Summer is almost here and with that comes the Fourth of July. For many in the Evansville area, this is a time to invest in legal explosives and light them off in celebration of our country's independence. While most days it is illegal to discharge fireworks within the city of Evansville, there are a handful of days and times when it is perfectly legal to do so.

Undoubtedly, there will be a massive outcropping of fireworks retailers popping up all across the area with their tents and signs promising Black Cats and Sparklers, and of course the big ones - what the city of Evansville considers "Consumer Fireworks."

What is a "Consumer Firework?"

The City Municipal Ordinance Code 9.10.020 is what defines what is considered "Consumer Fireworks." According to the ordinance,

  • Aerial devices, which include sky rockets, missile-type rockets, helicopter or aerial spinners, roman candles, mines, and shells;
  • Ground audible devices, which include firecrackers, salutes, and chasers; and
  • Firework devices containing combinations of the effects described in subsections [above]
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You've Bought Your Fireworks, Now What?

You might be one of those people who go all out and you buy enough fireworks to put on a sizeable display for your entire neighborhood but if you live within the city limits, there are some restrictions that you need to be aware of so you don't end up getting a visit from the Evansville Police Department or the Fire Marshal - you actually have to have a permits from both the Fire Marshal and Chief of the Fire Department to host a fireworks display. Learn more about this, by reading the Municipal Code 9.10.020.

When Can You Set Off Your Fireworks?

There are actually very specific rules regarding the proper use of fireworks within the city of Evansville. In fact, setting them off before June 29th is illegal. Fireworks may be discharged within the city limits during the following days and times:

  • June 29th - July 3rd between the hours of 5pm and 2 hours after sunset, but no later than 10:30pm
  • July 4th between 10am and Midnight
  • July 5th - 9th between the hours of 5pm and 2 hours after sunset, but no later than 10:30pm
  • Between the hours of 10pm on December 31st and 1am on January 1st

Where Can You Set Off Your Fireworks?

The Municipal Ordinance is very specific about where you can set off your fireworks as well. The code says,

  • No person may use, ignite, or discharge consumer fireworks on any public street or in any public park or public area within the corporate limits of the City of Evansville at any time.
  • No person may use, ignite, or discharge consumer fireworks in a manner which causes them to land upon property owned or occupied by another person.

Basically, you are only legally allowed to set off your fireworks on your own property and you definitely want to be sure that you aren't sending your aerial fireworks onto your neighbor's property so you don't violate the ordinance but also so you're not being a jerk neighbor.

What Happens If I Break the Rules?

If you don't follow the guidelines outlined in the Municipal Code, you may be subjected to fines. According to the Evansville Police Department, the first offense is a $25 fine. The second offense is a little steeper at $100 and every offense after that is a fine of $250. It seems that it might just be a more affordable option to observed the rules that the city has put into place to keep everyone safe.

It is worth noting that when talking about "Consumer Fireworks," you average sparkler, Black Cat, or cone fountain (read: fireworks that don't travel up into the air) do not fall into the category of "Consumer Fireworks" and for that reason are not subject to the same limitations as what I've shared above. At the end of the day, I hope that if you're lighting fireworks this Fourth of July that you are safe, cautious, and respectful.

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