7 Seasonal Events That Sparked Foot Traffic at Our Fireworks Store and Tent

7 Seasonal Events That Sparked Foot Traffic at Our Fireworks Store and Tent

We hosted several events at our Missouri year-round retail store and tent over the last year. Here’s what worked and what didn’t.

MAY 2023 by Spirit of ’76 Fireworks – Looking for unique ways to get more foot traffic at your fireworks tent, stand, or store? Whether your selling operation is seasonal or year-round, hosting events is a fantastic way to drum up buzz and bring in potential customers.

The Spirit of ‘76 team operates both a year-round retail store and a seasonal fireworks tent in mid-Missouri (located at Midway right off Interstate 70), primarily for research purposes to inform our wholesale customers on the best selling tactics for their own independent retail operations.

Over the past year, we experimented with several different events to see which would bring in the most customers and cash. Here’s what we found.

Pyro Movie Night (June 2022)

We hosted two big events during our 2022 Tent summer season, one of which we called our Pyro Movie Night on the first Saturday we were open (June 25th). We advertised the event on social media, shared press releases to local news organizations, and included it in our seasonal radio spots and direct mailers.

Premise: We offered a free screening of the Disney movie Encanto on an outdoor projector screen, with choreographed fireworks going off behind the screen at key musical parts, across the parking lot from our seasonal tent. We also partnered with a local kids’ football league to sell concessions (popcorn and drinks) to the audience. Prior to the movie screening, we showed a safety video, an advertisement for our year-round retail store across the street, and a video encouraging the audience to shop inside the tent.

Results: We counted over 1,400 people (including kids) in attendance and made over $12k in in-person sales that night. Many audience members voiced gratitude towards our company for hosting the free event, indicating they’d come back again next year. People posted about the event on their social media channels for days afterwards, and we earned several high reviews on Google. One consideration: because the sun didn’t set until nearly 9pm and the movie was an hour long, many families left before entering our tent to shop for fireworks.

Summer Kickoff (June 2022)

The second big event we hosted at our seasonal tent in 2022 was a Summer Kickoff, hosted on Wednesday June 19th before the weekend leading up to the 4th of July. Marketing efforts to promote this event included social media pushes, press releases to local news organizations, and mentions in our seasonal radio spots and direct mailers.

Premise: This was a free-to-attend summer party at our fireworks tent! We had six food trucks (including Dippin’ Dots, Hokulia Shaved Ice, Wrap It Up, Fresh Lemonade Co, and Ozark Biscuits) on-site, a dunk tank with fireworks and coupons as prizes, bounce houses, face painting, and special appearances from world champion Mizzou wrestler Keegan O’Toole as well as two local radio hosts Shags (97.7) and Scotty (Clear99). We rounded out the event with two product demos, a Daytime one in the early evening and a Nighttime one after sundown.

Results: We counted 425 people from the public in attendance and made $20k in sales that day alone. Using the dunk tank as a means to win fireworks was very popular, with people earning a $10 Off Today Only coupon when they missed, which earned us $1.8k in sales from 42 transactions with coupon usage.

Haunt Walk (October 2022)

Using inexpensive decorations from local party stores, we transformed the front section of our retail store into a mini haunted house! Our store manager operated the Haunt Walk throughout the month of October without extra staff. We advertised the Haunt Walk on social media and via email promotions to our subscribers. 

Premise: Customers walked through darkened shelves that featured Halloween-themed items like smoke bombs, the SawWorks handheld fountain, and multi-shots like Zombie’s Revenge and Howling Wolf. Once victims – er, patrons – exited the Walk, they were prompted to spin a wheel for a chance to win a prize. We used our digital ‘Wheel of Boom’ (renamed the ‘Wheel of BOO!’ for this particular event) to collect the customers’ email address for a free spin. Prize items included novelty items and merchandise like drink koozies and t-shirts with our logo.

Results: We counted 123 customers for the month of October, historically a low-yield month. The store made just over $7.5k in sales (approx. $4.4k more than the previous year). Our decoration costs were under $800, and many of the decor can be reused for future Haunt Walks. While we did see some foot traffic, by no means did we exceed our goals. We learned from this effort that events with limited-time specials, rather than month-long offerings, are more likely to mobilize shoppers. With our next retail push in October 2023, we plan to host at least one single-day Halloween event with exclusive in-store specials and activities.

Food Drive & Black Friday (November 2022)

Food Drive: We partnered with the Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri to collect food for their bins, and offered a coupon incentive for anyone who brought in eligible food donations. This effort was advertised on our social media and via email promotions.

Food Drive Results: This event was a bit of a miss for us on the retail front. We only received a few donations from customers, and the coupon was not a large enough incentive. Instead, we turned it into an internal competition among ‘76 employees, which became extremely popular and yielded nearly 1,300 pounds of donated food!

Black Friday: We offered Half Off all fireworks on the Friday and Saturday only following Thanksgiving. This promotion was advertised on social media and via email.

Black Friday Results: 17 customers came in the weekend of our Black Friday deal, with total sales at approximately $1.3k.

Meet Santa (December 2022)

For the holidays, we went all out by hiring a professional Santa and Mrs. Claus to pay a visit to our retail store on Saturday, December 17th from 11am-3pm. Our “Meet Santa” event was advertised on social media, in our email promotions, and in paid local radio spots.

Premise: The event was free to the public and tailored to families with small children. Families were invited to meet Mrs. Claus, take a photo on Santa’s lap, and receive a free goody bag filled with novelty items and safety materials branded with our store’s information. We also offered specials on certain festive items.

Results: Our store filled up that Saturday with families! We counted at least 162 individuals attending the Santa event. We had a total of 18 transactions with just under $1.7k in sales. Many families posted about the event on social media and shared it among their friends, making the event a big success in terms of community awareness. This was one of the more costly events to put on: we spent $2k for the professional Santa, Mrs. Claus, their helpers, and their decorations. The radio ads cost us $3.6k. Next year, we plan to save on the advertising costs and rely more on organic social pushes, owned emails, and word-of-mouth from the previous year’s attendance.

Easter Egg Hunt (March 2023)

When Easter rolled around, we decided to host a free egg hunt across the street from our retail store. We advertised the egg hunt with a banner at the entrance, social media posts, and through our email newsletter.

Premise: The free event was catered to families with small children. The hunt was divided into sections for each age group, with the 7-12 age being the largest area. Eggs filled with candy and fireworks gift cards were scattered on the ground. We also had a retail table set up where we offered small assortment bags for $20 each. We also had a food truck, shaved ice truck, and lemonade stand attend, all of which did reasonable business following the hunt.

Results: Several dozen families came out for the hunt with an attendance of around 175 individuals. While we only sold a handful of assortment bags on that day, the gift cards steadily came back to us as attendees visited our store later (estimated $4.3k in gift card sales).

Fireworks Demo (April 2023)

This year, we decided to invite the public to attend our annual Spring Fireworks Demo on Saturday, April 22nd (in addition to inviting our wholesale customers) to promote our retail store. We promoted the event with a banner at the Midway entrance, social media posts, a press release, and via email to our subscribers.

Premise: Our free fireworks demo took place up the hill from our year-round retail store. We shot 56 items and ended the evening with a fireworks competition between local pyro clubs KCAP and MoPyro. We had two food trucks selling food & drinks, alcoholic beverages sold by Bur Oak Brewing, and bounce houses and lawn games for kids. We advertised 30% off fireworks at our retail store, which was open all day and open the previous day, and we gave out fliers advertising our free fireworks events being hosted at our tent later this summer.

Results: Our retail store made excellent sales, earning just over $11,000 that demo weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) and boosting our sales to $7k more than April of the previous year. Despite Saturday’s cold weather (it dropped to 40 degrees!), we saw a great demo turnout of 250 members from the general public in addition to another 200+ of our wholesale customers. Many folks posted about the event on social media, creating free buzz for our company and retail location.


With each of these events, our ultimate objective was to raise awareness of Spirit of ’76 as a company while simultaneously promoting both our year-round retail store and seasonal tent. We sincerely hope that the success we’ve achieved through these events serves as inspiration for you to embark on similar ventures at your own retail location. It’s time to spark excitement and make your presence known!

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Selling Fireworks out of a Tent for Beginners

Spirit of ’76 Fireworks Tent manager Brannon shows us the ropes on how to set up shop and sell fireworks out of a retail tent.


Your location ought to be accessible to your customers. People will go to the location that is most convenient or prominent for them. Consider having your tent close to an intersection or a highway exit.

Traffic Flow and Parking

When planning out your season, it is important to make sure that the location of your tent is not only easy for your customers to find but also has good traffic flow. Make sure your entrance is clean and wide enough for cars to enter and exit. Remember the traffic you have on the 3rd and the 4th of July will be much heavier than opening day. For first  year tents, test out the flow of traffic at the beginning of the season to prepare yourself for the peak of sales closer to the 4th. This can be done by making sure that your parking lot is well marked with signage and banners.

Curb Appeal

The outside of the tent is the first thing that your customers will see. Make your tent stand out from the street with inflatables such as sky dancers, branded flags, and lots of color. Another way to get your customers to the tent is to have your big sales and specials easily seen from the road. This could be a banner on stakes, a digital board, or an old-fashion billboard. If your tent accepts credit cards, be sure to have a sign that can be seen from the road. Credit cards are one of the most popular payment methods in today’s world.

The Entrance

Be sure to have an open and clean entrance. Having your baskets and cards ready to go at the front of the entrance is key. Look into getting flat carts for your customers to use. By giving them a larger cart rather than a basket, they are likely to purchase more items.

Customer Flow

Wide aisles are essential to having your customers flow throughout the tent. Be sure to make your aisles wide enough so they are accessible for all of your customers. Keep in mind that customers who are wheelchair users, customers who use a walker, and customers who have a baby stroller have enough room to navigate through the aisles.

Create the flow of the tent to take your customers throughout the entire tent before heading to checkout. By doing this, your customers will see more product and will be more likely to purchase more.

Price Tags

Having price tags that are easy to read are a must. Your customers have to know how much the product costs before they decide to buy it. Consider having an image and description of the product in addition to the price on the tag. This will make it easy for your customers to know what the product does. It will also make it easier for your employees to explain the effects of each product. When you buy your products from Spirit of ‘76, we provide you will printable price tags! Click here to learn how to access the printable price tags.


Each section of your tent should be labeled with signs to help your customers find what they are looking for. This is a great way to add color and personality to your tent. Have each section of fireworks marked by category with a sign large enough to read from across your tent.

Cashier Area & Registers

A strong POS system is key for getting your customers through the checkout line quickly. In our own tent we use Clover, but there are other reputable POS systems at varying price points. With a POS system you can set up a royalty program for your customers.This is one way to get your customers to come back to the tent. POS systems can also track which of your products are selling the best. This added feature can help you to purchase the best fireworks for the next season.

Staff Training

Having a well trained staff will help you sell more fireworks. Especially with seasonal staff it is difficult for them to know every product and its performance. A good place to start is having your staff know the difference between the different product categories such as 500 Gram Cakes, Missiles, Tubes, etc. After they know each category that you carry in your tent the next step is knowing what the products do. This is another time that your price tags descriptions may come in handy. Having the description of the firework’s performance on the price tag will help your employees become more knowledgeable of each product.

During downtime at the tent have your staff watch videos of the fireworks you have in stock. You can find the full catalog of videos here . Having a knowledgeable staff will help your tent run more smoothly.

Be sure to have plenty of staff able to work over the 4th of July holiday. It is also important to have an overnight person who stays to watch over the tent.

Product Placement

Where and how you place your products is very important. The first step is making sure that each product is within its own category. This makes it easier for your customers to find what they are looking for. Another strategy

Place impulse buys, such as novelties near the registers. While your customers are waiting in line they are more likely to pick up an extra item or two.

Make sure you know where the sun hits the inside of your tent. While most of your product will be covered there will be times the sun creeps in. Stay away from keeping your large assortments in this area. The heat from the direct sunlight will cause moisture within the package.

Interested in selling fireworks out of a tent? We at Spirit of ‘76 have been operating a fireworks tent for more than 30 years. Our tent manager Brannon has listed some key tips to consider before getting started.

Want more advice? We asked seasoned retailers what mistakes they’ve made and lessons they’ve learned over the years – read the post here .

In the area during 4th of July selling season? Check out the Spirit of ’76 seasonal tent for yourself in Columbia, MO at exit 121 off I-70, across the street from the Spirit of ’76 retail store and wholesale office.