Harger’s guide to neighborhood etiquette this Fourth of July: ‘Be sober when setting off explosives’

Jul 3, 2024, 10:40 AM | Updated: Jul 4, 2024, 7:19 pm

fourth of july fireworks...

Lake Union Fireworks for a Fourth of July celebration showering the Space Needle in light. (Photo: David R Irons Jr., Getty Images)

(Photo: David R Irons Jr., Getty Images)

I really love fireworks. But you know what drives me crazy when celebrating America’s independence this Fourth of July? Fireworks.

The big display at Gasworks Park. The celebration at so many town centers. Fireworks set off by professionals are just fantastic. Love them.

And heck — once it gets dark on the Fourth of July, being in the neighborhood, setting off some fountains, maybe even a couple of Black Cat firecrackers? You won’t get any complaints from me, as long as it’s before 10 p.m. or so. You know what? It’s a national holiday. 11 p.m. is even fine. Go for it.

County-by-county fireworks guide: Where can you set off fireworks in Washington?

But there’s always that one guy. Light beer has been his only source of hydration for that day — or maybe that whole week. He’s the guy who thinks the whole dang neighborhood will be delighted to have an M80 go off at 1 a.m. The guy who gets some mortars and can’t see why it would be a bad idea to set them off in his tree-lined neighborhood. The guy who encourages his kids to have Roman candle shootouts with the neighbors. That guy.

Don’t be that guy.

And I’m assuming you’re not that guy because you’re a good person who listens to Seattle’s Morning News and would never do something that is un-neighborly, irresponsible and annoys the whole block.

And look, there are all sorts of cities and towns around here that have fireworks bans. Maybe fireworks are cut down a little in these spots, but if it goes up or blows up — it’s still happening in places where fireworks are outlawed.

So maybe we can agree to a framework, instead. How about this: Be sober when setting off explosives. If you’re in a tightly-packed neighborhood, don’t set off fireworks that go up in the air and can burn down your neighbor’s house. A little loud? That’s OK, but if it’s a firework that makes your ears ring more than freedom, don’t buy that one.

And lastly, July 4 — only. I used to live in a neighborhood where fireworks went off constantly for the two weeks before and after Independence Day. The kids and dogs were not big fans. You might think it’s fun to set off something loud outside the Fourth of July, but I can assure you, your neighbors don’t.

More from Charlie Harger: It’s time to try something different regarding presidential debates

So, enjoy the fireworks, but remember: Don’t be that guy. Celebrate responsibly, OK? Because nothing says “Happy Independence Day” like granting your own fingers their independence.

And trust me, your neighbors will thank you for it.

Charlie Harger is the News Director for and KIRO Newsradio.

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Harger’s guide to neighborhood etiquette this Fourth of July: ‘Be sober when setting off explosives’