Aulne resident Kevin Fruechting loves shooting fireworks so much he has helped with his church’s annual fireworks display in Aulne for many years.
“We started out way back then — my father, my brother, and a couple of other guys,” Fruechting said.
In the early years of the annual event, begun around 1980, at Aulne United Methodist Church, volunteers buried tubes and lighted fireworks one by one.
“We literally put a mortar in the ground, lighted it, and ran and hoped all went OK,” Fruechting said.
As the fireworks show grew larger, volunteers could no longer handle how many rockets and fountains were shot.
“The company we purchase them from sends a technician out to shoot the fireworks,” he said.
Local people like to celebrate July 4 with a bang.
Several families have smaller fireworks shows they can manage themselves.
“We used to have quite a fireworks celebration,” Rhonda Hett said. “Now we just do it for family. We might have 20 or 25.”
Hett said her family’s fireworks show used to draw a much larger crowd.
“I’d turn on the lights and look around and see people I didn’t know,” she said.
Tampa resident Amy Richmond always has loved fireworks. She especially loves large, colorful fountains.
“I feel like you don’t see them very often, so it’s kind of like a special occasion,” Richmond said.
Richmond, husband Tyler, and daughter Ava, 2, join with extended family to watch fireworks displays at Herington and Ramona.
This year, her love of fireworks inspired her to help organize a fireworks stand at Tampa. Profits will be given to the chamber of commerce and Tampa Pride, which will use money raised to add things to the park.
In Marion, three fireworks stands are open until the Fourth, each with a large array of traditional smaller fireworks and larger, professional-like displays. The stands are across from Central Park, adjacent to the St. Luke