PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The migration to the confluence has been steady throughout the day all aimed towards being in the best spot for the fireworks at Point State Park.
The Miles family came from Brookville very early to stake out the same spot they have occupied for the last nine years on the great lawn on the north shore.
Erica Miles says it takes most of the week to prepare for their marathon wait for fireworks.
“We bring enough food to feed a family of 12, and things to keep the dog cool and toys to entertain this one,” Erica said, pointing at her daughter.
Just down the hill from the Miles and tied off on the Allegheny Wharf Drew Hill from Plum felt like he captured the best spot on the river, “cause you got a nice view of the city and the fireworks is pretty important to get down here I woke up early to get everything together.”
Wearing a Captain America shirt, Josh Tromitas arrived early to start popping the Wild River Kettle Korn.
“Popcorn and fireworks that sounds like Fourth of July to me,” he said.
Not far away Becky Galizia of Seivers Concessions was cooking up the chicken-on-a-stick.
A few feet away the lemonade cups were poised for the coming cooldowns.
Galizia says all of this just tastes better here.
“I think it’s the atmosphere, it’s what you expect,” Galizia said. “People love to come out for this. At home you cook it yourself and its okay but when you come out its the converging of everything that comes together and just makes it taste better.”
While thousands will observe the “Flashes of Freedom Fireworks” at the point, thousands more will be putting on their own shows at home.
The line was out the door and down the sidewalk at the Phantom Fireworks retail store in Monroeville.
Mike Jones came from Homewood and never expected to have to wait to get into the building.
“I was expecting some people but not this many,” he said.
Phantom says this year the average purchase has been around $180 dollars with the top sale ringing in at over $10,000.
Ron Wiles spent about $1,200 dollars for a host of fireworks but for a different reason.
He lost his daughter Charlie ten years ago on the Fourth of July.
“She liked colors,” he said. “She liked a lot of colors so we started setting fireworks off at her gravesite and we do it every year.”
Ron says his display is larger than a lot of community events and neighbors come out to support the family every year.
Several police departments have warned residents they will be watching for fireworks violations.
It’s illegal to shoot off the exploding overhead fireworks within 150 feet of any structure. That’s the length of a half of a football field.
“Our officers are out and about and if they see them using fireworks they can cite them for it,” said Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert.
He added the officer must personally see the violation.
A final point about fireworks at home; experts say there is no such thing as a dud. Any firework that has been lit has the potential to explode. If a firework does not go off, let it sit 20 minutes and then submerge it in water.