The city of Gary has announced that all vacant buildings will be used to sell fireworks. Some will operate through July 4 while others will remain open year-round.

In other news, neighboring Hobart says its opening a new fireworks store on Route 30 inside one of its existing fireworks stores.

“Hoosiers were calling for this,” said Hobart spokesman Dan Trillo.

The Indiana General Assembly just convened an emergency session where it will allow all liquor stores, closed on Sundays by law, to be open on Sunday strictly to sell fireworks.

“No Miller Lite for you, but feel free to purchase Cherry Bombs, Roman Candles and shells,” state Sen. Randolph Gerry said.

Indiana is embracing itself as the Fireworks State. Back to Gary, the city has announced its latest gun buy-back program. Only this time, instead of receiving cash for firearms, gun owners will receive fireworks.

There’s always room to sell fireworks, whether it’s vacant buildings in Gary or vacant land in Calumet Township. It’s where you can find Brendan Tooges, 39, near the corner of Ridge Road and Burr Avenue. Tooges has a unique “two-fer” business going on. He offers Freon refills for your car air conditioner and a small tent where you can shop for fireworks.

“I’ve sold rugs, candles and tire wash here along with my Freon,” Tooges said “But nothing is as good as gold as these here firecrackers. And the state allows it. God bless them.”

Julie Sturgis, of Merrillville, doesn’t want to bless the state government.

“I think its ironic that many cities and towns want to ban smoking in public places and yet encourages the sales of fireworks year-round,” she said. “Sometimes there’s so much smoke from fireworks going off that I can’t even see the front door of my trailer when I get home from work.”

Although fireworks laws are lax statewide, the boom of sales and activity occurs in Northwest Indiana – most likely to lure customers from neighboring Illinois, where fireworks are illegal, save for a few novelty items.

“I always come to Indiana for my three g’s – gas, cigarettes, and fireworks,” said Larry Jason, of Lynwood, Ill.

Northwest Indiana was in line to take a financial hit following the cancellation of its popular air show this July at Gary’s Marquette Beach because of the federal sequester.

Not anymore.

The Northwest Indiana Tourism Authority, which helmed the air show, has announced a replacement ticketed event, simply entitled Boom Show!

Instead of the Blue Angels soaring over Lake Michigan, local pyrotechnic operators will be stationed on a barge on the lake, where they will produce “Indiana’s largest fireworks display,” said a tourism spokeswoman. But that’s only part of it. Officials announced that visitors who come to the beach can bring their own fireworks and shoot them off randomly.

“Hoosiers love to blow sh*t up,” the spokeswoman said.


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