Walking through his makeshift shop, Kevin Folds shows off all the holiday goodies he has in stock.
Firecrackers. Bottle rockets. Roman candles.
And then there’s the big boys — huge sets of fireworks made only for those intent on setting the night sky ablaze with a thunderous boom.
If it’s a firework — and it’s legal — Folds most likely has it at his business on U.S. 31 next to the Jet Pep in South Vinemont.
But a fuse isn’t the only thing that comes with the items sold at Fatboys Fireworks. Folds also throws in some complimentary advice.
And, of course, be safe.
“I actually have a safety pamphlet we hand out,” Folds said. “Basically, people should just use common sense. If they do that, then they should be fine.”
Fireworks are an ingrained piece of modern Independence Day tradition. Stands like the one Folds is a co-owner of are commonplace across the country in the week leading up to the holiday.
That doesn’t mean anyone with a box of matches and a sack of bottle rockets can hold their own version of the Spirit of Freedom celebration.
“You can enjoy fireworks without doing anything dangerous,” Folds said. “I always tell kids not to be shooting fireworks in the vicinity of a house or anything else that could catch on fire. I also recommend that adults supervise their children when using fireworks.”
There are laws that have to be followed, too.
Like the one that says private firework displays are prohibited in the Cullman city limits.
“We always have officers who have to answer calls about people using fireworks,” Culpepper said. “And anyone who chooses to use fireworks in the city could receive a ticket.”
Another factor to take into consideration is the unusually dry conditions the area has seen. But even though there is still a statewide burn ban in effect, there hasn’t been anything issued that prohibits the use of fireworks.
With the holiday weekend comes the usual traffic issues. There’s typically more people on the roadways, which means there will be an increase in law enforcement patrols, as well.
Max Bartlett, chief deputy of the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office, said there will be increased patrols on the roadways for the holiday weekend.
The sheriff’s office has set up a mobile command center at Smith Lake Park and there will be deputies on duty through the Fourth of July celebration. Bartlett also said the sheriff’s office will have its marine patrol and dive team units on the lake for the holiday.
While alcohol sales are legal in the city of Cullman, the county remains dry, which means alcohol is legally prohibited at Smith Lake Park.
“We’re going to have deputies at the park for the entire holiday weekend,” Bartlett said. “We want everyone to enjoy themselves and have a good time, but they also need to be careful and obey the law.”