
Ron and Emily Molder spent hundreds of dollars on their first shopping trip Tuesday to the Alamo Fireworks Megastore.
They plan to return before the Fourth of July to buy more.
"Every year, we do this," said Emily Molder, 43, of Inez.
They've been buying fireworks from John Svoboda since he operated out of one of the stands.
Once Svoboda, 62, of Inez, moved into the metal building off U.S. Highway 59, Ron Molder, 50, brought his insatiable shopping appetite for all things that go boom.
"I'm the pyro in the family," Molder said with a laugh.
He and his wife pushed around a cart in the air-conditioned unit, looking at artillery shells, canisters and their favorite aerial cake, the X-Cel.
"It's got 33 shots in it," Emily Molder said.
This year, the couple will spend their holiday in Lindenau with their family.
She said they live down the street from Svoboda's store and usually shoot their own show there. But since they won't have family in Inez to entertain, they thought they would bring the entertainment to the family.
"We always try to do something for the adults and the kids," Emily Molder said.
Kathy McMahon brought her daughters with her to get a look at the Alamo Fireworks selection. Between the 140 varieties of fireworks, she said they were just getting an early idea about what to buy later.
They used to attend the big aerial fireworks show in Corpus Christi but now live in Edna.
"We're making our own small show," McMahon, 44, said.
Her daughters, Elizabeth and Christina McMahon, were trying to pick their favorites.
"I like the big sparklers," Christina McMahon said. "I like to move it around and make swirls with it."
Christina McMahon was looking at the 36-inch sparklers, while her sister was having a hard time deciding.
"I like the loud ones," she said as she looked at the colorful assorted packages.
Svoboda said he's brought in more fireworks this year and anticipates the last rush of customers to shop his store Thursday and Friday until midnight.
He'll keep the store open until the last shell or sparkler is purchased.
"I try to give good customer service," Svoboda said. "If they come in sooner, I like to walk through the store with them."
Buying fireworks from a reputable dealer is an important safety tip for everyone, said Ron Pray, Victoria County fire marshal.
"We just want them to be safe," he said.
Supervision is also essential to staying safe on the Fourth of July, he said. There's a lot of potential for injury when people are celebrating with fireworks.
The recent rains have lessened the immediate fire risks, he said, but there will still be fire trucks at Saxet Lakes as a precaution.
He said Saxet Lakes, where the public is allowed to explode fireworks, is a prime place to watch the show from the Victoria Community Center, too.
"It's a Friday night, there are grills in the park, and you can see it over the trees there," Pray said.