30 Jun 2010

What You Can Legally Blow Up This Weekend

Originally Uploaded to flickr by MonsterPhotoISO

The Fourth of July is my favorite holiday (after my birthday; tied with Easter). I love fireworks more than most things (although, as you’ll learn later today, this is not an opinion shared by everyone) and it’s a great mid-summer chance to get together with friends for a bbq and some beer. (Or, in my case this year, a low country boil.)

My first Fourth of July in DC was the summer of ’92. Times were different back then. You could bring coolers – or even kegs – to the Mall, hang out all day and drink and snack and have your America Day celebration right there without anyone batting an eyelash. I even recall some folks bringing couches down to camp out for the day. Of course, times have changed, and the Mall isn’t nearly as much fun as it used to be, and so more often than not, I end up catching what I can from my patio, and then heading to Lincoln Park for the unofficial display there.

The thing is, the Lincoln Park display is by and large illegal. In the District of Coumbia, the only legal “fireworks” are sparklers less than 20 inches, torches, box fire, fountains, cones, dip sticks, non-poisonous snakes, paper novelty items, colored lights, and paper caps. So basically nothing more explosive than a Christmas popper.

Everything else including firecrackers or fireworks that explode, such as cherry bombs, salutes, Roman candles, floral shells, and artillery shells is illegal.

You’ve probably noticed that around this time of year, several temporary stands are erected for you to buy your snakes and sparklers. Here is a map listing all of the licensed vendors this year.

Whatever choices you make, be careful out there. Our houses are old and very close together; many are made of wood and/or have highly flammable roofs. Be mindful of children and pets. And if you’d rather be safe than sorry, walk the few blocks down to the Mall.

Happy Fourth, everyone!

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4 responses to “What You Can Legally Blow Up This Weekend”

  1. I think couches were still making appearances in ’95. At least near the Washington Monument. Imagine toting that along!

    Thanks for the warnings…I can hardly wait (not) for the madness to begin near Potomac Ave metro. I don’t think the fireworks stand that’s usually in front of the Safeway is up yet. I’m hoping the manager, who has finally done some basic landscaping out and is hosting colon cancer bbq’s out front, will be a good neighbor and save us all a little grief with one less stand.

  2. Jon says:

    Careful with your “walk the few blocks down to the Mall” too. Parts of the Hill tend to look like a warzone on the evening of July 4th, including C Street NE. It can be quite dangerous to walk around, sadly.

    Also, if you have your trash and recycling cans in public space, you may want to consider wheeling them out of site or reach for the evening to prohibit anyone from using them as luanching mechanisms.

  3. Liz says:

    Nichole, what do I do if the morning after, I see shells or firecrackers on the sidewalk or the park? Should I assume they are spent?

  4. Jon says:

    We can gather them all and have a bonfire.

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