A lot of money is on the table, even though North Carolina may not see the same amount of gross sales as less strict neighbors South Carolina and Tennessee, where a wider variety of more dangerous fireworks are offered for sale.
Outreach for Jesus of Hamlet recognizes this, and decided to try to put some of that money to the Lord’s work, church member Jimmy Smith explained.
He, his wife Pam, son Christian and two daughters Emily and Cassie have manned the TNT fireworks tent in the parking lot of the Rockingham Wal-Mart during the lead-up to Independence Day.
“This is a fundraiser for our Dream Center, which helps people that are trying to recover from drugs and alcohol,” Smith said. “It gives them a place to stay and some rules to go by to try to get their lives back in order. If they come in with the right attitude, it can really change their life.”
He explained the Dream Center has two houses, which operate somewhat like a half-way house or an in-patient rehabilitation center. It is currently serving eight people.
Outreach for Jesus has a tent in Wadesboro as well, he said, and they bring in a couple of thousand dollars a year at each tent.
“This is like a happy thing,” Pam said. “People come up and they’re smiling and happy. It’s a family kind of thing.”
“The kids - they all come in excited,” Jimmy said. “They try to get their moms to buy more, but the county ain’t doing that well right now. The fireworks aren’t selling so great, we’re hoping it’ll pick up over the next couple of days.
However, not everybody is always smiling and happy, according to Jimmy.
“We get some that come up and they’re looking for the fireworks that are illegal,” he said. “They want the kinds the municipalities set off. I have to tell them we don’t do that type of thing, and they’ll say, ‘Fine, I’m going to South Carolina.’ You’ve just got to let them go, and hope they don’t get caught using the ones you’re not supposed to have here.
“For the most part, though, everybody’s just trying to have fun on the Fourth.”
Mark McDonald said fireworks have been a tradition for him on the holiday.
“They remind me of the past,” he said. “The whole family, we used to go see the fireworks. It’s sort of holding on to a little bit of the past.”
His girlfriend Angie Kuffel said she too enjoys the fireworks, but this year she’s a little tentative.
“It’s been so hot and dry, I’m almost scared to shoot any off this year,” she said. “I’m kind of scared we’ll burn the whole house down.”
Her anxieties didn’t stop them from picking up a couple of items at the tent, though.
For mother and son Diane McKenzie and Josh Smith, there are different desirable elements in a good fireworks display.
“I like the noise,” Josh said.
“Me, I’m all about the colors,” Diane said. “I like to see some pretty colors.”
Their compromise is simple, mom explained, they buy items that offer both, “and he goes outside with his dad and I watch through the window. Let all the boys go outside, and all the girls can stay inside and watch.”