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Fireworks go on sale Tuesday
15 groups expected to sell $600K in a week
Volunteers Terry Johnson, left, and Victor Gully help move one of the fireworks billboards in front of the Manteca Historical Museum fireworks booth on Wednesday. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Starting at noon Tuesday and until midnight on the Fourth of July it is legal to buy and use fireworks in Manteca that are designated as safe and sane.

Fifteen non-profit civic organizations won the annual city lottery for the privilege of selling fireworks.

It has been legal to sell and use safe and sane fireworks in Manteca since 2005. That’s when Councilman Vince Hernandez led a successful effort to end a decades-old ban against all fireworks except approved aerial displays in Manteca.

“I’m pretty happy with how it has gone,” said Hernandez who led the charge in a bid to help non-profits secure additional funding sources. “There are only so many rib dinners and crab feeds you can have.”

In past years, city sales tax records have shown the sale of fireworks by non-profits can easily top $600,000 during the seven-day period they’re allowed to be sold. Depending upon the charge they have for renting space and other costs including the purchase of fireworks and insurance non-profits can typically make between 30 and 45 percent returns.

As such the sale of fireworks each year pumps at least $200,000 in net revenue into the coffers of Manteca non-profits.

Critics feared legalizing the safe and sane fireworks would significantly increase fires and injuries. That hasn’t happened. At the same time, though, the use of illegal fireworks hasn’t abated.

And while Manteca police and fire won’t cite anyone for using legal fireworks in prescribed manners for the 168-hour period starting at noon Tuesday, they will still go after those who use illegal fireworks. Generally, fireworks that are illegal are devices that are aerial in nature such as sky rockets, bottle rockets, and mortars. Illegal fireworks also include firecrackers, cherry bombs, M-100s, M-80s, palomitas, helicopters, and Roman candles. They are the ones that typically start fires and injure people.

In past years Manteca Police have made a number of large busts involving people obtaining illegal fireworks from out-of-state as well as selling them out of the trunks of vehicles.

Hernandez noted that the city ordinance requires the council every five years to evaluate the sale of fireworks and determine if it should continue.

The City of Manteca’s aerial fireworks display takes place Sunday, July 3, at about 9 p.m. in the skies over the Big League Dreams Sports complex at Daniels Street and Milo Candini Drive.

The 15 non-profits that are selling are:

•The Tidewater Railway Society, 1151 W. Yosemite Ave.

•SONdance, 1077 Milo Candini Drive.

•South County Crisis Center, 815 W. Yosemite Ave.

•Place of Refuge, 1630 E. Yosemite Ave.

•Manteca Youth Focus, 289 W. Yosemite Ave.

•Manteca Police/SHARPs, 1223 W. Yosemite Ave.

•Manteca Historical Society, 600 W. Yosemite Ave.

•Manteca Convention & Visitors Bureau, 900 Perimeter Drive.

•Agape Villages Foster Family Services, 10000 N. Main St.

•Anderson’s BMX Team, 1101 S. Main St.

•Crossroads Church, 131 Spreckels Ave.

•His Way Recovery, 1172 N. Main St.

•Liberty Baptist Church, 1200 W. Lathrop Road.

•Moose Lodge, 1241 N. Main St.

•Love INC, 915 E. Yosemite Ave.