Fireworks stands gear up for New Year's Eve celebration

NO FIREWORKS ALLOWED

The following counties have banned the sale or use of aerial fireworks. A violation of the ban is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500.

• DeWitt

• Goliad

They have been open since Dec. 19, and Jessica Potts is ready.

She and her family have been selling fireworks since the 1990s. They are old hands at this business and nestled into their plywood booth at 4215 U.S. Business 59 they are ready for the crowd of eager fans of pyrotechnic displays to mark the start of another new year.

Potts's mother, Angie Potts, will show the men the packs of artillery shells, the variety packs, the sparklers that would dwarf a small child with the practiced hand of a salesman.

She'll display the merchandise, and the customers will imagine the colorful explosions displayed on the side of the box, eager to show their friends and family and plunk down the money.

"You don't push people, but I always let people know what's out there," Angie Potts said.

She has seen people plunk down hundreds of dollars to bring home the little explosive bundles of light.

The artillery shells are always big sellers, and the children love little things that glow and buzz and zip around the yard while they squeal with glee.

The city of Victoria doesn't allow fireworks in the city limits, so the fireworks stands set up on the edge of town to sell their wares. Those found transporting or setting off fireworks in city limits may face fines up to $250, said Victoria Fire Investigator Frank Naranjo.

People may ignite fireworks at Saxet Lake Park, a county park where the Victoria County Fire Department and other fire departments will be in case anything catches fire, said Victoria County Fire Marshal Ron Pray. People may also explode fireworks at private county residences, but may not set off fireworks on or near public roads.

Meanwhile, the fireworks stands are gearing up to sell thousands of dollars worth of merchandise.

These places do the most business this time of year, customers flocking to the lots from about three to four days before New Year's Eve until the end of New Year's Day, Jessica Potts said.

Potts said she thinks people are trying to impress their friends and neighbors, but they're also trying to mark the passing of another year with bright-colored fire that will make their neighbors gasp and will stay in the memories of their children for years to come.

Once they close down on New Year's Eve, Potts and her family will take some fireworks to one of the legal locations and set them off. Potts already knows the perfect set of artillery shells to bring to show the family, she said.

"It's called The Battlefield. They said the world was going to end, but now we'll have The Battlefield instead," she said.