Almost a decade ago, Maxine Swafford’s husband, Glenn, was battling heart cancer.
“He had cancer in a sack around his heart,” Maxine said. “He had a lot of surgeries and treatment. It was very painful for him.”
The rare form of cancer left Glenn hospitalized for months. The medical bills mounted. The family had to do something to raise money. They had the idea of opening a fireworks stand.
“We started selling fireworks when my dad got sick,” said Crystal Swafford. “That first year was good for business. We raised $2,500 for him.”
But six months later, Glenn fell victim to cancer.
“He passed away, but we decided to keep it going,” Crystal said. “We’ve been selling them ever since.”
Located in Park Springs, between Chico and Sunset on Texas 101, the stand brings the family together every Fourth of July and honors the memory of Glenn.
“I think this is the best holiday,” Crystal said. “We all get out here together and have a good time as a family. We like it. We take time off from our jobs to work out here.”
Crystal works for Coffman Tank Trucks the rest of the year, and Maxine works at Chico Mart.
This Independence Day will be their eighth year. They don’t open for New Year’s Eve.
“This year is different because a lot of people will be popping off on the 30th,” Crystal said. “But we hope to get a second rush for people who want to pop on the Fourth.”
Thanks to some spring and winter showers, this Fourth of July doesn’t look like it will be a red flag day.
“For people looking for a good place to pop, I always tell them to go to Bowie Lake,” Crystal said.
She said they are known as having the cheapest fireworks in all Wise County. She also said they have fun testing out the new fireworks.
“We have five kids that help us so they also love to see us test them out,” Crystal added. “I’m proud of the fact that we’ve got a wide variety of 500-gram fireworks this year. We’ve got more than 20 to choose from.”
Five-hundred gram fireworks are the most powerful permitted for consumer purchase. According to federal law, fireworks are allowed to have a maximum of 500 grams of pyrotechnic powders and chemicals.
“The new one I’m happy about is called ‘Happy Face,’” Crystal said. “It displays a smiley face in the sky.”
Although the idea for the fireworks stand came during a tragic time in their lives, it continues to put a smile of the faces of the Swafford family every year.