Every summer, the surface of Lodi Lake glistens with the light of hundreds of firework explosions that can be seen for miles. But half the fun of a fireworks show is in being the one who lights the fuse.
For the third year, residents of Lodi are permitted to purchase and set off “safe and sane” fireworks within city limits. Six local nonprofit groups won a lottery to sell them in temporary booths for a week leading up to Independence day.
The American Legion Post 22 won the right to run a booth for the first time this year and is sharing it with the Valley Men’s Club and the Holiday Cheer Box/Support Our Troops groups.
“Our membership is elderly, so we didn’t have enough people to run the booth,” said Bill Selling, of the American Legion. The proceeds will be divided up among the three.
The LOEL Center is back for its second turn running a booth. Liz Souza, activities coordinator, said they made more than $20,000 in 2011. But coming up with the volunteers to sell the fireworks for seven 12-hour days is challenging. Souza said they had more than 100 volunteers last time.
Each booth will be inspected by Lodi Fire Marshal Gene Stoddard. The fireworks will be stored in a secure and guarded location each night.
Only state-approved safe and sane fireworks are allowed. The ones sold in Lodi will carry a specific symbol.
Stoddard is familiar with the range of problems that come with setting fireworks off incorrectly. People injure their hands, set their homes or lawns on fire, and cause other damages.
“It’s when the rules aren’t followed — that’s when we tend to have problems,” he said.
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