Century II was taken over last week as the National Fireworks Association held their annual expo in Wichita.
Over 200 booth vendors competed for the business of fireworks wholesalers and what pyrotechnics will “wow” people on Independence Day, 2019.
For one Kansas company, innovation is everything.
Garrett’s Fireworks out of Osage City prides itself in being an environmentally-conscious fireworks company and creating new products.
“This is an item that’s new for 2019 and it’s a reloadable, handheld, color-changing smoke device that changes color it’s the first of its kind,” Eric Garrett with Garrett’s Fireworks said of their new plastic gun that doubles as a plastic toy after it’s done shooting fireworks.
Garrett makes frequent visits to China to work with fireworks engineers and said he had the idea for a fire hydrant fountain in 2009. He came up with a mold three years ago.
“I tried to make it out of paper but it didn’t work. So we had to kind of wait for the technology to catch up with our industry. That kind of created a revolution in our industry where more and more fireworks are being made out of plastic,” Garrett said.
Another item of Garrett’s is a plastic dragon. His company hired a designer from Disney to free-lance work on the concept. But it needed something else.
“I asked my four-year-old twins what color the dragon should be and they said red. So that’s how that came to be,” Garrett said with a smile.
The expo is typically hosted in coastal cities, but draws in factories from all over the world.
“We have Chinese factories that are here…we have German factories and companies…we have some from Australia,” Steve Houser of the National Fireworks Association said.
Jake’s Fireworks out of Pittsburg, Kan. enjoyed the expo being three hours from home.
“I think everybody is trying to look at new effects out there and it’s something many companies out here are trying to push the envelope,” George Yaghmour with Jake’s said.