Fireworks in Delaware: A quick guide - Technical.ly Delaware

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Jul. 3, 2019 2:02 pm

Fireworks in Delaware: A quick guide

One of the few days of the year that ground fireworks are legal in the First State is almost here. Check out your options.

Sparklers — and other non-exploding, non airborne fireworks — are legal in Delaware on July 4, New Year's and Diwali.

(Photo by Flickr user Matej, used under a Creative Commons license)

Last year, Delaware legalized a few types of fireworks on July 4 and New Year’s Eve, as well as, in an amendment to the fireworks code signed in June, on the third day of Diwali in October or November.

Fireworks have been on sale for a couple of weeks now at supermarkets and pharmacies, which is the easiest way to make sure your personal fireworks show is legal. Here’s a breakdown of your options:

  • Sparklers — You can find the old-fashioned, 10-inch handheld sparklers just about anywhere fireworks are sold, but there are several varieties, including extra long sparklers that burn for three to four minutes and “morning glory” wooden sparklers wrapped in tissue that can burn in different colors and/or give off colorful smoke.
  • Spinners — Spinners, a type of ground firework, are small and cheap, but put on a nice little show, sometimes with whistles, sparks, flares and/or and crackles, and often go briefly airborne. Ground Blooms are the easiest to find, usually sold in packs and resembling stubby firecrackers. Some, like the Whirlwind, have a disc shape. If you venture to a state line fireworks warehouse, you’ll find lots of novelty spinners like the Saturn Ring Eruption and Dizzy Bees. Don’t last long, but are fun.
  • Ground fountains — Usually sold as cones, bricks or cylinders, these come in different sizes, with the larger ones lasting a minute or more. These are good for driveway displays (some shoot sparks pretty high, so don’t set them off under trees). Although not explosives, they can make loud popping sounds. These are the most fun, but can leave a mess.

  • Smoke bombs — Small ones resemble a cherry bomb (which are not legal in Delaware), larger ones look like ground fireworks. As the name suggests, they give off colorful smoke rather than sparks or flares. Since they don’t produce light, they’re better in the daytime.
  • Snakes — No sparks, flares or crackles, but these little black tablets are fun little “science experiments” with kids (these mini fireballs used to be backyard playthings in the ’80s). Light them, and the ash makes a “snake” that grows before your eyes.

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What’s not legal:

  • Explosives — No firecrackers, M-80s, cherry bombs etc. (Wolf Snaps, which pop when you throw them, aren’t firecrackers or fireworks and are legal.)
  • Anything that flies into the air — No bottle rockets (which are also firecrackers), no helicopters, no fireworks where the actual cylinder leaves the ground more than a few inches.

By the way, the allowance of ground fireworks and sparklers is a three-year test period, so play nice. You can check out Delaware’s full fireworks code here.

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