A number of fireworks stands opened for business throughout the Fremont area on Thursday, which was the first official day of local fireworks sales leading up to the Fourth of July.
This year there are a total of 10 fireworks stands in Fremont and Inglewood, according to information from the Nebraska State Fire Marshal website.
One stand, new to the Fremont area, can be found in the 30 Bowl parking lot on E. 23rd Street.
The Shack, which is run by Wahoo couple Jason and Jennifer Stevens, isn't just new to the Fremont area. In fact, at this time last year the small, red building now filled to the brim with fireworks hadn't even been constructed yet.
"This has been my big project over the past year or so," Jason Stevens said.
After working for a fireworks distributor based out of Palmyra for several years, Stevens decided to go out on his own following the fireworks season in 2018.
"We managed a stand we had been working for them for about seven years and always wanted to have our own stand and do our own thing," he said. "So this has been a long time in the making."
So he got to work building his new stand which features something rarely seen in the tents and trailers that house most fireworks retailers--an air conditioner.
Stevens says that owning and operating his own stand allows him to pick his own products and set his own prices.
It also marks a dream come true for Stevens, who has been a fireworks enthusiast for about as long as he can remember.
"I remember not being able to see over the counter when I was a kid, and the owners of the firework stand in my hometown already knew me by name," he said. "So owning my own stand isn't just about making money, fireworks are really something I've always been passionate about."
Another unique aspect of The Shack allows customers to see the beautiful patterns and colors of each firework before they buy.
Many videos of fireworks sold at The Shack are available on the company's Facebook page, as well as on a small TV inside the stand itself.
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The Shack will be open from approximately 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day leading up to July 3, and will be open until 11 p.m. on July 3 and 4.
While The Shack is a passion project for the Stevens', the operators of another stand that opened on Thursday might not be as passionate about fireworks, but are using the short window of opportunity provided during the fireworks season to raise funds for a good cause.
Members of the Fremont High School Dance Team are running their own stand on E. Military Avenue in the parking lot in front of Dollar General, San Anna's and several other local businesses.
"Any money we make goes directly towards these girls," Dance Team Sponsor Kristy Harman said.
Harman and fellow sponsor Terri Kyes say the group was looking for a change of pace as far as fundraising for the squad this year and settled on running a fireworks stand.
"Everybody in town sells cookie dough and popcorn, we all just kind of do the same things," Harman said. "So we thought this would be something new and fun to do with the girls."
All of the money raised at the stand will go towards uniforms for the girls who choose to participate in the fundraiser throughout the next week.
"The girls and their parents can come in and work the booth for a couple hours if they want to," Kyes said. "If they want to earn some extra money for their uniforms they can, it's really up to them."
The FHS Dance Team's firework stand will be open daily through the Fourth of July from approximately 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Along with The Shack, and the dance squad's stands there are five more stands in Fremont including: Wild Willys Fireworks at 3010 E. 23rd Street, Marv Kohler Enterprises at 1869 E. 23rd Street, Bellino Fireworks at 860 E. 23rd Street, Big Red Fireworks at 1660 E. 23rd Street, and Ka-Boomers Enterprises at 2222 N. Broad Street.
There are also three stands in Inglewood, all located along S. Broad Street, including: Wild Willys Fireworks at 1155 S. Broad Street, Bellino Fireworks at 1715 Boulevard Avenue, and Ka-Boomers Enterprises at 1104 S. Broad Street, all according to the Nebraska State Fire Marshal website.
Fireworks are legal to discharge in Fremont City Limits between the hours of 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. from June 27 through July 3.
On July 4, fireworks enthusiasts will have an extra hour to put on a show as legal discharge hours are extended from 8 a.m. to midnight.