The Fourth of July is right around the corner and with it, of course, are fireworks.

Like eight other nonprofit organizations in Los Banos, Los Banos Rotarians will be selling fireworks this year. Rotarians will be in the Walmart parking lot, from June 28 to July 4.

Like other stands in Los Banos, the Rotary fireworks booth will open on noon June 28 (after an inspection by the Los Banos Fire Department) and then be open from June 29 to July 4  from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

As a Rotarian I’ve agreed to work a couple of shifts, which means I’ve had to psych myself up for the challenge.

I began by reflecting on the “Star Spangled Banner,” which tells of the “rockets’ red glare” and “the bombs bursting in air,” which revealed the American flag was still flying and the United States had an important victory in the War of 1812.

Now I’m getting revved up. I can do this. I can sell fireworks, but not the kind that burst like bombs in the air, but safer and quieter ones, not the loud, illegal ones that go off too close to my home and make my dogs hide under the bed.

I had to keep revving up because, as everyone else who has ever worked in a fireworks booth knows, it’s a tough job. I’ve been down that road before, or rather in that booth before, over the past two decades every few years in different locations.

This year the Rotary Club is back selling fireworks, the first time since 2021. We got lucky. Each year in the spring all Los Banos nonprofit organizations interested in selling fireworks put their names on slips in a hat, and the city’s fire department draws out nine slips. In the spring of 2024, the Los Banos Rotary Club slip was one of the nine pulled out.

When I heard the news that my Rotary club had been selected to sell fireworks  in 2024, I had two reactions. First, I had a visceral response of “Shucks!” or something similar. That’s because I know the work involved in doing this, not only for me but for the whole club.

My second, and better, reaction, was “Hooray!”  because I know how much the dollars raised in a fireworks booth will be able to fund the important things the Los Banos Rotary Club does for the community.

This is what sustains Rotarians (as well as members of every other nonprofit group that sells fireworks) through the arduous task of fireworks selling.  The task is arduous for several reasons. First, booth workers must know and be able to explain the many different products that are being sold and the prices.

Then they need to tabulate the items and take cash or run a credit card through whatever mobile system they have. They must keep focused through a shift that runs for hours working sometimes in intense heat, all the while demonstrating enthusiasm, courtesy and efficiency.

But that’s only half of the challenge the Rotary Club and other nonprofits selling fireworks have. Club members have to secure a storage unit in which the fireworks are stored. They need to make sure someone is “on guard” at all hours, even through the night, to make sure no one tries to tamper with the storage unit.

They have to work closely with the company providing fireworks, including knowing how many fireworks to order, then being on the scene when the products are delivered, then keeping track of all fireworks sold and unsold, and then being on the scene to return the unsold products to the company.

And here’s the hardest part: the club has to find enough people to work the many three-to-four hour shifts between 8 a.m. Friday, June 28, and 8:30 p.m. Thursday, July  4. with each shift having between three and six people working at the same time. That equals 110 slots to fill.

It’s a lot of work. But again, Rotarians find consolation and inspiration knowing that the funds raised will help the community in many ways. For the Los Banos Rotary Club that means supporting projects like scholarships for high school seniors in Los Banos graduating from four high schools–Pacheco, Los Banos, San Luis and Crossroads.

It also means supporting local food banks, providing bags of food for students at elementary schools in Los Banos, supporting the Christmas Angel Tree, helping local Boy Scout Troop 85 and supporting literacy and children’s projects at the Los Banos public library, just to name a few. And every year, other projects come up to support people and organizations in need.

I’m psyched up now. This 78-year-old man is ready to sell—almost. One more thing:  I have to acquaint myself with the variety of products TNT (the company that provides fireworks for the Rotary Club) will be selling this year.

As in previous years, the Rotary booth will feature fireworks like Allegiance, Delirium, Opening Show, Centennial Fountain, Jungle Flower, Sparkle Berry, Cool Breeze and Wild Turkey.

This year TNT will also have new products like “Ellie the Elephant,” “Game Mode,”  “USA Rocket Fountain” and “Atomic Salsa.” (The full line of TNT fireworks can be seen at

The opening day for the booth, June 28, is approaching fast so it’s a good thing I’m psyched up. And since Rotary’s motto is “Service Above Self,” I know I’ll have to provide excellent customer service.

All Los Banos Rotarians are dedicated to service, not only in the booth, but to their community. They hope to see many Los Banos residents come to their booth near Walmart and support the many community projects the club sponsors.

John Spevak’s email is