Want fireworks? Pass the hat.

By Kay Nolan,  July 4, 2013

When Jim Davis was growing up in blue-collar Austintown, Ohio, in the 1980s, Fourth of July fireworks were the highlight of the year. The best place to view the display was on a dead-end road near his home. He and his friends would tie aluminum cans to parked cars while the owners were watching the display, then delight in the noisy ruckus when the spectators drove away.

“It became a local tradition,” says Mr. Davis, who is now a town trustee. “We started saving soda pop cans and beer cans all year long.”

But Austintown hasn’t had July 4 fireworks for seven years because of a rotten economy and the downsizing of the high school athletic field, where the event was held. This year, Davis is determined to bring them back, seeking sponsors and donors to pay for the event.