Public fireworks displays might be canceled this Fourth of July weekend, but Fireworks by Tony Donnora in Forkston has customers covered to celebrate at home.
“People were sitting in their houses cooped up because of the virus,” Donnora said. “Being that they’ve been cooped up so long, a lot of elderly people have been coming in here and spending a couple hundred dollars to just go in their backyard and have some fun.”
Donnora nicknamed himself the “Godfather of Fireworks in Wyoming County.” His 10,000 square foot showroom offers a wide selection of Class C fireworks for all occasions.
“There’s been other companies before me, but I’m the first in Wyoming County to build a firework plant, to manufacture and to sell fireworks,” he said.
At the showroom, customers can find a variety of brands, such as Black Cat, Brothers, and Miracle. Often, customers will allow Donnora to curate an order of fireworks based on their budget and expectations.
These customers typically come back year after year, he said.
“Since the virus hit and everything is going around, we didn’t think we would do that good because of people being laid off,” he said. “We didn’t think people would have money, but we’ve been doing better this year starting out. The government let us open up May 22.”
The showroom is typically open from April 1 to Labor Day, then by appointment for the rest of the year.
Besides the Fourth of July, customers purchase fireworks for other holidays, as well as special occasions like birthdays, weddings, and graduation parties.
Donnora first got involved in the fireworks business at 16, working for companies in Old Forge and Moosic to learn the ropes before buying property in Forkston to go into business for himself.
“I’ve been here about 40 years,” he said. “I’m still amazed by certain fireworks.”
He was originally the owner of the business, but legal troubles led to him being unable to continue. Now, Rebecca Robinson owns the business while Donnora serves as its manager.
As of October 2017, Pennsylvanians ages 18 and over can purchase and use Class C fireworks, which Donnora said previously required a permit. This made the sales tax more than double, so he offers discounts based on how much a customer spends.
Donnora reminded anyone setting off fireworks this weekend to exercise caution. Shopping bags at Fireworks by Tony Donnora list the following tips for consumers:
- Always read and follow instructions on the label.
- Never let children handle, play with or light fireworks.
- Be smart: alcohol and fireworks don’t mix.
- Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
- Ignite fireworks outdoors only on a hard, flat and lev
- el surface.
- Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers. Use them in a clear, open area.
- Keep the audience a safe distance away from the shooting site.
- Do not light fireworks where there is dry grass or flammable items.
- Keep clear of fireworks.
- Never put your head or any part of your body over the top of any fireworks.
Never look into a tube to check on the firework item or hold a lit firework in your hand.
- Light fireworks one at a time.
- Never re-light malfunctioning fireworks or attempt to alter or fix any “dud” fireworks.
Have a fire extinguisher, bucket of water or hose nearby.
- Never throw fireworks at another person.
- Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.