Sunday, July 4, 2010

State of the Economy as Judged by Privately-Funded Fourth of July Fireworks: Not Up, That's for Sure

The town I live does not celebrate the Fourth of July with fireworks. But that does not stop private fireworks going off on the beaches, despite increasingly heavy police blockade to the beach access points. Somehow, people manage to bring in commercial grade fireworks and detonate them to celebrate the Independence Day. This private (and technically illegal) firework display is actually much better, bigger and longer than the fireworks that the town does officially for its birthday. Neighbors used to walk to the nearby cliffs and watch the extravagance for hours. The air was thick with smokes from the non-stop big-scale fireworks with elaborate patterns and colors, and dogs would go crazy because the sound hurt their sensitive ears. Even the dot-com bust of 2001 and 2002 didn't deter the private, illegal fireworks.

However, that all changed when the recession hit in late 2007. 2008 fireworks were sporadic, 2009 was even less than 2008, almost quiet. This year, it does sound more than last year, but it's more smaller-scale fire crackers than the commercial-grade big ones which are very far in between. No dog is howling. Not even worth stepping out to see them.

Actually, we used to have this level of fireworks on the beach almost every weekend during the summer tourist season, until 2007.

Police may be patting themselves on the back for the excellent job (of disallowing fireworks on the beach), but I'm afraid it is the economy that's doing the excellent job of depressing the number of big fireworks.

The last, best private fireworks were on the Fourth of July in 2007. As far as I'm concerned, the economy is not "strengthening" until the fireworks go back to the level of 2007, when deafening commercial-grade fireworks detonated without a break for solid 3 hours straight and the whole sky was lit up with colors bursting in so many different patterns ... Dogs were howling and babies were crying, but that felt like such a gorgeous display of optimism.


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