Mel Picanco sold safe and sane fireworks years ago in Sacramento.
Back then, he remembered the TNT package called the Grand 49’er being appropriately priced at $49.99. Today, the 49’er is still around but at the inflated value of $69.99.
“It’s gone up in price over the years, but I think it’s still one of the best deals,” Picanco said. “The Grand 49’er (package) has things we don’t sell individually on the shelf.”
Picanco is a member of the local Knights of Columbus. The non-profit group is among 18 booths in Manteca selling TNT and Phantom items to celebrate the Fourth of July.
On that first day – Monday – folks purchased safe-and-sane fireworks items, from fountains and cones to spinners and jacks.
“We had a good first day,” reported Ryan Deardorff, who worked the fireworks booth benefiting His Way Recovery House, a religious-based organization dedicated to helping men and women recovering from the effects of drug and alcohol abuse.
He added, “Among our best sellers were Killer Bees and Crackling Cactus.”
His father, Brother Al Deardorff, spruced up the area of the North Main Street fireworks booth, inserting scads of small American flags that extended from Lancaster Drive to East Louise Avenue.
Supporters of the His Way Recovery House did their part by waving signs to attract passing motorists.
“We had guys goofing around and having fun,” Ryan Deardorff said. “One us
ed his sign as a guitar.”
The South County Crisis Center is the newcomer to the safe-and-sane fireworks business.
“We were in the lottery (for a booth) four years ago,” said Lynn Price, executive director.
The non-profit organization services victims of domestic violence in Manteca, Tracy, Lathrop, Ripon, French Camp and surrounding communities during their time of need.
Price noted that proceeds from the fireworks sale will go back to the Crisis Center, which has been struggling to stay in operation.
“This is a big bonus for us,” she said. “What we sell should keep us open for at least six or eight months.”
The Crisis Center booth made its debut a day after the opening of most booths around town.
“It’s been slow,” said Mary Rankin, who is the administrative assistant at the Crisis Center. “But it’s only Tuesday.”
All three firework booths are in the area of East Louise Avenue and North Main Street.
The Crisis Center booth is located next door to the Moose Lodge or across the street from that of His Way Recovery House, with the Knights of Columbus just south of that next to the Carl’s Jr. Restaurant.
The fireworks booths are expected to stay open through Sunday or until supplies last.
“We also take credit cards,” Price added.