The Expense of Fireworks: What Communities Spend for July 4th

Posted on 07/02/2012

Ever wonder how much money gets shot up into the sky during Fourth of July celebrations? According to experts the average city spends around $3,000 while larger communities blow about $25,000 on fireworks displays. But the biggest bang happens in the largest US metropolitan areas where a Fourth of July pyrotechnics show can cost millions.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania The city of Philadelphia spends around $2.1 million on its Fourth of July celebration, but that includes far more than just a fireworks display. It’s a full week of events that attract a half million people each year, making it an important part of the city’s tourism efforts.

Boston, Massachusetts
The Boston Pops Firework Spectacular is one of the most well-known—and probably one of the most expensive—fireworks shows in the country. According to reports the price tag for the massive show is a whopping $2.5 million with more than 20,000 pounds of fireworks getting shot into the sky. But according to the CBS affiliate in Boston, Liberty Mutual sponsors the show, paying for most of it. WBZ-TV also covers some costs.

Seattle, Washington
One of the biggest fireworks shows in the country almost ended its tradition when the event’s largest sponsor collapsed. But community members in Seattle, Washington raised a half million dollars this year to keep the Family 4th Celebration going.

Wickliffe and Westlake, Ohio
According to a report on, the city of Wickliffe, which has a population of just over 13,000, spends about $21,000 on its annual July 4th fireworks display. Around $18,000 of that is covered by the city and $3,000 is paid by local businesses. Meanwhile Cleveland suburb Westlake, population 30,366, says their show is $25,000, all of which is covered by taxpayer dollars.

Appleton and Hilbert, Wisconsin
According to the Post Crescent newspaper, not a single dime of taxpayer money will go up in smoke in the communities of Appleton and Hilbert, Wisconsin this Fourth of July. That’s because the local Jaycees are sponsoring the show. They’ll foot the bill for the $20,000 worth of pyrotechnics, saving taxpayers lots of cash.

Colorado Fireworks
In the past, communities across Colorado invested around $30,000 on fireworks displays, but this year the sky may be darker. That’s because the recent fires sweeping across the state forced more than 30 fireworks shows to cancel festivities, according to That’s because no matter what the fireworks cost and who pays for them, the price is too high if someone gets hurt or property is destroyed.

By Alison Storm

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