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Supply shortage postpones WesTex Connect Fireworks Spectacular Fourth of July show in Abilene

The fireworks crew and staff have about a third of the supplies needed with a week to go before the planned show.

ABILENE, Texas — With the WesTex Connect Fireworks Spectacular just days away, show crew members are scrambling to find firework materials. With a national fireworks shortage, supplies are at an all-time low, according to organizers. 

The spectacular firework show crew said this shortage heavily impacts their firework supply. 

Richard Kemp, WesTex Connect Fireworks Spectacular co-chair, said this show by far had been the most challenging because of the shortage. 

"It's been an ordeal. It has been a challenge to put this show together," Kemp said. 

Typically the fireworks show staff uses a distributor in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area. Unfortunately, he is no longer in business after the owner retired. The shortage is happening from coast-to-coast, but that is not stopping the firework crew from finding the last of the materials they need to produce the show.

"We've traveled to California, two trips to Chicago, Detroit, Florida, to get fireworks, and we still don't have them all here, but we're hoping we get our final shipment on Wednesday," Kemp said. 

Randy Beal, construction project manager, said he is optimistic. 

"I know it's going to be spectacular as always. So, I feel really good about it. Glad to be a part of it," Beal said. 

Kemp said the fireworks the are lacking would allow them to produce the show at its total capacity. 

"We have enough to do the show now, but we need the big finale," Kemp said. 

Because of the shortage, the event crew is also experiencing higher prices for materials. 

"They were up a good 15% last year in 2020 during COVID, and now they're up again with another 15%. So you're looking at 35% or 45% over the fireworks hard cost. over the last two years." Kemp said. 

Kemp said they have about a third of the fireworks supply with a week to go. 

This will be the 14th annual fireworks event and is said to be one of the top five fireworks shows in Texas.

The show is expected to take place at 10 p.m. Monday, July 5.

For more information, call the hotline at 325-794-1717; or go to wtconnect.com for more details and information.