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July 4 Fireworks Shows Shuttered by Staff Shortages, Supply Chain Issues

As the nation continues to face supply chain issues and staffing shortages, several cities were forced to cancel or postpone their upcoming Fourth of July fireworks shows.

While dozens of cities are continuing to move forward with their fireworks shows and celebrations for the upcoming holiday, other events in Phoenix, Arizona; Sacramento, California; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Ottawa, Kansas; Fairfax, Virginia; and two cities in Maryland have announced that their fireworks events have been either canceled or postponed.

The announcements by several cities come shortly after one economist says President Biden will have to admit that the economy is in a recession, and a few months after the American Pyrotechnics Association issued a memo saying that “various industry segments have all been impacted” by supply chain issues, a rise in inflation and staffing shortages.

Since the start of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. has continued to face supply chain issues and staffing shortages. Supply chain issues were then further exasperated by the recent war in Ukraine, which has also resulted in rising gas prices.

Fourth of July Fireworks
As the U.S. continues to face issues with supply chains and staffing shortages, several cities were forced to alter their Fourth of July fireworks celebrations. Above, fireworks are seen during the 37th annual Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks over the Hudson River on July 4, 2010, in New York City.
Neilson Barnard/Getty

Phoenix, Arizona:

In a tweet this past week, the City of Phoenix’s Heat Response and Mitigation announced that “supply chain issues got in the way of” the city’s public fireworks show scheduled for the Fourth of July.

“Unfortunately, much like many other municipalities, Phoenix has been affected by the ongoing supply chain issues. The City’s contractor was unable to secure fireworks for the events,” the city’s Parks and Recreation Assistant Director Marty Whitfield said in a statement.

While speaking with the New York Times, a spokesperson for the City of Phoenix, Adam Waltz, called the cancellation “disheartening.”

Sacramento, California:

The Fourth of July celebration event at the Cal Expo recently announced that it will be canceling its fireworks show due to “staffing and resource shortages.”

“For many years, we look forward to hosting our annual July 4th fireworks show. Unfortunately, we have made the difficult decision that Cal Expo will be unable to host the annual fireworks show this year,” Cal Expo said in a statement on June 14.

“As we are preparing to host the 2022 CA State Fair & Food Festival starting on July 15, we are facing staffing and resource shortages that have created unexpected difficulties. Right now, the most important thing for Cal Expo is to focus our attention on the upcoming CA State Fair & Food Festival.”

Minneapolis, Minnesota:

The City of Minneapolis Parks & Recreation Board recently announced that its “Red White and Boom” fireworks show was canceled for the upcoming holiday “due to construction at Father Hennepin Park and staff shortages.”

“Instead, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board will be hosting smaller, family friendly July 4 events at parks across the city,” the city’s Park & Recreation Board said.

Ottawa, Kansas:

Due to supply chain issues, the city of Ottawa could not receive the necessary fireworks in time for the Fourth of July and has postponed the fireworks show to September.

According to KSNT news in Kansas, the Co-Chair of the Chautauqua Festival Committee, Tiffany Evans, recently said, “Early this year, our distributor let us know that there was a chance fireworks wouldn’t arrive in the U.S. in time for a 4th of July display. By early spring, we were told that some items would be here, just not everything.”

Fairfax, Virginia:

In a similar situation in Ottawa, the City of Fairfax recently announced that it was postponing its Fourth of July fireworks show to July 5.

“The Evening Show was originally scheduled for July 4, but the city’s fireworks vendor canceled more than two dozen contracts due to a shortage of licensed pyrotechnicians. The rain date is July 6,” the city said in a statement.


In College Park, Maryland, the upcoming Fourth of July fireworks show was canceled “due to COVID-19’s continued impact on the supply chain,” the city said.

Similarly, Maryland’s Ocean City announced that it was altering its Fourth of July fireworks show to be smaller than usual due to staffing shortages, WTTG news in Washington, D.C., reported.

A lack of fireworks shows may not be the only “disheartening” aspect of the holiday, as some foods popular for an upcoming Fourth of July cookout have increased in price. You can see which foods are expected to increase and decrease in price here.

Newsweek reached out to the American Pyrotechnics Association for further comment.

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