South Milwaukee fireworks reinstated amid consumer fireworks shortage

NOW: South Milwaukee fireworks reinstated amid consumer fireworks shortage

SOUTH MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The COVID pandemic has now caused a shortage of fireworks, which in turn may have people looking for public fireworks displays.

South Milwaukee canceled its fireworks show earlier this week, only to reinstate it Thursday, June 3 after Milwaukee County lifted its capacity restrictions in public parks.

That may have the added benefit of letting people enjoy fireworks without searching high and low for them.

Everything is so expensive," said fireworks shopper Amber Lapotko.

She stopped into Phantom Fireworks in Caledonia on her way home the other day. She buys fireworks throughout the year and said she left with half of what she normally buys.

"Usually, I'd be spending $300 but I'd have gotten bigger and better ones," said Lapotko.

Phantom Fireworks General Manager Ryley Harlowe said prices have increased in part because of problems getting fireworks on store shelves.

"The actual container shortage in China, whether the container is not in the right spot or the container isn't in China, that's causing an issue and that stems into getting it on a shipping vessel," said Harlowe.

Which then runs into COVID delays at U.S. ports.

"There's a shortage of workers in the ports, which not only that, causes a backlog on the West Coast," said Harlowe.

He suggested customers shop early this year. Other companies told CBS 58 they've only been able to stock 40-percent of their typical inventory this year. That may make public fireworks shows more attractive.

"We expect several thousand at our show, certainly this year," said South Milwaukee Mayor Erik Brooks.

He said he's glad the county lifted its capacity restrictions in parks, allowing the city to reinstate its fireworks show.

"That makes me happy as a mayor, as a parent, just as a resident of the city, I think this is an important celebration," said Brooks.

South Milwaukee will spend $10,500 on fireworks.

The mayor said the county's time worked well because the fireworks vendor needed to know by Friday whether the show was going on.

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