WINSLOW — With commercial fireworks shows across the state canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, a local store manager said his business has seen an increase in customers looking to host their own fireworks shows at home for the Fourth of July.

At Pyro City Maine in Winslow, manager Vern Carlow said that business picked up in comparison to other years. The business is open year-round, providing for occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries and gender-reveal parties for expecting families, which Carlow said is a rising trend in his shop.

“Business is booming,” Carlow said. “We’ve definitely seen a lot of new customers along with our regulars.”

The local chain has other locations in Edgecomb, Farmington, Manchester and Presque Isle. To purchase fireworks in the state of Maine, customers must be 21. At Pyro City, with every purchase, the customer is given an informational brochure that lists safety measures, state laws and tips on how to have a safe and successful fireworks show.

It is recommended that customers consult their local fire department to see if consumer fireworks are allowed. They also provide a brochure on how to best protect pets while fireworks are going off.

“With all of the commercial shows being canceled, people are doing their own shows at home,” Carlow said. “We try to make sure that we play it safe and don’t give somebody something that’s so big that it’s going to annoy the neighbors or get them in trouble with their neighbors.”


At the China Road shop, there’s a large assortment of fireworks, including cakes, or multi-shot aerials, which come at different sizes and prices. A cake has a single fuse, and once that fuse is exposed and lit, the contents will begin firing. Outside of sparklers and firecrackers, these are the most popular consumer fireworks.

“Customers usually spend about $150-$175,” Carlow said. “(What you get) depends on where you spend it.”

The store is separated in sections by price and size of fireworks, sparklers and poppers. Some cakes sell for $25 to $30, while another set can sell for $115. Each package explains how many shots are included and how long it should take for all of them to go off. If a customer would like to see what each pack can do, a television monitor is available to display what the specific item will do in the air.

According to the Office of State Fire Marshal and Maine Forest Service, fireworks may only be set off between 9 a.m. and 12:30 a.m. on the Fourth of July and must be placed in a clean area, away from houses, dry leaves, grass and other potentially flammable materials.

Carlow recommends setting them up on a hard flat surface with heavy rocks, bricks or cement blocks to help stabilize them.

Paula Massey of Unity Township said that she’s been purchasing fireworks for nearly six years. For the holiday weekend, she said her family is gathering and her husband has a set up for the fireworks that she purchased, including morning glories, a type of sparkler, and all-in-one fireworks.

“They’re friendly and they’re cheap and they always have what we want,” Massey said. “We are having our family and friends over. I have a nephew here from Florida. Everybody has stayed away because of COVID-19, so we’re all going to get together.”

A regular at Pyro City for six years, Massey said that she continues to come back because of the prices and management.

“They’re really good about it here,” Massey said. “If you want to know what something’s like or have questions, you ask (Carlow) and he’ll set it up so you can see what it’s like.”

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