By Lauren Ruvo, Las Vegas Sun and U.S. News Agency / Asian
Heat given off by the asphalt parking lot can be felt in the shoes of volunteers at many of the fireworks stands operating throughout the Las Vegas Valley.
But the heat doesn’t deter them from giving their time.
After all, in Las Vegas and Clark County, fireworks stands are operated by nonprofit groups, from cheerleading squads to baseball teams and churches, and sales at those stands support their missions.
In the Green Valley Plaza shopping center on the corner of Sunset Road and Green Valley Parkway, the fireworks stand is run by the Las Vegas Bulldogs, a local traveling softball team that hopes to raise enough money to cover the team’s travel and equipment expenses. This is the Bulldogs’ first year fundraising using fireworks.
Lisa Evans, a parent of one of the softball players, said the fireworks are the team’s best — and only — moneymaker of the season.
Even with fireworks sales permitted only from June 28 to 11:59 p.m. July 4, there is a lot of money to be made by the nonprofits.
Groups typically can pocket from $2,000 to $8,000, depending on location.
But while opening a fireworks stand may seem like an easy way to make money, think again.
The stands can’t open until the people running the booth attend a safety class, and the stands are inspected and approved by fire inspectors.
Other rules include having a shaded area and generator at least 20 feet away from the stand as well as having an adult in the booth at all times. Only people who are at least 16 years old can purchase fireworks.
Some booths are open 24 hours a day during the sales period. Many aren’t, such as the one run by the Las Vegas Bulldogs. When a booth closes for the day, volunteers are required to put the fireworks into a trailer and take the trailer to a warehouse until the booth reopens. In the Bulldogs’ case, they’ve loaded up a couple of hundred boxes of fireworks the past few nights.
Since fireworks are a great way for charities to make money, it’s no surprise there are many booths throughout the valley. Las Vegas Fire & Rescue has approved nearly 120 fireworks stands for operation this year; Clark County Fire Department has signed off on nearly 170 stands.
To differentiate themselves from their competitors, the Bulldogs have put up lights, use strobe lights, stand on the sidewalk with advertising signs and are trying out a big SpongeBob inflatable on top of the stand to attract even more attention.
The results so far?
“There have been a lot of random people from the neighborhood who come to the stand, and the majority of them are families,” Evans said. “The team lives all over Las Vegas, so the only people from the team who have bought fireworks from this stand are the people from the team who live over here.”
Manning the Bulldogs’ stand are coaches, parents and players.
“We’re a very close team. In fact, we pack all of the fireworks up on (July) 5, and then on (July) 6 we travel to a tournament in Fresno,” Evans said.