WOONSOCKET — It used to take a trip to New Hampshire or some other state if a Rhode Islander wanted to legally buy fireworks for the Fourth of July.
Thanks to the state’s approval of a fireworks sales law last year, you don’t have to go any farther than the Diamond Hill Road business district to pick up legal Fourth of July firework display products.
Magie Buden of Connecticut was found operating that kind of business under two white tents set up in the parking lot of Woonsocket Plaza Monday and explained to a reporter that all the TNT Fireworks for sale on her tables were the legal showers of sparks variety allowed under the General Assembly’s fireworks law.
The bill was approved just before the Fourth of July last year but this year is the first time Buden and her boyfriend, Rich Ellis, have set up a tent in Woonsocket.
The couple operates a TNT Fireworks store in Tiverton, a tent in Warwick and two tents in Connecticut.
The business does not sell exploding devices like M-80s or large firecrackers or sky rockets, all of which are still illegal in Rhode Island.
The items for sale in the tents are “shower of sparks” displays that come in a large variety of types and package assortments.
TNT Fireworks also is allowed to sell a small report, block of “crickets” that create a series of small crackling sounds as they go off one after another.
Everything produced by the company for Rhode Island meets the state’s guidelines for fireworks composition, Buden said.
One package for sale in the tent, the TNT Pyromania assortment, sells for $199 and offers a wide range of shower of sparks devices.
Another package called the “Night Treasure” also offers an assortment of colorful showering display devices for $69.
The items are set on the ground and then produce a column of sparks to a specific height as required by the state law. None of the devices emit the flaming projectiles associated with roman candle fireworks. Those are also illegal under Rhode Island law, Buden said.
Setting up at Woonsocket Plaza involved obtaining a state sales permit and filing a fireworks sales permit with City Hall, Buden said.
The company also had to complete inspections by the Fire Department and city Inspector’s office.
Signs prohibiting smoking in the tent are required as are signs notifying customers that I.Ds are checked to ensure the products are purchased only by those 18 years old or older.
Some people stopped in at the tent just to look Monday but others were buying large and small packages of display fireworks for upcoming Fourth of July parties, Buden said.
“If you want to have a nice party that would be a good one to have,” Buden said while pointing out the $199 package.
The tent is also offering drawings on a new 2011 pick-up truck from TNT and a special holiday package of fireworks called the “American Pride.”
Josue Vides and Kristian Ramaglia stopped in at the tent to check out its offerings while out walking at the plaza with their son, Josue Jr.,
“I honestly didn’t think they sold fireworks like this in Rhode Island,” Vides said. In addition to the tent, fireworks are also on sale at Wal-Mart across Diamond Hill Road, he noted.
While they checked out the TNT offerings, Vides said he would probably wait for the Fourth of July display the city puts on down at World War II Veterans Memorial State Park each year. “They do a good job down there and it’s more organized,” he said.