Local Economy Affects Holiday Plans

Visalia, CA In our exclusive Action News Poll conducted by SurveyUSA, only 3% of the 550 Valley residents polled said they're buying more fireworks than they did last year. 62% said they're buying fewer fireworks and 30% said they're buying about the same number.

It turns out this tough economy isn't the only reason people are buying less fireworks this year.

As Leslee Machado watches the numbers go up when she fills up her car with gas, she sees her budget shrink when it comes to spending money on fireworks this year. Leslee Machado says, "We're getting together with a group of 9 or 10 families. We're all pitching in this year to have a fireworks show for our kids." Machado says her family usually goes all out. Not this year. Machado says, "We feel it in the hard place right in the pocket book!"

Our exclusive Action News poll conducted by SurveyUSA looks at why people in the Central Valley are cutting back on fireworks this year. 22% say it's the price of gasoline. 30% blame the economy in general. Then there's air pollution. Last week, the valley got blanketed in a thick and dangerous haze of smoke. 18% of those surveyed said air pollution has caused them to cut back. 17% say it's the threat of wildfires.

Irene Guzman stopped by this fireworks vendor on Dinuba Boulevard. Guzman and her son picked up some of their favorite fireworks, but didn't get as many as last year. Guzman says, "I'm cutting back. Gas is really, really high and we'll probably just go to Three Rivers and celebrate there."

Stephen Green sold Guzman the fireworks. He says some people may actually buy more fireworks this year because they don't want to spend money to travel far away for the holiday. Green says, "I think it's too early to tell. Yesterday, they sold more than they sold last year. This year, we're a little behind in the morning but who knows what'll happen this afternoon."

The vendor says they usually sell about 50% of their fireworks on July 4th. Some vendors expect sales to pick up towards the end of the week.

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