Local fireworks stands prepare for New Year’s Eve; Cheyenne to host 2nd annual Ball Drop
(Fremont County, Wyo.) – With a countywide fire ban and the City of Lander going against tradition and banning fireworks this last July 4, fireworks stand owners are hoping for increased business on New Year’s Eve.
Historically, Lander has allowed fireworks on July 4, but due to severe drought conditions, the city council didn’t lift the ban. The Fremont County Commission also banned fireworks this summer, allowing only non-aerial displays between 8 p.m. and midnight on July 4.
To ease some of the pain of the July 4 ban, the City of Lander is allowing fireworks to be fired off on New Year’s Eve from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. on New Year’s Day.
The county’s fire ban has also been lifted. Maxinne Haas, co-owner of Cracker Box Fireworks Discount on the northwest edge of Lander, said her stand has yet to see a sales increase.
“We are praying we’re getting business on New Year’s Eve,” Haas said. Cracker Box will be open throughout the weekend and nearly all day on Dec. 31.
She’s not too concerned about not seeing additional sales yet, noting she believes most people are waiting until the last minute to see what the weather will be like. “It’s customary for them to wait,” she said. “This is kind of normal for us. Most people wait for the last minute.”
Flying Phoenix Fireworks owner Jim Landis said he’ll open his stand north of Riverton on Saturday.
“I’ve never really seen this before, so I don’t know how to call it,” he said of Lander allowing fireworks this year.
Landis said he thinks this year will be similar to past New Year’s Eves. He said when the town allowed fireworks for the turn of the century there wasn’t much increased traffic.
Thanks to recent snow fall, Lander Fire Administrator Nick Hudson said his volunteer fire department is planning any special preparations. Prior to the snow, some preparation was beginning, but the concern for fires has decreased.
“Be careful with them,” Hudson reminds those planning on shooting off fireworks. He reminded families to supervise children and to clean up after themselves.
The Cheyenne Ball Drop:
The Ball for the second annual New Year’s Eve Ball Drop over Cheyenne’s Depot Square will descend from twice as high as last year’s Drop. The crane company, C.H. Yarber, announced that it will use its 150 ton crane this year. The top of the crane will be 201 feet above the plaza. The New Year’s Eve Ball will hang over 15 stories above downtown Cheyenne. The nearby Hynds Building and Plains Hotel are only five floors each.
The Ball will hang from the top of the crane over the weekend. It will descend on New Year’s Eve and touch down on the Plaza at the stroke of midnight to ring in the New Year.