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Fireworks sales sparking again ahead of New Year’s holiday
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Jason Sillay, owner of Xtreme Xplosives Fireworks, and his wife Sara, chief financial officer of Xtreme Xplosives Fireworks, double-bag 14 packs of sparklers, which total to 2,016 individual sparklers, for a customer in Gainesville on Wednesday. - photo by David Barnes

When the year draws to a close, fireworks start flying off the shelves.

Jason Sillay, owner of Xtreme Xplosives Fireworks in Gainesville, said the final two days of the year represent the second-busiest time of year for the business outside of the Fourth of July holiday.

It’s been steadily picking up since Dec. 10, but this week will be the time Sillay’s Riverside Drive business starts to boom.

“Typically we do about 40 percent of the sales for New Year’s Eve that you’ll see on July 4. Considerably slower, but still extremely busy,” he said.

One of the big sellers is the Excalibur, a reloadable mortar kit with 24 shells. Other customers gravitated toward the multishot cakes, a cluster of explosives with a single fuse.

“We kind of suggest a pack of mortars, then one of the assortment packs that have a little bit of everything in it and then maybe a large cake for your grand finale,” Sillay said.

Gainesville Police Sgt. Kevin Holbrook said fireworks cannot be used after 9 p.m. on most days out of the year.

“On New Year’s Eve, fireworks may be used until 1 a.m. Other days with exceptions are Jan. 1, July 3 and July 4, (when) fireworks may be used until midnight,” he said.

Sillay’s fireworks business is dormant from January through April, though some of his most popular offseason items are sparklers and gender-reveal items for couples expecting a child.

The Hall County Sheriff’s Office said fireworks cannot be ignited on roadways or within 100 yards of a hospital, nursing home, prison, nuclear power plant or gas station.

“Those choosing to set off fireworks are encouraged to consider several factors, which include environmental concerns such as a drought,” the sheriff’s office said. “Also, it is highly suggested that a water source be readily available in the event of an accidental fire.”

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