By Ben Lawson
When the 4th of July rolls around each year, Seymour residents can expect at least two things: heat and fireworks. So far, this year looks to be on par.
When it comes to bottle rockets, mortars, sparklers and whatever other explosive fun you can think of, there are always several locations in the heart of Seymour ready to supply residents’ every need.
One of the longest running is located in the lot by McDonald’s at the Boyd’s Creek and Chapman Highway intersection, the same spot it has occupied for the last 15 years. Owned by Larry and Christine Parker, it’s one of 14 locations scattered across East Tennessee and Kentucky, part of a huge family business that began modestly 25 years ago.
“It ended up just growing and growing until it turned into this huge business for us,” said Sandy Rausch, the Parker’s daughter and manager of the Chapman site.
This will be her last year at this location, since the lot is being turned over to Weigel’s next year. She said they’ll throw up the main tent in a new Seymour location next summer, probably near Cherokee hills.
“I hope we don’t lose all our local customers, but maybe they’ll find us,” she said.
The Parkers currently operate another location on Highway 411, which manager Maricia Scroggs indicated stays busy despite being off the beaten track.
If you’re closer to the Macon Crossing area, TNT provides fireworks for a site next Wendy’s operated by J.C. Ministries, with all proceeds going to their various outreach programs. James Dossett, who was filling in for his son who is a ministry volunteer, indicated that the fireworks sale is the ministry’s big annual fundraiser. He said that business had not yet picked up, but that was expected.
“About 85 percent of your sales come in the last three days,” he said.
No matter where residents purchase from, the Sevier County Volunteer Fire Department reminds everyone to be safe while celebrating.
“Be careful where you shoot them,” said Firefighter Adam Gibson, adding that houses, brush and tall grass should always be avoided.
He also suggests that parents watch their children, even with sparklers, which can burn very hot. Keeping a bucket of water handy to douse small fires and duds is a smart move, too.
Although he said no one should hesitate to call 911 in an emergency, firework related calls are rare. More often people suffer from heat exhaustion after consuming more alcohol than water.
“They start dropping like flies,” Gibson said.
While most people enjoy the holiday and get ready for an explosive night, Rausch and people like her will be hard at work doing what they love.
“I never get the fourth off,” she said. “I wouldn’t know what to do if I did.”
Seymour Ready for Explosive 4th
By Ben Lawson