RHONE: Enjoy the fireworks on July 4th, then give them a rest

Rynni, left, and Elijah, right, prep fireworks for customers for Independence Day 2023 at a TNT Fireworks booth in Snellville. (Michael Blackshire/Michael.blackshire@ajc.com)

Credit: Michael Blackshire

Credit: Michael Blackshire

Rynni, left, and Elijah, right, prep fireworks for customers for Independence Day 2023 at a TNT Fireworks booth in Snellville. (Michael Blackshire/Michael.blackshire@ajc.com)

If you’re regularly on any neighborhood apps, you’ve definitely seen posts like these:

“Who’s doing fireworks on Thursday night? This is crazy.”

“Who the heck is shooting fireworks at 11 p.m.?”

“It’s 10:20ish Monday night. Some people will use any excuse to set off fireworks.”

Across metro Atlanta, many residents are getting fed up with fireworks.


In the 10 years since consumer fireworks — skyrockets, roman candles, firecrackers and more — were made legal in Georgia, the familiar pops haven’t been confined to July 4, New Year’s Eve or other significant cultural holidays.

Fireworks have become an any day occurrence, inside the perimeter and out. These unexpected bursts drive some pets, and their owners, crazy. The increased use of fireworks has led scientists to study how that may impact air, water and noise pollution, as well as the wellbeing of humans and wildlife.

It’s so out of control that, last December, a Mableton resident wrote on Nextdoor, “How in the holy ghost is a parent supposed to get their kids to sleep for Santa when peeps are shooting fireworks on Christmas Eve?”

In East Point, locals were pushing a petition to ban fireworks in residential neighborhoods.

I love fireworks, especially on July 4th. There is no better way to end Independence Day celebrations than by waiting for dusk so you can sit on a blanket and gaze up at a sky filled with red, green and gold sparkles.

At least, that’s how I used to feel. But now, my star-spangled sparkles have lost their shine, because fireworks can be seen (or heard) on almost any occasion.

I know I’m not alone in this sentiment, thanks to the voices on Nextdoor:

“Here’s the thing,” someone wrote. “Memorial Day isn’t a fireworks holiday. It’s meant to serve as a somber reminder of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. So yeah, the fireworks are annoying.”

Most of us don’t want to be party poopers, but enough is enough, one new mother wrote. “I hate that I’ve become that person, but I have a newborn now, so I think I get a pass. They have silent fireworks in other countries like Italy. Not sure why we can’t get on board with it here.”

Fireworks rank so high on the topics of conversation that someone even posted about that, writing:

“Sometimes I ask myself, what’s the purpose of Nextdoor? To (complain) about fireworks.”

Maybe I miss the days when Georgia residents had to drive to Tennessee, Alabama or South Carolina to legally purchase fireworks. Now, they are in retail outlets everywhere. And it seems some people just don’t know what to do with all the pyrotechnics they buy. There are those among us who have gotten a little careless.

In November 2023, an apartment complex on Lavista Road caught fire after two residents allegedly ignited fireworks from the roof, according to police. Thank goodness, no one was hurt in the fire.

Fireworks are becoming less celebratory and more nuisance, particularly in residential settings, as one neighbor stated plainly on Nextdoor.

“Why must you shoot off fireworks in the subdivision? I used to enjoy fireworks a lot when I was younger. Not so much anymore.”

Under state law, shooting off fireworks is legal any day between the hours of 10 a.m. and 11:59 p.m., unless it violates the local jurisdiction’s noise ordinance.

Supporters of the state legislation that legalized sales of consumer fireworks expected the move to bring up to 1,500 jobs to Georgia and $10 million to state coffers through 5% excise taxes. Also, they pointed out Georgia would stop losing revenue to bordering states that sold fireworks.

Those who opposed the change in the law argued fireworks in more hands would result in more injuries, specifically to younger kids.

One study from 2021 found that, after the change, Georgia residents were injured more frequently by fireworks and had more severe injuries that required amputations, skin grafts and facial burn repair

I don’t know how much the state is making off the excise taxes, but I’d bet plenty of residents would argue it’s not worth it.

I’m not saying we should get rid of consumer fireworks. But people need to show more restraint — and common courtesy. We can celebrate the bigger occasions like July 4th by lighting up the sky, but then we should give it a rest until the next appropriate holiday.

Judging from my social media feeds, packing away the bottle rockets until New Year’s Eve would make a lot of metro Atlantans — along with animals and the environmentalists — a lot happier.

Read more on the Real Life blog (www.ajc.com/opinion/real-life-blog/) and find Nedra on Facebook (www.facebook.com/AJCRealLifeColumn) and Twitter (@nrhoneajc) or email her at nedra.rhone@ajc.com.