Mandan News

Expect fireworks on New Year’s Eve

The welcoming of 2014 should be explosive for some North Dakota locations since the Legislature allowed fireworks to be sold and fired off on New Year’s Eve.

Morton County Sheriff Dave Shipman said one vendor application had been approved to sell fireworks outside Mandan city limits as of Tuesday, Dec. 10, but he expects more since he received another phone inquiry about applying.

On Nov. 19, the Mandan City Commission allowed fireworks to be shot off New Year’s Eve when it revised its fire code. Fireworks can be shot between 5 p.m. Dec. 31 and 1 a.m. Jan. 1 in Mandan city limits under the new ordinance, but they cannot be sold inside city limits, said City Administrator Jim Neubauer.

The city of Bismarck does not allow the use of fireworks in city limits. The city of Lincoln allows fireworks to be used in city limits during Independence Day week, but has not revised its ordinances to include New Year’s fireworks. Lincoln City Auditor Melanie Kitzan said council members have not expressed any interest in adding fireworks on New Year’s Eve. She said changing the city ordinance would involve a two-month process and there is not enough time to change the ordinance before the end of the year.

Residents in rural Morton and Burleigh counties can shoot off fireworks on their own property or with permission from the landowner, according to their sheriff’s departments.

Burleigh County Sheriff Pat Heinert said Tuesday that he has issued five fireworks permits for New Year’s Eve — two for Torches Fireworks LLC, two for Memory Fireworks and one for Bob’s Fireworks City LLP. Shipman said Memory Fireworks has been approved to sell fireworks at its site south of Mandan on Highway 1806. No special limitations will be placed on what types of fireworks are sold. They are the same as what are sold in July, he said.

“They do it in the South a lot. I’ve seen it done and they do it well,” said Braun Knutson, owner of Memory Fireworks. “Some people think they’re prettier in the snow.” He added that the fireworks were well-received when the state allowed fireworks in the 2000 millennium celebration. “It turned out well,” Knutson said.

Knutson envisions New Year’s Eve fireworks as another family activity for hardy North Dakotans accustomed to the cold.

Their sales buildings have safe heating systems, he said. Because of wetter snow conditions, Knutson expects there to be less of a fire risk in the winter season. “Store them in a dry place or they will misfire or not work,” he said. “Set them on a good foundation and be respectful of other people.”

Knutson has obtained permits in nine locations throughout the state, including two Burleigh County sites, south of Mandan along 1806, Grand Forks, Minot, Jamestown and Fargo.

He expects special colors like exploding rainbows will be popular. “We think multi-shots and fountains will be the big sellers during the New Year’s season … where they light it once and watch” he said.

By LeAnn Eckroth