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The Seattle Sketcher

An illustrated journal of life in the Puget Sound region by Times artist Gabriel Campanario.

June 29, 2009 at 3:55 PM

Fireworks: More than just a bang for your buck

fireworks062909m.jpgJune 29, 9:54 a.m. [View larger] [Sketch location]
To many folks driving on 164th St SW in Lynnwood, this Shock & Awe Fireworks stand is just one of many that go up in the area before Fourth of July. To me, it’s a reminder that I need a plan B to get out of the line of fire in my neighborhood on Saturday.
But this morning I found a new appreciation for the people who sell pyromaniacs their favorite candy this time of the year. I met Eddie Carter at this stand. He was born the same year as me, 1969, and has three kids.
This stand is associated with the Mill Creek Foursquare Church, Carter explained. The money raised from selling fireworks goes to fund their youth programs, including an annual trip by the girls soccer team to Cambodia, where they’ll mentor and play with orphan girls who have been rescued from human trafficking.
Carter told me they sold more than $20,000 worth of fireworks last year, an average of $80 per customer. Some spend way more. “The neighborhood guy who wants to put on a show on his street spends between $400 and $500,” he said. Some of the most popular items come in boxes known as “cakes.” He points to one called “Too Hot To Handle,” which sells for $65. “Someone would use this for a grand finale,” he said.
There are at least five other churches in Snohomish County who set up fireworks stands like this one under a Shock & Awe banner. The idea came from Park Ridge Community Church, says Doug Humphreys, church administrator at Foursquare. A member thought it would be a good way to raise money to fund the youth programs. “It’s been a real blessing,” Humphreys said.

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