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Nonprofits start firework sales in Las Vegas Valley

With fireworks sales underway in Clark County, nonprofits are in the midst of a busy week of fundraising at Phantom Fireworks booths across town.

Through at 12:01 a.m. July 5, all safe and sane fireworks sales and use are legal in Clark County — after that time, fireworks will not be allowed until the New Year’s holiday.

One booth, located on the corner of Craig Road and Tenaya Way, is fundraising for the nonprofit JAM, a booster club organization under Parent Booster USA that helps fund students’ extra curricular activities.

Shellie Moskos, a parent of a JAM child, and Hannah Dockery, 17, and a JAM child herself, sat inside a Phantom Fireworks booth waiting for customers to help support their endeavors by buying fireworks.

“We are a group of moms and dads who support their kids’ sports and clubs, regardless of what school they go to,” Moskos said Tuesday.“We have our members work the fireworks booths so that their kids can do sports from softball, soccer, football, gymnastics, trampoline, chess club, drama club, theater, dance, whatever the activity is that’s extracurricular.”

The organization has worked with Phantom Fireworks for 12 years in its fundraising efforts and during its best years has raised around $20,000 to help students with costs for extracurriculars.

A way to give back

All Phantom Fireworks booths across the county are run by nonprofit organizations.

“Phantom booths are an opportunity for people to really give back to local communities,” Moskos said. “They think Phantom is just like this big national organization and they think that we’re like Phantom employees. We’re not; there’s not a single booth in town that has a Phantom employee selling.”

For Dockery, JAM has helped cover costs for her multiple extracurricular activities since she was 3.

“Gymnastics in itself is about a car payment a month,” Dockery said of the cost of one of her four extracurricular activities. “It’s been helping my mom and dad kind of alleviate the stress over the years, making sure we can have a fun childhood while balancing the sports and our actual needs in our home.”

JAM members are sacrificing their holiday weekend to help raise funds, working anywhere from 10 to 18 hour days inside the booth, as well as handling inventory for the fireworks.

Running the fireworks booth is a meticulous process that involves multiple safety precautions and a variety of operating fees. A fire inspector on Tuesday examined multiple provisions to ensure the booth is safe and legal.

“They look for our fire extinguisher replacement. They look at our fire code rules. They make sure that all members have signed in and taken the safety training with the fire department,” Moskos said regarding what inspectors are checking. “Because we’re a mom group, we give a lot of tips for kids and you know, based on ages, we will like custom make packages.”

Competition outside the valley

The biggest competition for JAM and other fireworks booths across the Las Vegas Valley is illegal fireworks coming in from Pahrump or Amargosa Valley. Moskos has seen the usage of them cause fires in nearby neighborhoods.

“Around us we see the fire trucks just heading to these houses. We see the mortars in the cakes going off and then we see the injuries,” said Moskos. “We’ve seen palm trees catch on fire. We’ve seen houses catch on fire.”

This year, fireworks costs have gone up by approximately 35 percent, according to the American Pyrotechnic Association, and local booths are seeing the increase too. The increase has caused Phantom Fireworks to get rid of their buy-one-get-one deal on certain products.

The Phantom Phavorites package has gone from $12.99 to $19.99; Phantom Chamber of Sparks Assortment is now at $69.99 from $49.99; and Backyard Bash going from $499.99 to $799.99, according to Moskos.

Any products at the booth not sold requires the organization to pay at 10 to 20 percent restocking fee, along with any other operating costs, making the increase hit harder than expected.

Despite the increased costs, Dockery said she hopes to see kids and parents come out to the stands and help support local organizations.

“We all know what it’s like to have, like, those years without fireworks. We want to make sure those kids have the best shows they can,” she said.

Contact Emerson Drewes at edrewes@reviewjournal.com or via Twitter @EmersonDrewes.

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