For New Year's Fireworks Fun, Head to Mat-Su
Fireworks illegal in Anchorage, but not in the Valley
HOUSTON - As December 31 gets closer, Gorilla Fireworks in Houston stays open longer, sometimes until two in the morning for whoever might need fireworks at that hour.
“You would be surprised. We have all kinds of people; they drive from everywhere. We've had tons of people from Kenai, Fairbanks, you name it. We have them from all over,” said employee Jackie Johnson.
Houston is the only place it’s legal to light off fireworks year round -- on private property with the owner’s permission.
Families stocked up on the holiday explosives and plan to ring in 2013 in their own unique ways.
“We're going to celebrate New Year's in a memorial to a friend of ours who died suddenly a couple weeks ago, so we've got some sky lanterns to honor him. Then we're going to carry on with our normal New Year's tradition,” said Wasilla residents Fran and Chris Jacobson.
Kristi Krueger from Palmer plans to go off the grid for the holiday. “This year I'm going camping with the kids and we're going to build a snow cave and we're going to use fireworks to light up the sky.”
Before you light the fuse make sure you know the rules. The Mat-Su Borough will only allow fireworks on New Year’s Eve from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. Anchorage residents are out of luck this year and it’s a $300 fine if you’re caught breaking the law.
“We follow the rules. We're definitely a little OCD on that. We're not dangerous at all when we set them off,” said Nettie Labelle-Hamer, who traveled all the way from Fairbanks to stock up on fireworks.
This isn’t the first holiday this year to have the sky lit up but Alaskans say it’s the best.
“New Year's for sure. Fourth of July you can't see, it's too light. Then you have the fire hazard too,” said Chris Jacobson.
Krueger says it’s a toss up. “Fourth of July it's light outside but it's warm. For New Year's it's dark out so you can actually see everything but it's so cold. So I'm hoping for a warm New Year's.”
While warm is always a relative term in Alaska, people say they’re just happy to celebrate with their loved ones, but hope it’s not a subzero night for sparklers.