Despite a February explosion that took out more than 20 fireworks factories in China and warnings that this could have an effect on fireworks shows nationwide, the historic triangle won’t be affected during this year’s Fourth of July celebrations.
Dominion Fireworks in Richmond is Virginia’s main supplier of all those spectacular fireworks that can be seen exploding in the sky every time the Fourth rolls around, including Yorktown’s Fourth of July display.
Owner William Bulifant said the shortages in China won’t hurt their fireworks supplies and that the historic triangle is “all set” this year.
Bulifant has worked in the fireworks industry for more than 35 years. Every year, he said, he loses sleep over whether he will be able to get enough fireworks for their upcoming shows.
“I was sweating up to a couple of weeks ago when I got everything I needed,” he said.
In February, Chinese companies witnessed a shortage in fireworks due to an explosion that was reported to last more than 24 hours in the Chinese port city of Sanshui.
Bulifant said every year there are incidents that occur at the factories in China.
The problems with obtaining fireworks are related not just to mishaps at the factories, but because there is just one big shipping company in China that handles fireworks exportation, Bulifant said.
That usually means companies often run into problems with shipments to the states. Dominion Fireworks is consistent in getting their shipments in because they are “direct importers” and deal directly with the factories in China and with the shipping lines.
“We make the order at the factory, we schedule the shipping, and we also pick our container up at the port,” Bulifant said. “This makes us much more successful because lots of other smaller firework companies have other people handle these things for them.“
In order to ensure adequate supplies, Dominion had to cut off many fireworks companies that normally receive shipments from them each year.
“If I can help them, of course I’ll help them but we have to prioritize things,” Bulifant said. “We’ve got to serve ourselves and we put emphasis on our home state first. This is a situation where everyone is fighting for themselves in a way.”
The bottom line, he added, is that some companies won’t have fireworks, which could have an effect on some planned displays this year.
Dominion Fireworks was founded in 1984 and have been supplying fireworks to Virginia, North Carolina and points along the eastern seaboard ever since.