Neighborhood fireworks displays should sizzle – not fizzle. With that in mind, The Sacramento Bee once again assembled a team of flash-and-boom experts to chart points on the axis of spectacle and price.
Phantom and TNT recently brought their freshest “safe and sane” offerings to Sacramento Metropolitan Fire Station 105 in the Arden-Arcade area for judging. This year’s panel, 12 in all, consisted of Bee interns and staffers, as well as friends of the paper who can’t get enough of crackling, colorful combustibles.
Our accommodating firefighting hosts – at the ready just in case anything went sideways – didn’t offer pre-fireworks chili like they did last year. Instead they cooked hot dogs, a decision our panel judged to be both activity-appropriate and extremely generous.
The Bee is always striving to improve its judging of bright and shiny explosions. This year, Auburn audio engineer Luke Saxelby used a decibel reader to provide accurate noise measurements. (For perspective: A gas lawnmower 3 feet away has a dBA of 100). In addition, a 20-foot ladder served as a giant ruler for measuring blast heights.
Fireworks stands are set to open Friday and sell their goods through July 4. Here are the 10 sparklers, spinners and whistlers we think yield the most bang for your buck.