The annual July 4 fireworks display at North Wilkesboro’s Memorial Park, which is Wednesday night, is one of the best public events of the year in Wilkes County.

The only fireworks display permit presented to the Wilkes County commissioners this year was for the Memorial Park event.

Despite that, the sounds of fireworks flying through the air or spinning on the ground and exploding can already be heard and likely will continue through the weekend. Tennessee and South Carolina, where exploding fireworks are legally sold, are too close by to expect otherwise.

Violation of North Carolina’s fireworks law is a misdemeanor offense punishable by a fine of up to $500 and or imprisonment of up to six months, but enforcement is complaint driven in most places.

For the record, firecrackers, ground spinners, bottle rockets, Roman candles and aerial fireworks can’t legally be set off in North Carolina without a permit. In general, sparklers, fountains and novelty fireworks items that don’t explode or aren’t intended to spin or leave the ground and fly through the air, are permitted for use in North Carolina.

The risks of setting off exploding fireworks should be obvious, but many people wrongly believe sparklers and similar fireworks are safe because they’re legal. It often is small consumer fireworks that start fires or cause serious injuries. A handheld sparkler can cause third-degree burns.

Make this July 4 period a safe one by remembering that fireworks of any sort aren’t toys and should only be handled by responsible adults. Don’t wear loose clothing when handling fireworks.

Light one at a time and move away from it quickly. If it doesn’t light the first time, don’t try to light it again.

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