Toward the end of June, striped fireworks tents start popping up, dotting parking lots and roadsides throughout Pulaski County in anticipation of 4th of July.
For 34 years one of those fireworks tents, owned and operated by Wanda and Greg Creach, has been in the same location, Hidden Valley Plaza.
Wanda Creach grew up in Swedeborg and her husband, Greg has been here since the late 1960s.
Wanda told the Daily Guide that Greg started this (firework stands) when he was 16 years old and became interested in selling fireworks because of Greg.
Wanda and Greg first started selling fireworks from stands, two 25 feet stands.
Wanda said, “About 20 plus years ago we got into tents. Tents became a thing. They were much cooler and were larger and we had more inventory.”
Wanda and Greg have another local business, but 20 days out of the year they sell fireworks.
Wanda begins preparing her firework tent about two months out.
Wanda explained, “There are special licenses you have to apply for. You have to go through the State of Missouri, Missouri Fire Marshall, and also apply for county and city licenses.
Missouri Law states that seasonal retailers can sell fireworks between June 20 and July 10.
On June 16, Wanda began setting up the tent and surrounding fence. She spent two days stocking the tent and taking inventory. On June 20th, for the 35th year, the Creach Family Thunder Mountain fireworks tent opened for business.
Outside of the tent hangs the original Thunder Mountain sign painted in the late 80s by late Waynesville artist Bud Turner.
The sign has withstood over 35 years of unpredictable Missouri weather including recent storms.
Every day is a busy day. The Creach Family sells a variety of fireworks, something for everybody.
Wanda organizes everything in the tent in categories so that when people come in they are not overwhelmed and can find exactly what they're looking for.
Wanda said there is a section just for children, but anyone wanting to purchase fires under the age of 14 needs to be accompanied by a parent.
Wanda told the Daily Guide, “What's very important with children and fireworks is that they are always supervised and they follow the instructions and they use the fireworks the way they were intended to be used. Safety and supervision is one of the most important things. We are all about safety and being informative. If there is something about the product like the product needing a level surface or making sure the customer knows sky lanterns need to be filled with as much hot air so they go straight up and not out I tell them."
This years popular seller are seller children's fireworks and 500 gram cakes.
One accompanied child said his favorite firework is the ladybug.
The Daily Guide asked his parents why they come this stand every year and they replied, “We like the owner and the great deals.”
As Wanda walked around the tent helping customers and answering questions she said, “We just want everyone to have a safe and happy 4th of July as they celebrate with family and friends."