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Fireworks stands often raise money for charities

Brandon Hart shows off a package of Big Guns that are sold at the TNT stand at Fred Meyer in Marysville. Proceeds pay for his youth group to go to church camp.  - Steve Powell
Brandon Hart shows off a package of Big Guns that are sold at the TNT stand at Fred Meyer in Marysville. Proceeds pay for his youth group to go to church camp.
— image credit: Steve Powell

Because Arlington and Marysville are located so close to reservations, people often think of buying their fireworks there.

But many nonprofit organizations also sell fireworks as fundraisers for their causes.

One such group is the Kiwanis, which has five fireworks stands in Marysville alone.

Wanda McKinney, a volunteer at the stand in the Allen Creek Shopping Center, said Kiwanis uses the money from fireworks sales to support city Parks and Recreation, Friends of the Library, Scout troops and more.

"You don't have to worry if you buy from us," she said. "It's legal to shoot them off within the city."

McKinney was referring to some fireworks purchased on the reservations that must be detonated there because they are illegal to shoot off in other areas.

McKinney said Kiwanis has been selling fireworks for 25 years, about 10 at the Allen Creek location. They sell around $45,000 worth of fireworks a year.

"Generally there's not too much left over," she said.

The big sellers at their tent are Purple Rain, four for $12; Pyro Packs, $19.99; Tank Wars, two for $2; and the Big Artillery, anywhere from $8 to $200. Another popular item is the Smoke Jumper, two for $24.99.

"People like them because a little Army dude comes with them," McKinney said. "You can shoot them off during the day. For kids sometimes it's hard to wait until night."

The Kiwanis also have stands near Gold's Gym, Haggen's, 1631 4th, and the Safeway at 1218 State.

Other TNT stands are located in Arlington at 4010 172nd and 20115 74th Ave. NE.

Two churches also have local fireworks stands. The Mountain View Assembly of God has a stand at Fred Meyer and Calvary Chapel has one on 64th near Highway 9 at the Wal Mart.

Mountain View has been at its location for about eight years. Brandon Hart, youth leader at the church, has been running it the past five years. The church sells fireworks to pay for its 25 middle and high schoolers to attend Cedar Springs Church Camp at Lake Stevens. That costs about $230 each for a week. If youth volunteer for 40 hours, they can get the entire camp paid for. Along with services, the youth camp offers high ropes, dune buggies and a zipline.

"If they work hard they can earn enough to go the entire way," Hart said, adding all the money made at the stand, usually around $8,000, goes to the church youth group.

Since Hart's been involved, he's seen sales increase up to 5 percent each year. He said the tent does about three-fourths of its sales the final two days.

"It's insane," he said of how busy it gets with people often spending hundreds of dollars.

Hart said what makes their stand different is they give away items.

"The stuff where they get something free sells great," he said. "It encourages them to get big things; they get something free with it."

For example, if customers buy a certain packet of fireworks for $80 they get a smaller packet that sells for $40 free. Another item if you buy one for $20 you get another one free.

He said even the simple stuff for kids, such as sparklers, sell well there.

"It's a family friendly place to be," Hart said.

Other people sell fireworks because they need the money. Josh Barritt of Marysville has sold fireworks on the reservation, but he's doing it on his own this year because he needs $4,000 to put an engine in his car. He hopes to make up to $7,000 selling Western Fireworks at a stand at the Albertson's on 4th Street.

"We're hurting. It's been a rough year," he said.

Barritt said he's liking working for Western Fireworks because they supply the inventory, instead of paying for it up front like on the reservation. He also likes the set prices.

"On the rez they say, 'Make an offer.' They get what they can," he said.

Barritt said his best deal is the Excaliber, which he said sells for $150 on the reservation. It lists for $120, and he sells it for $99. He said he's selling everything people can get on the reservation, except for firecrackers and bottle rockets.

Barritt said the week started off slow, but he was told it might be like that.

"But the last two days I'll be running around like there's no tomorrow," he said.

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