By Robert Stanton
HOUSTON, July 4 (Xinhua) -- Texans are celebrating the Independence Day holiday Tuesday with family get-togethers, barbecues and cold beer -- and they are going to do it with a bang at night, thanks to high-quality Chinese fireworks.
At the night, tens of thousands of fireworks will be launched over skylines of various places, including Washington D.C. and New York city, marking the climax of the celebrations.
Firework season starts each year in the United States before the Independence Day, which commemorates America's independence from the British Empire in 1776.
Texas fireworks importers and the roadside stands are doing brisk business this holiday, and a big reason for that success is Chinese fireworks.
"We have about 500 fireworks stands between Laredo (Texas) and Houston," said Jeff Coffee, director of American Fireworks, one of the largest suppliers of fireworks in Texas. "With the good weather we're having, we're looking to increase sales by 10 percent this holiday."
American Fireworks imports most of its fireworks from China. Coffee declined to say how much fireworks the company buys each year, but he praised the quality of Chinese products.
"American Fireworks only uses the highest quality fireworks that come from China," he said. "It is a big value that we are able to pass on to our customers. We are pleased with the Chinese factories that we have chosen to make our products."
Fireworks sales in the United States have grown steadily over the last decade and a half, according to the American Pyrotechnics Association (APA).
In 2000, Americans imported 152 million pounds (69 million kg) of fireworks, much of it from China. By 2016, total imports increased to 268.4 million pounds (122 million kg), according to APA.
Don Lantis, owner of Lantis Fireworks in North Sioux City, South Dakota, shares the view of Coffee. He attributed much of his company's success to the high quality of Chinese fireworks. Lantis supplies fireworks to roadside stands in 10 U.S. states, including Texas.
"We buy some fireworks from Mexico, but they're not as good as the Chinese," said Lantis, who is president of the National Fireworks Association. "They've (Chinese) been making them for so many thousands of years. China does such a fantastic job."
At Fisherman Fireworks in Bacliff, located 33 miles (53 kilometers) southeast of Houston, fireworks sales also witness a sound growth.
"Our sales have been steady," said Janet Johnson, owner of the roadside business in Bacliff that has an inventory of fireworks valued at 180,000 U.S. dollars. Many customers bought variety packs of fireworks that included shells, Roman candles, smoke bombs, fountains and firecrackers.
"The Chinese (fireworks manufacturers) do a good job," she said. "Our distributor makes sure there are no duds. It's bad for business when you're selling something and somebody walks in and says it (fireworks) didn't go off."
At Classic Fireworks in Bacliff, owner Michael Patterson said that sales were slow, but began to pick up as the holiday approaching. He urged holiday revelers to use caution when shooting off explosives.
"They're dangerous," he said of the fireworks. "They (celebrants) need to be safe while they're doing it. I want them to come back next year."
In Texas, fireworks may only be sold in December, May and late June through early July, and any device with a fuse is forbidden in Houston city limits. Anyone caught with an illegal explosive device faces a ticket and a fine of 500 up to 2,000 U.S. dollars.
In many suburban areas outside Houston, it's illegal to set off fireworks within 182 meters of a hospital, gas station, fireworks stand, school or church, and launching fireworks from a moving vehicle is also forbidden.
If the projected fireworks sales are any indication, this holiday will be bang-up celebration.