Fireworks sales may soar with annual displays canceled for ’20

The big white tents have taken up shop across the island.

The fuse on firework season has been lit in Oak Harbor. Other municipalities and unincorporated areas of Island County are expected to follow soon.

While the big fireworks shows are canceled in Oak Harbor and South Whidbey this year because of COVID-19, residents of Island County still have the option of putting on their own fireworks shows — as long as they follow their local ordinances.

Each jurisdiction has different dates for when fireworks can be discharged. This year also marks the last year Langley residents will be allowed to set off fireworks before a ban goes into effect next year.

According to Island County ordinance, in unincorporated areas fireworks can only be discharged from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 3-5. On Independence Day however, the restriction is extended to midnight.

In Oak Harbor, fireworks have already been permitted since Sunday and will continue through July 5. The hours for discharging fireworks are 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. except on July 4, when the restriction is extended to midnight.

Langley and Coupeville ordinances only allow for fireworks discharges between 9 a.m. to midnight on July 4. Next year Langley will implement a ban on fireworks.

Because the fireworks shows in Freeland and Oak Harbor are canceled, Oak Harbor Rotary Club member Brian Jones said he expects more foot traffic in the club’s fireworks sales tent, located once again in the Rite Aid parking lot.

“A lot of people will be looking for the opportunity to have fun at their house,” Jones said.

The club is adapting to COVID-19 by having Rotary volunteers in the tent wear masks. Also, according to Jones, the club can provide masks for customers who do not have one.

Jones said the volunteers will also advise people inside the tent to maintain social distancing.

“Sometimes it’s difficult,” Jones said. “We ask people to be especially courteous this year with everything going on.”

Proceeds from the sales of fireworks go to Rotary Club’s charities such as the Food4Kids backpack program and student scholarships.

Jones said everything sold inside the booth qualifies as legal and doesn’t violate any of the city’s legal restrictions.

Illegal fireworks include firecrackers, bottle rockets, missiles and rockets, M-80s or larger fireworks, salutes, cherry bombs, tennis ball bombs and pipe bombs.

It is also illegal to detonate fireworks that have been tampered with or altered.

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