Fireworks Buyer’s Guide for Parents: Top 10 list from Northwest Arkansas expert

Note from the Mamas: Back by popular demand, local fireworks expert and owner of Pinnacle Fireworks  Adam Keeley has partnered with us to publish the 2019 Fireworks Shopping Guide for Parents. The Guide includes Adam’s Top 10 list of the best fireworks recommendations for 2019.

As moms, we know how frustrating it can be to go to a fireworks tent and not really know which fireworks to choose. The packaging doesn’t always explain what that firework will do once the fuse is lit. Which big fireworks are worth the price tag? Which ones might be too loud for young kids? Which ones are the most budget-friendly but are still fun for kids? (My family used Adam’s recommendations last year, and our neighbors in the cul-de-sac said that our fireworks were AWESOME and wanted to know what we bought and where we got it!) 

So here’s a handy shopping guide with Adam’s recommendations on how to get the most “bang for your buck.” (Find details under the Guide about how to enter to win a $150 Fireworks Shopping Spree from Adam’s tent, Pinnacle Fireworks, located just off exit 70 in Springdale. The tent will open on June 28, 2019.)

By Adam Keeley, local dad, fireworks enthusiast and owner of Pinnacle Fireworks

The number one frustration I hear from fireworks shoppers is, “I don’t know what any of these fireworks do! How do I know what to buy?” Over the past few years, fireworks manufacturers have gotten better about putting performance descriptions on their products. However, sometimes the descriptions leave something to be desired. So, unless you know the difference between Titanium Crackle Rain and Variegated Peonies with Lemon Pistils, you might as well be reading an alien language. If you shop at Pinnacle Fireworks, our knowledgeable staff will answer your questions and help you choose the perfect items to fit your show and your budget. But in case you accidentally find yourself in some other fireworks tent, here are a few tips that will help you shop for fireworks with the confidence of a true Pyro Parent!

Fireworks Basics

There are two main categories of fireworks: ground effects and aerial effects. Whether you’re shooting fireworks with your kids or on your own, it’s important to know the difference! An easy way to tell whether an item contains ground effects or aerial effects is to read the warning label found on the item. Ground items will read “Emits Showers of Sparks,” while aerial items will read “Shoots Flaming Balls” or “Shoots Flaming Balls with Reports” (“Report” is the industry word for “explosion,” meaning the item will burst into a colorful explosion or simply “pop” or “bang”). Some labels will give even more detailed warnings, such as “Spins on Ground and Shoots Upwards.” Understanding these caution labels will give you a general idea of what to expect after you light the fuse.

Some examples of ground items are lower-cost kid favorites such as smoke balls, tanks, and fountains. But be sure to note that some fountains can shoot sparks up to twenty-five in the air. Aerial items can reach much greater heights (over 150 feet for some larger fireworks). Examples of aerial fireworks include reloadable artillery shell kits, roman candles, and multi-shot cakes.

So before you go shopping, you should have a general idea of the type of fireworks show you want to create – from a dialed-down driveway display to a rock-the-block pyrotechnic performance. Like most folks, you’ll probably want something in the middle, which means a nice mix of ground effects and aerial fireworks that won’t break the bank. This list focuses on ground items, but it also includes a few aerial fireworks for those that want to take their show to the next level.

Items 1-5 are some great inexpensive items that are a great value, and items 6-10 are my personal favorites from a few different categories.

I’ve included three prices on each item:

1) The retail price.

2) The price at the Pinnacle Fireworks tent – where every item is 50% off retail!

3) The price Motherlode readers will enjoy with their discount. That’s right – the Motherlode 10% discount stacks with the 50% off retail discount!

Budget Friendly Fireworks

  1. Sky Team Flying Spinner

Retail Price $5.94

Pinnacle Price $2.97

Motherlode Price $2.67

Avengers assemble! Everyone’s favorite heroes are ready for action this Independence Day! But you’ll be the real hero when your kiddos get to pick out their favorite character, whether it’s Captain America, Spider Man, the Hulk, or others! Place these awesome little guys on a large, hard, and flat surface (like a parking lot or street) and watch as they spin on the ground with a bright red energy glow and warrior-cry whistle. After a few seconds, a powerful cone of red sparks sends them soaring into the sky in an impressive launch that would make Iron Man himself proud. They climb through the air to an incredible height, inspiring cheers from Avengers fans big and small!

  1. Silver Sticks – Cool Spark Sparklers

Retail Price $7.94

Pinnacle Price $3.97

Motherlode Price $3.47

Introducing the “coolest” thing to happen to sparklers in years, cool-spark Silver Sticks! These burn and throw out sparks just like a normal sparkler, but here’s the cool part. Even though the flame at the tip of the sparkler is still hot, the silvery sparks that emerge are not! I didn’t believe it until I put my own hand under the shower of sparks. Check out the video here, and then grab a 10-pack for a cooler, safer way to celebrate Independence Day!

  1. Zen Garden

Retail Price $5.94

Pinnacle Price $2.97

Motherlode Price $2.67

Everyone loves to watch the pretty colored sparks of a fireworks fountain dance in the night air. But how many times has your heart skipped a beat when a high-pitched whistle catches you by surprise? Or what about the intense crackling noise that sometimes startles the little ones who aren’t yet used to fireworks? At Pinnacle Fireworks, we pride ourselves in our product knowledge. We hand-pick every item we sell, and we won’t carry an item unless we’ve seen it perform. And once we found the Zen Garden fountains, we knew they would be a favorite for moms and dads with little ones or family pets that are sensitive to loud noises. These fountains are completely free of loud sounds, making them perfect for kiddos who are new to watching fireworks or for anyone wanting to put on a beautiful yet silent show. With four varieties to choose from, you’ll be sure to find your inner peace with Zen Garden!

  1. Knight Stick (240 shots)

Retail Price $27.94

Pinnacle Price $13.97

Motherlode Price $12.57

This is a giant roman candle that launches 240 shots of colorful firework “pearls” into the sky! It earns bonus points since it has a built-in plastic ground spike. Plus, this one is another favorite for kids that don’t like loud fireworks, because the Knight Stick has some soft “pops” but no loud booms! With all these great features at a bargain price, it’s easy to see why this was our best selling roman candle in 2018!

  1. Giant Snow Cone Fountain

Retail Price $43.94

Pinnacle Price $21.97

Motherlode Price $19.77

Standing at nearly a foot tall, this big summer treat is sure to be a favorite for the whole family! The colorful packaging hints at what’s inside, as this long-lasting fountain (nearly a minute and a half!) features multicolor pearls, tall sprays of soft glitter sparks, and intense crackling (noise alert)! Also look for the new Snow Cone Jr., a mini version of this great fountain!

Adam’s Recommendations

  1. My Favorite Fountain: Jumping Jelly Beans

Retail Price $27.94

Pinnacle Price $13.97

Motherlode Price $12.57

Looking for something unique? Jumping Jelly Beans spews out lava-like droplets in a variety of neon colors. This effect has been so popular the last two years, we had to bring it back for 2019! The blues, oranges, greens, purples, reds, and yellows erupt for nearly a minute long, creating an instant crowd favorite! And don’t forget, there is no loud crackling or whistling in this fountain, making it perfect for anyone sensitive to loud sounds! Pro-Tip: If possible, elevate this fountain on a sturdy, stable surface such as a small metal table before lighting. This allows the colorful droplets to burn longer as they fall all the way to the ground, filling more of the viewing area with color and making for a better show!

  1. My Favorite Small Cake: Soccer Mom 16-Shot

Retail Price $39.94

Pinnacle Price $19.97

Motherlode Price $17.97

When I saw this firework perform, I was impressed with both the power and the beauty of the effects. When I saw the name of the firework, I knew I had to carry this item for my own Mom and all our loyal Motherlode Mama customers! This 16-shot 350-gram cake perfectly demonstrates the strong yet gentle spirit of moms everywhere! Each floral shell launches into the air with a trail of red stars, leading to beautiful crimson-red bursts in the night sky. The red fades to reveal glittering silver and gold fireflies that are sure to get “ooohs” and “ahhhs” from the crowd. Throw in some purple stars for a little variety, and Soccer Mom gets the Mom seal of approval for both performance and price!

  1. My Favorite Reloadable Artillery Shell Kit: Nishiki Blast Cannister Shells

Retail Price $69.94

Pinnacle Price $34.97

Motherlode Price $31.47

Definitely reserved for ages 16 and up, these single-shot shells launch from a reusable tube. “Nishiki” is a Japanese word used to describe one of my favorite effects, the beautiful and long-lasting gold willow. Make no mistake – these are BIG and LOUD. Each shell has an enormous burst of color that changes to hundreds of golden branches that drift slowly downward from the sky. This effect is usually found only in professional shells, but we tracked down a consumer version for our customers. Plus, this max-load 60-gram shell comes in a budget-friendly 6-pack, meaning the artillery shell lover in your family can get professional-style shells without breaking the bank.

  1. My Favorite 500-Gram Cake: Time Stand Still 35-Shot

Retail Price $109.94

Pinnacle Price $54.97

Motherlode Price $49.47

500-gram cakes are fireworks shows in a box. Light one fuse and enjoy a variety of impressive shots and effects. With 500 grams of powder, they’re the biggest consumer-grade firework you can buy. And there are literally hundreds of cakes on the market to choose from. Time Stand Still makes my list this year because it lasts a full minute long! It starts at a nice, even pace with beautiful silver and gold bursts changing to red, green, and silver strobing fireflies. But my favorite thing about this cake is the two separate speed changes from slow to fast, combined with the built-in rapid-fire finale! This one really puts on a well-choreographed show. If you’re looking for a long duration cake to get the most out of your fireworks budget, light the fuse, sit back, and watch Time Stand Still!

  1. My Favorite Sky-Filling Finale Firework: Jellyfish King 9-Shot

Retail Price $279.94

Pinnacle Price $139.97

Motherlode Price $125.97

If you are looking for a unique, professional style firework that no one else on your block will have, check out the brand-new 500-gram, 9-shot Jellyfish King. If you’ve watched a professional firework show in the last year or two, you’ve probably seen two-dimensional smiley-faces, hearts, rings, and maybe a few other “shaped firework” effects. But for the first time ever in a consumer firework, the industry has designed a massive 3-D jellyfish effect, complete with dangling tentacles! Jellyfish King has nine individual 3” tubes that are fused together and mounted to a thick plywood base. Light the fuse and get back. No, even farther back! Now get ready for the craziest thing you’ve ever seen from a firework as each 3” shell transforms into a different color 3-D jellyfish right before your eyes! The sky becomes an ocean as swarming fish zig zag in multiple directions down low while massive jellyfish appear up high, their tentacles dangling towards the ground! You’ve never seen anything like the Jellyfish King!

Honorable Mention: Victory Celebration 37-Shot

Retail Price $35.94

Pinnacle Price $17.97

Motherlode Price $16.17

Keep the kids entertained while the sun is still out with Victory Celebration, a multi-shot cake that fills the daytime sky with 37 shots of parachutes! Kids love chasing parachutes as they float to the ground. Light this one in a wide-open space away from trees and buildings. Parachutes are easiest to catch in low wind conditions.

SAFETY TIP: Never stand over an item when you light the fuse, just in case the fuse burns faster than you expect. Stay low and light from the side, leaving yourself plenty of distance to retreat after you light the fuse.

Pinnacle Fireworks is located at I-49 and W Don Tyson Parkway (Exit 70), behind Walmart Neighborhood Market on Jennifer Terrace. We are open June 28th – July 5th. Follow us on Facebook for special offers, updates, and lots of giveaways at Motherlode Mama discount valid June 28th – July 4th.

Thank you to Adam Keeley for his help in developing a fireworks shopping guide for local parents! (We’re bookmarking this list!) If you’d like in-person shopping help (and to snag the Motherlode Mamas discount) go by Pinnacle Fireworks anytime between June 28th and July 5th. It’s located at I-49 and W Don Tyson Parkway (Exit 70), next to Walmart Neighborhood Market. (It’s NOT the one in the Walmart parking lot. It is in the lot next door to Walmart Neighborhood Market.)

For special offers, updates, and more giveaways, follow @Pinnacle Fireworks Northwest Arkansas on Facebook. Click here to visit the Facebook page.

Drawing for $150 Fireworks Shopping Spree

If you’d like to pick up some fireworks with a $150 Shopping Spree, throw your name in the online hat to win it. The fuse on this giveaway is SHORT. Post a comment or send an email to enter by Friday at 3 p.m. Then watch your inbox because we’ll notify the winner via email.

bang picmonkeyHOW TO ENTER: If you’d love to win the $150 Fireworks Shopping Spree from Pinnacle Fireworks, scroll down to the bottom of this post (and past the comments posted by other moms) until you see the words “Leave a Reply.”

Then write a quick comment telling us which fireworks you and your kids are interested in this year (new ones in the list above or maybe a few of your favorites from years’ past). It always helps to have personal recommendations!

You can also email your answer to us at

boom picmonkeyINCREASE YOUR ODDS OF WINNING: Help us spread the word about this giveaway by emailing your friends and family about the giveaway. We’ll give you an extra chance to win for every person you tell. Just be sure to put on the CC line of your note so we can give you proper credit.

Our newsletter subscribers get access to the good stuff, including exclusive giveaways (like this one), information about local events, local mom interviews, recipes and more.

The nwaMotherlode newsletter is delivered straight to your inbox so you don’t miss anything awesome. CLICK HERE to sign up. We won’t fill your inbox with info, no worries. We only send out newsletters when there’s something in it for you.

BE SOCIAL: You can also earn extra chances to win by commenting on our Facebook page, following us on Twitter or following us on Instagram. If you do any of those, just mention it in your comment or email so we can give you proper credit.

We’ll choose the winner (at random) on Friday! CLICK HERE to visit the Pinnacle Fireworks Facebook page for updates, special offers and more giveaways.

pinnacle fireworks tent 650 name


  1. I really want to try the Jelly Fish King 9-Shot. We bought fireworks from Pinnacle and had a great experience! I follow on Twitter and Instagram under @stefjdf

  2. I so want to try the Soccer Mom firework. I can only imagine how cool it is!

  3. The Jellyfish King sounds terrific – I know that the kids would love it (so would my husband)!

  4. We love all the fireworks! My son loves the parachutes, and my daughter loves anything big. She’d love to try any that you mentioned in the article.

  5. My daughter LOVES Captain America and SpiderMan. I can’t wait to take her to pick those guys out for fireworks!

    Also, as a mom, I’m all aboard the Cool Spark Sparklers.

  6. I think my girls would love the ice cream and jelly bean fireworks. I think the zen garden and soccer mom ones look fun. Thanks for the giveaway !

  7. Definitely need to get some of the Sky Team! The Snow Cone Fountain and Soccer Mom look great too!

  8. My grandsons love fireworks- the bigger the better! So, the jellyfish king looks like a good one to try.

  9. We like smoke bombs, always! But also like to try new things. Preferably nothing too loud 🙉

  10. We will try the cool sparklers. Looks like fun for all the younger kids at our celebration.

  11. We love all fireworks! We spent last year in Arizona and didn’t get to do any on our own because it’s too dry out there! So we are looking forward to doing them this year! ☺️

  12. The Soccer Mom 16-Shot sounds perfect-a great firework for a great price!! The Zen Garden also sounds great, especially for kiddos who don’t enjoy the loud noises that go along with many fireworks. Thanks!! 🔥 🧨 💥

  13. The Jellyfish 1 sounds amazing as does those cool sparklers. Yay!!! Finally

  14. My personal favorite are the fountains. I think they are so pretty. My twins love the bigger ones.

  15. We love fountains….especially the ones that look like old school Christmas lights melting into the sidewalk. Excited to find the jumping jelly beans fountain.

  16. I love the Zen Garden fountain but think the kids would love the Giant Snow Cone Fountain!

  17. My husband says I shelter our kids because we always just do the basic, safe ones! I absolutely LOVE fireworks and every year map out as many shows as we can possible go to. My kids would much rather shot them than watch them, so this would be nice to let us all get a taste of what we like!

  18. I would love the 9 shot jellyfish and the sparklers. Oh and the Victory Celebration!!anything colorful lol

  19. I’m all about the killer finales, so this year I REALLY want to try the Jellyfish 9-shot~!

  20. We love the sparklers, smoke bombs and the fountains! Anything that is loud and colorful! I just got cochlear implants so I’m still learning that each firework has a different sound which is amazing! 🎉

  21. Love 4th of july. Thank you for all the great fireworks tips. This is baby’s first year to real enjoy the shows. I can’t wait!! Squeee 🙂

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