by Dave Noble, Your Neighbors and Your Neighborhoods
NORTH ELMHURST – Carefully placing a box of Phantom Reloadable Mortar Kits and a half-dozen Crackling Octopus Rockets next to the furnace in the basement of his North Elmhurst home, a local man told reporters Wednesday upon returning from an authorized fireworks retailer in Hammond, Indiana, that he is ready to “light up the neighborhood” on the Fourth of July with his annual independently-sponsored fireworks show, scheduled to begin promptly at 9:00 p.m. on Monday night.
“I know they’re illegal in Illinois,” said the man, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “But it’s the anniversary of when our founding fathers declared independence from the Native Americans, and I’m going to celebrate it the way I want to celebrate it.”
Because his split-level home is tucked deep into the subdivision east of York Road on the city’s north side, the husband and father of three said he’s not worried about the police coming around when he begins blowing off an array of mostly Category 2 and Category 3 fireworks from his driveway and on the street in front of his house. “I haven’t been bothered by the cops in the past,” boasted the man. “But then again, I’ve never launched 12 Silver Sonic Warheads from my garage roof in the past, either.”
Insisting that he keeps spectators “at least” 10 feet away from the discharge site of aerial spinners and canister smoke bombs and that he doesn’t allow children under the age of ten to light Roman candles he positions somewhat-vertically inside of old Sherwin-Williams paint cans from his garage, the man stressed that safety is one of his three or four greatest concerns when it comes to pyrotechnics and explosives.
“To be honest, there aren’t too many people around anyway when I put on my show,” said the man, noting that an increasing number of families on his block elect to go out of town each year for Independence Day or stay at a local hotel overnight. “So it’s often up to me to decide if I think one of the neighborhood kids has what it takes to light the 1 ½ inch fuse of a 1600-count strip of Wolfpack Firecrackers.”
Based on previous years, the man estimates his fireworks show will end sometime after midnight.