Chelsea’s Blast is fireworks destination

By TONY NIVENS / Community Columnist

“Yep, in little ‘ol Chelsea. We have some of the most exclusive fireworks in four states,” said Bob Blackerby, owner of Fireworks Blast on County Road 47. “We have people from Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi and North Florida get their fireworks from us in Chelsea.”

Blackerby shouldered a large box of 60 Gram Canister Shells with a smile.

Bob Blackerby, owner of Chelsea’s Fireworks Blast, with his best-selling firework. (Contributed)

“These are our best sellers,” he said. “Once a ‘Pyro Fan’ does their research, they want this right here, by Big Fireworks. We are an exclusive dealer.”

Bob Blackerby, son of Wallace and Shelby Blackerby, is part of one of the oldest families in the Chelsea area with roots back to the 1820s.

“Dad built a house back here, on the family land, when I was 4,” said Blackerby. “We moved and I’ve been here ever since, all through school and such. I have a lot of great memories from growing up here. I try to tell people about it – riding my bike over the hill for the mail at the old post office, sitting on the porch of Weldon’s with my Yoo-hoo and Banana Flip. But, most folks want to know, ‘What’s a Banana Flip?’”

“They may take down some of the buildings, but nobody can take my memories,” he added, as he looked off at a memory with a smile.

When he and a business friend discussed starting a fireworks business 10 years ago, it was natural that it be in Chelsea. Blackerby also owns an excavating and building business here that “feeds the family.” The fireworks business is a “little extra fun on the side.”

“The best part is seeing the same faces back every year,” Blackerby said. “I like to hear the stories of their last show. I love their growing enthusiasm.”

“My favorite part is watching the kids,” said Blackerby’s wife, Cynthia. “Their eyes just light up. Most have their own little basket and get to pick what they want.”

“It’s a lot of hard work for those four weeks a year we are open,” she said, “but, it is a lot of fun.”

The Blackerbys only open Fireworks Blast four weeks a year – around the Fourth of July and New Year’s – but they are available “by appointment” year-round (205-369-6929) and on the web.

“Recently, we have been working on filling an order for Clear Creek Harbor on Logan Martin,” said Blackerby. “They do a big show with our fireworks every year and fill up the lake with boats to watch it.”

“Our largest offseason customer, though, is the Sterling Castle in Shelby,” he said. “Just off County Road 47, he has built a home that looks like a castle and rents it out for weddings and such. They have a lot of events and buy a lot of fireworks for them.

“I take a lot of pride in all the products I sell. We have something for all levels of customers, small, intermediate and the big dogs,” Blackerby said. “I have researched all of them and want to make sure folks are happy.”