By Eric Norwood Jr.
PNT staff writer
Independence Day is upon us, and that means fireworks stands are popping up around the city. Fireworks have long been affiliated with Fourth of July celebrations, and this year the firework vendors of Portales have been doing their part to uphold the tradition.
Some have been in Portales for years, such as Segovia Fireworks.
“We’ve been doing this for 19 years,” says Allison Segovia, 19. Her brother Eric Segovia runs the stand now that it has been passed on from his parents.
Others, such as TNT Fireworks, feature new business operators. Donovan Amituanai, 23, is an Eastern New Mexico University football player who recently got into the firework business.
“I have a buddy who runs one out in Roswell. He told me TNT needed someone to run one out here in Portales, so I signed up.”
The process to sell fireworks does involve paperwork however. According to Eric Segovia, you must first obtain a permit from the State of New Mexico fire marshal. A business license from Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce is required after that, and then another permit from the Roosevelt County Fire Department.
Amituanai says the fire department did come out and make sure that every firework was legal. Certain fireworks have been banned for safety purposes, including all aerial fireworks, or anything that goes more than 10 feet in the air. Other restrictions include no fireworks sales to any minor 15 or younger, unless they are accompanied by a parent.
Even though there are many rules to follow, once the business is established, the money rolls on in. “Some days are slower, but we pull at least $100 a day,” says Allison Segovia.
“On an average day about we’ll make about $900,” says Amituanai. “Even with the storms coming in, people come out, so it’s pretty cool.”
According to Nicholas Yruegas, who runs the firework stand on the corner of Chicago and Canadian, residents of Roosevelt County will still get their fireworks despite the stormy weather projections. “People feel more comfortable when it rains. It’s wet and they feel safer doing it,” he says.
Most of the firework stands in town give out a list of firework safety tips to abide by. To the right is a copy of that list, printed to help ensure all of our county is safe during this Independence Day holiday.