WINONA, Minn. (KTTC)- The celebration of Independence Day is only a few days away and everyone will be wanting to see large firework displays.
It is illegal to buy the big fireworks in Minnesota, but a quick trip to Wisconsin offers a variety of firework options and a growing list of frustrations for Minnesota safety officials.
It is a story not unique to cities like Winona, dealing with fireworks purchased minutes away in Wisconsin.
A battle that is set to continue on.
The 4th of July. Independence Day. A day synonymous with celebrations with large firework displays.
Jim Multhaup with the Winona Fire Department has been dealing with a specific problem for years; people driving across the border, buying their fireworks, and then bringing them back for their own use.
"It's awkward and it doesn't make a whole lot of sense, because we can look across the river through the window here and see the state of Wisconsin. We can drive there in a couple of minutes and there are firework stands."
This is nothing new, people traveling across the border into Wisconsin and buying fireworks for the 4th of July, and this is something firework distributors like William Sommers aren't exactly deterring.
"They have a celebration, which they're celebrating the birth of their country and you're not going to take that away from the patriotic people. Simple as that."
Sommers has been selling fireworks at Buffalo Fireworks in Fountain City for over 50 years and sees this issue come up each 4th of July.
"After the fireworks are in, that problem disappears. Nobody gets hurt, everybody's happy and it's something to argue about and make a big fuss."
Will the issue ever be resolved? That is something Sommers sees happing down the road.
"They're going to have to have a permit and that's going to be the big hurdle because so many of the jurisdictions are going to say 'No, we're not going to give you a permit,' and they're right back to zero."
For Multhaup and the rest of Winona, the message remains the same.
"People are going to buy them, there's no doubt about that, but they're obviously illegal and they're obviously dangerous."
The State of Minnesota almost made fireworks legal this year, but that legislative decision was overturned with at veto from Governor Mark Dayton.
While both sides of the border have their priorities, both say that safety is their number one concern.
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