For years, fireworks enthusiasts had two choices in Utah: buy devices locally that set off a shower of sparks on the ground or smuggle in devices that shoot flaming balls into the air. This year, the rules have changed, allowing for a wider variety of legal fireworks in Utah.
Enthusiasts can legally purchase aerial devices known as "multiple tubes," "repeaters" and "cakes," as well as spend more time setting them off.
"The new laws will allow people to see what real fireworks are all about," said Syracuse resident Theron Watson, explaining that Utah residents can now experience what he enjoyed for years when he lived in Washington state.
"It was like Christmas for me. I was like a kid in a candy store."
Watson has been in the fireworks business with his father, Ted, for about 30 years. Every July, he and his family set up retail tents on parking lots across the Wasatch Front, as well as wholesale businesses in other states.
In the past, Utah limited the use of fireworks to three days before and three days after Independence Day and Pioneer Day.
Weber Fire Marshal Ted Black said residents can now purchase and use fireworks June 26 to July 26.
During that extended time, residents can add aerial devices to their pyrotechnic arsenals.
The cakes shoot flaming balls into the air. They basically are the kind of fireworks seen at Fourth of July shows at city parks, but on a smaller scale. Before this year, Utah residents could only legally buy and set off "fountains," devices that feature a shower of sparks.
"They are significantly different from what we've had before," Black said. "We hope everybody is careful with them and uses proper caution."
Black warns people who set off any fireworks to consider their surroundings, wind and fallout, as well as what is overhead, such as awnings.
Firecrackers, M-80s, cherry bombs, bottle rockets, Roman candles, single or reloadable mortars and ground salutes are still not allowed in the state.
Black also warns residents not to modify their fireworks.
"As long as you stay with the stuff you buy in Utah, you should be able to light them all month long."
The aerial devices will not be on display with the other fireworks. To purchase cake fireworks, buyers will have to get the items directly from the seller, like a prescription or merchandise locked behind a display case.
It is hoped the additional measure will help with safety.
The Watsons said it is difficult to distinguish a fountain from a cake, so shoppers should read the packaging carefully. Instructions should also be clearly explained on each device.
Besides ramping up the patriotic celebrations, changing the rules also provides an economic incentive to the state.
"Folks who were going to Wyoming can stay here and pretty much buy the same thing," Black said.
Watson said he used to be frustrated that he could not set off the same fireworks he sold in other states.
"What I hated about Utah fireworks is they were Utah fireworks -- fountains and stuff. They weren't exciting for me."
Now he can sell fireworks ranging in price from $2 to $125 that shoot up to 150 feet in the air -- fireworks that make the adrenaline flow, Watson said.
"I love those kinds of fireworks, when you can get that power. They are so loud."