Yesterday was the fourth of July and although I had plans to celebrate the holiday with The Lazy Pug for their special event, it felt like something was missing. Not beer, not barbecue, or friends… but fireworks.

FireworksFireworks come from China so this should be easy, right? Not exactly, because:

  1. Fireworks are controlled in China. You cannot just buy them anywhere
  2. Fireworks are not allowed to be used inside of major cities
  3. No one really uses fireworks outside of Chinese new year

As I was lamenting the lack of fireworks to Chantelle, she had an idea. This is exactly what she said: “There are factories near Chengdu that make fireworks. I can find them.”

At 2pm on the afternoon of the 4th, it seemed like a long shot, to say the least.

Ten minutes later, she had not only located and contacted a fireworks factory within the vicinity of Chengdu, but had the name of an insider who was willing to sell them to us. The mission was on.

Inside the Fireworks Deal

After leaving my office and going home, I met with Chris, Justin, and Greg and Chantelle picked us up in a Chinese SUV. The model name on the back of the car said “Tiggo”. Into the Tiggo we went, and we drive about 25 minutes south of Chengdu to rendezvous with the fireworks dealer. He had agreed to meet us off the highway exit to save us some time, so we pulled off the highway at the agreed upon exit and waited. We walked around and noticed that the sky was clear and it felt like we were nowhere near Chengdu.

Then a miniature pickup truck pulls up with a greasy but smiling Chinese man pulls up to us and stops. Apparently the highway exit that he selected was safe enough to proceed with the transaction, so we followed him down the road a ways before we both stopped and he opened the back of the pickup truck so we could examine his wares.

Four large boxes of fireworks, each a self contained unit which fired off dozens of individual rockets in sequence. This was the good stuff.

Chantelle negotiated over the price with him for a minute or so before I interjected that I was willing to pay the price that he was asking on one condition: he pose for a photo in front of his truck. He agreed and I took this photo:

Fireworks Man

Then we returned to Chengdu and set off this enormous fireworks display on a pedestrian overpass with hundreds of people watching. After the show ended, people clapped. What a great 4th of July. Video and photos below.

Chengdu 4th of July Fireworks