The fireworks-noise stopped about 11 pm last night. I think that's a new record for earliness.
I believe that the teenagers in the neighborhood have all either moved away or aged out of teenagerhood, which is probably the source of the fewer-fireworks.
I don't know. I was never into shooting off fireworks as a kid or a teen. I used to joke that it had to be a Y-linked trait, as sons seemed to get it from their fathers (which I observed in my family: my granddad apparently liked fireworks (well, for the entire time I knew him, he lived on a lake, and could shoot them out over the lake). And my dad and his brothers do. And my brother did, and so do most of my male cousins.
I admit I don't always have great love for the homebrew shooting off of fireworks. Part of it is probably an overexaggerated fear of a spark setting off a fire. But part of it probably comes from growing up in a state where fireworks were pretty much Not Legal. There were stands, but they asked you to sign a waiver claiming you were taking them out of the state to shoot them off. (And now that I think of it: that's probably the first instance of legal butt-covering I remember seeing. And of course most people signed the paper with fingers crossed behind their backs.) But even at that, it was hard to come by bigger fireworks. I remember there were bottle rockets. (There were *always* bottle rockets), and Catherine wheels, and those cone-shaped things that sent up a fountain of sparks (I kind of liked those, I will admit. Never wanted to light one but I was content to watch them). I remember a few years my dad and brother would set stuff off in the backyard, and he'd give me the joking warning, "If you hear the cops, warn me." Of course, being a very literal-minded kid, I imagined the cops coming and hauling my dad and brother away, and I would listen fearfully for sirens.
(Nowadays, now that I know a few cops, I bet the reaction on the part of the cop would more likely have been, "I'm going to give you a verbal warning. Be careful, y'all.")
I preferred the municipal fireworks. For one reason, professionals set them off, so I didn't have to worry about my dad blowing off a thumb or something. Also, they were bigger and prettier than what the stands sold.
For a few years when I was a kid, they shot them off between a couple of the "railroad trestles" (really, just built-up areas, so the tracks could go as an overpass over the roadway). It was on, I think it was Route 303? The one that ran in front of the Acme? (It's been almost 25 years since I've been back to where I grew up, and my memory for its geography is fading). Those we could see from my bedroom window, and so I remember several years of sitting on my dresser with my mom and my brother and watching the fireworks from there. (I think those were the years my dad still taught field camp, and so was away for much of the summer).
Later on, they took to setting them off behind the Acme. Which meant you could drive to the parking lot and watch the fireworks from there, which was also pretty satisfactory - you'd see your neighbors and other people from town, some people even "tailgated" and cooked hotdogs and stuff, it was kind of a low-key party atmosphere.
Shortly before we moved, they shifted to shooting them off somewhere beyond the town Green. (The town I grew up in in Ohio had aspirations of being like a little New England town, so we had a Green with a Gazebo band-shell on it). We'd troop down there, carrying a blanket (I think some years we even walked; parking was pretty awful in the little old downtown). And we'd sit there and slap mosquitoes and watch the fireworks.
And long, long before all of that, when I was a very small child, my parents would get summer lawn tickets to Blossom (the summer home of the Cleveland Orchestra) and they did a Fourth of July concert with fireworks. I think perhaps some of my love of classical music goes back to that early, early exposure: I think my parents started going to those concerts when I was 2, and they stopped a year or so after my brother was born. Actually, lawn tickets for a semi-outdoor summer concert series is an excellent way to first expose children to classical music (or other forms; I remember we saw Ferrante and Teicher there, and also the Carpenters). A blanket on the lawn, a picnic dinner, meeting up with another family we were friends with....and I and the other family's kid could run around the area we were, and when I got tired, I could sack out on the blanket. (I remember at least once waking up while being carried back to the car after the concert).
This year, mainly because I had to be up the next morning to teach, I didn't seek out any "live" fireworks. (I believe they set them off at the casino south of town....but I really don't want to drive around there, especially not after dark on a big "party" night: on a good day there tend to be accidents). I watched the second half or so of A Capitol Fourth on PBS.
I really only watched the end part because it was the fireworks I wanted to see. I'm not that big on the pop/country concerts that they tend to do as a beginning of those things. (I did like that they had one of the military bands playing Sousa during the fireworks). I admit, this is maybe how I'm a bit of a hidebound traditionalist or a music snob: I tend to think that for Fourth of July, you should have a brass or wind band playing Sousa marches and similar. I remember being disappointed a few years when I lived in Illinois and they billed the fireworks as a "sky concert," with music supplied by a local radio station: it was mostly drecky pop stuff or soft country, and most of it wasn't patriotic in theme (Also, a lot of the pop-patriotic songs, I admit, kind of make my skin crawl a little. I feel about them the same way I feel about some of the recent pop renditions of Christmas carols: too much cheap sentiment, too much over-sweetening with strings and stuff, and, of late, too much Auto-Tune.). Even if you don't listen to Sousa the rest of the year, it seems right to me to play his stuff on Independence Day. So I could skip the priors on the PBS show and just watch the last bit, with the brass band and the fireworks.
And I have to admit, it's not the same as seeing fireworks in person. You don't get the full effect of the hugeness of the "chrysanthemums," the colors aren't as intense, and you don't get the percussive feeling in your chest from the larger explosions. (I didn't like those much, though, as a kid). But still, I got to see fireworks in some form.