KAHULUI - So far, fireworks sales in Maui County have been a mixed bag.
At the fireworks tent at the Queen Ka'ahumanu Center on Friday afternoon, John Rasmussen, who was overseeing the operation, said there was a "steady flow" of customers on the first day the tent was open.
Customers already were eagerly snapping up the loud "Titanium" firecrackers that sell for $39.99 each, leaving Rasmussen with a low supply, he said.
The white fireworks tent in the parking lot of the Queen Ka‘ahumanu Center opened Friday morning and will stay open until New Year’s Eve. Valley Isle residents Nadid (left) and Liam Sribura point out fireworks to their father, Tom Sribura.
The Maui News / CHRIS SUGIDONO photo
The tent has more than 100,000 fireworks in stock and is open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.
The Maui News / CHRIS SUGIDONO photo
But there were still other firecrackers available for purchase. Those included a roll of firecrackers for $24.99, and the Kahuna firecrackers that contain a "bomb-type" feature for $17.99.
As for overall sales, he said, "I think we will do pretty good. . . . You can never really tell."
At Misaki's Inc. on Molokai, Kevin Misaki said sales were kind of slow, perhaps because the economy is still weak and consumers are opting not to buy firecrackers.
But he did add that those customers who are purchasing some items are buying them for their children.
"I think people with the kids are the ones that are really shopping," he said.
As of noon Friday, 169 firecracker permits had been sold in Maui County, a little more than half the total of permits sold last year, according to information from the Maui Fire Prevention Bureau.
So far, 146 firecracker permits had been been sold on Maui, 15 on Molokai and eight on Lanai. Last year, the county sold 333 permits.
This year, the county will have available 642 permits. The number of permits correspond to the number of firecrackers being brought to the islands for sale.
By law, people need to obtain a $25 permit to purchase up to 5,000 firecrackers. There is no limit to the number of permits one can purchase.
People do not need a permit to purchase sparklers, fountains, novelty items and the paperless crackers, which are a long roll of red tape with pockets on each side containing the charges that sort of mimic a firecracker.
Firecrackers are paper cylinders containing gunpowder.
Permits are required to purchase firecrackers, which state law defines as a paper cylinder containing a specific amount of gunpowder.
By law, fireworks and firecrackers can be set off legally only from 9 p.m. New Year's Eve (Monday) to 1 a.m. New Year's Day (Tuesday). Setting off fireworks at other times is illegal, and violators may be subject to fines up to $2,000.
People may also face penalties if they store, sell, possess, transfer, import aerial devices, display fireworks or pyrotechnic articles without having a valid license. Those who do so may be charged with a class C felony, which has a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison and fines.
People should not remove or extract pyrotechnic contents from any fireworks or articles and use them to construct fireworks. Those who do so may be guilty of a misdemeanor.
Officials recommend people ignite firecrackers and fireworks in a clear, flat area. A source of water should be readily available.
On Friday, the white fireworks tent in the Queen Ka'ahumanu Center's parking lot was filled will an assortment of 20 different types of fountains and 15 different type of novelty fireworks, all of which do not need a permit to purchase.
Rasmussen, a former Maui resident who resides in Oregon, said he expects the tent to be the busiest on New Year's Eve.
Misaki also anticipates fireworks sales to be brisker on New Year's Eve.
He called fireworks in Hawaii a tradition and said that his elderly parents do not like fireworks but do need to see some crackle and pop at midnight.
Although Misaki will not be buying firecrackers, he will buy the paperless crackers to set off for his family and parents instead.
Those who do want to purchase firecrackers may still get permits at the following locations:
* 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. today, Maui County Fire Prevention Bureau, 313 Manea Place, off Waiko Road in Waikapu. The office will also be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday.
* 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday, County Parks Permit Office, Lahaina Civic Center.
* 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday, County Parks Permit Office, Molokai.
* Regular store hours, Pine Isle Market, Lanai.
To purchase permits, people must be at least 18 years old and show proof of age.
For more information on permits, contact the Maui Fire Prevention Bureau at 244-9161 or go online to www.co.maui.hi.us and review the fireworks rules at the Department of Fire and Public Safety or Fire Prevention Bureau websites.
New Year's Eve public fireworks displays at midnight will be held in Hana below Fagan's Cross; in Wailea, set off from a barge off shore fronting the Grand Wailea; and on Lanai at the Four Seasons Resort at Manele Bay.
* Melissa Tanji can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.