FAIRBANKS, Alaska - For those who sell fireworks, the days leading up to New Year can be and exciting and hectic experience, but for a seasoned veteran like Rachel Grieme, it's become a holiday tradition celebrated every year.
"Were open from 10 to 10, but on set up day we start at 7 o'clock in the morning, and run until 10. We're usually set up by 3, so that's about 8 solid hours of unpacking and getting things set up and on the shelves," she said.
Grieme says before they start selling fireworks to the public, the North Pole Fire Department pays a visit to inspect the stand prior to the opening day.
"And then it's off to the aces once we start that," she said.
She orders fireworks from a company in the lower 48. The 40- foot trailer is hauled to Tacoma, where it gets put onto a ship. It makes its way to Anchorage then up to Fairbanks, making its final stop once it arrives at the stand.
"A majority of the fireworks are on pallets, so we have a forklift that takes the pallets off the trailer then we set them all out there on the ground, and then start taking them off the pallets and into the stand, so a lot of muscle work," she said.
Grieme says her family is no stranger to light shows. They have been selling fireworks for almost 40 years.
"My dad started it out of selling out of his truck when we lived in Salcha back in 1980," Grieme said.
Back then, the sale of fireworks were not permitted inside the North Star Borough. Their family had stands just before Nenana and half way out towards Delta Junction, but as the years past, their families grew and it became to be more of task.
"So my dad proposed to the city of North Pole to let us sell inside the city limits. We've been going for 38 years now," she said.
They are longest continuous selling vendors in the State of Alaska. Grieme says when it comes to firework safety this holiday season, remember to light fireworks on level ground, stay a safe distance away and be cautious when there are children present.
"And then, also when your all done with your show, make sure that you leave them out in a safe place just in case they are still hot they could catch on fire," Grieme said.
She says experience has taught her many things over the years. For Greime, she leaves her fireworks out overnight to make sure they are cool when disposing of them the following day.