MASON CITY, Iowa - The 4th of July is a week from Saturday, and fireworks tents and stands are seeing a boom in business. But do you know what you can legally buy, or when you can light them off?
"This weekend, we're going to have some sunny, beautiful weather. The 3rd and 4th, we'll sell stuff. People want to celebrate."
Beverly Thompson has been a tent manager for Bellino Fireworks. Her tent is regularly inspected by the fire marshal, but also the Nebraska-based retailer themselves. In the past few years, there have been some regulation changes in Mason City.
"A couple of years ago, the city decided they want the fireworks sales in an industrial area, that's why we're here. Prior to that, we were in parking lots at grocery stores, and that's where you'd typically see fireworks sales in other communities."
While most fireworks are legal to buy and use in the Hawkeye State, there are limits to what Bellino can't sell.
"We do not sell Chinese lanterns, we do not sell sparklers with metal, all the sparklers are made with bamboo, and we don't sell adult poppers."
Iowa and Minnesota differ on what you can legally buy and possess: while Iowa allows the sale of fireworks ranging from firecrackers and rockets, to shells and cone fountains, it's a bit more stringent in Minnesota. Sparklers, noise makers and novelty items are legal, though anything that explodes or can be aerial, like firecrackers, bottle rockets, shells and roman candles, are illegal for private use.
Possession of less than 35 lbs. of illegal fireworks in Minnesota is subject to a $700 fine and/or 90 days in jail. Anything more than that, it's a $3,000 fine and/or a year in jail.