During college I spent a season selling fireworks at a roadside stand in South Dakota.  As you can see on the map below, posted at Buzzfeed, South Dakota is one of the few states where you can buy serious fireworks.  We sold some pretty hard-core stuff, but I mostly liked working there because the packages were so pretty.

In any case, if you haven’t lived in any of the dark blue states, you may not have seen the roadside stands that pop up this time of year.  Some are elaborate seasonal operations, but others are rather ramshackle.  Fireworks for sale end up getting crammed into all manner of places.  Lucky for us, in 2010 photographer Bill Vaccaro drove across the country snapping shots of these retailers.  You can see them all at NPR; I borrowed just a few to reproduce here:

Merrillville, Indiana:

Gary, Indiana:

Chambersberg, Pennsylvania:

Convoy, Ohio:


Hardeeville, South Carolina:
Chattanooga, Tennessee:Many more at Bill Vaccaro’s website.

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
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