Fireworks shortage could dim your 4th

Expect to spend more and find a little less when you shop for backyard fireworks later this month. Prices could rise at least 20 to 25 percent, local wholesalers say, because of a mix of events affecting fireworks deliveries from China.

A 100-shot Saturn Missile that cost $2.50 last year could be $3.50 this year. Snappers that retailed for 25 cents a box last year could be 40 cents this year. Novelties such as tanks, roosters and aircraft carriers may be hard to find. Snakes are plentiful, but smoke balls are in short supply.

Nearly every wholesaler and retailer in the nation is short on some product, said Julie Heckman, executive director of the American Pyrotechnics Association, based in Bethesda, Md.

"The companies that typically offer maybe 20 varieties of something will this year offer only 17," she said. "The backyard consumer will still have fireworks. Because importers have had to pay more, it's only natural they will try to pass those increase costs on to customers."

Tent sales retailers will decide the final markup.

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