By JOHN KLINE
THE GOSHEN NEWS
GOSHEN — The 4th of July holiday is fast approaching, and the fireworks are flowing.
It’s a big change from last year’s 4th of July holiday, when a brutal drought blanketing the area caused widespread bans on both personal and professional fireworks displays, and even flipping on the grill could earn you a hefty fine.
Not so this year, as frequent thunderstorms and significant rainfall in the area have replaced drought conditions to create a green and lush landscape well suited for fireworks frivolity.
That’s good news for fireworks lovers. It’s even better news for those that sell them.
Autumn Crupe of New Life Tabernacle in Kendallville is one such seller. On most days leading up to July 4th, Crupe can be found manning the cash register at the TNT Fireworks Tent located in the front parking lot of the Super Walmart on Goshen’s south side. Friday was no different.
“My husband and I are in charge of the tent out here, and this is actually our family’s 18th year doing it,” Crupe said while manning the tent. “Our church actually has a contract with TNT Fireworks, where they basically ship everything to us, we sell it, and then we receive a portion of anything we sell. For us, part of the proceeds will go to the New Life Tabernacle, and then since we’re running the tent, part of the proceeds will go to my husband and I to help pay for our new babies. We’re currently expecting twins.”
Crupe remembers all too well the blistering heat and lack of rain that put a virtual kibosh on her fireworks-selling enterprise last year.
“Oh, it was just awful,” Croup said. “It was really rough, and we have a lot of friends and churches that work with TNT who lost so, so much money last year because the sales couldn’t keep up with the expenses. We barely broke even last year, so we were very lucky, but there were a lot of people that lost a lot of money.”
Luckily that all appears to be turning around, with Croup reporting a steady and eager sales environment.
“It’s been pretty steady so far,” Croup said of recent sales. “I wouldn’t say we’re super busy, but normally we’re not that busy this far out from the 4th. But I would say its been good.”
The same seemed to be holding true for fellow seller Carrie Muir, head of the TNT Fireworks Tent located in the front parking lot of the Walmart located on Goshen’s west side. Like Crupe, Muir’s work with TNT goes to benefit her church, New Life Church of Goshen.
“This is actually our third year doing this, and last year was really tough,” Muir said. “But we made it through, and this year’s its definitely looking better. We’re still in the beginning stages of the whole fireworks season, but this is so, so much better than last year. So we’re feeling good about it.”
And apparently she’s not the only one.
“Man, the people coming in are so excited, probably more excited this year than we’ve ever seen,” Muir said with a laugh. “Since last year they couldn’t see them anywhere, this year they’re really ready to see some good fireworks.”
Sheena Echols, a former Nappanee resident and current resident of Chicago, couldn’t agree more. Echols was in town with her cousin Friday afternoon to look for some good deals on fireworks before heading back to Chicago.
“I was here last year when the drought hit and they had to cancel everything, and it was just really sad,” Echols said. “I have a small child, so it wasn’t too fun to have the 4th of July without the sparkles. It just wasn’t the same.”