Sporting a shirt with the original Crazy Cracker mascot, Pat Egan, owner of Crazy Cracker Fireworks, stands in one of two large outbuildings stacked full of fireworks on Tuesday, July 1, 2014, at his storage facility near Palmyra, Neb. Eagan got his start in the business selling fireworks on a Lincoln street corner in 1957. (AP Photo/The Journal-Star, Matt Ryerson) LOCAL TELEVISION OUT; KOLN-TV OUT; KGIN-TV OUT; KLKN-TV OUT
LINCOLN, Nebraska — A man who started selling firecrackers, bottle rockets and other fireworks from a Lincoln street corner in 1957 is still in the holiday explosives business.
Pat Egan told the Lincoln Journal Star (http://bit.ly/1mR8rW3 ) that he was 15 years old when a customer at a grocery store where he worked gave him some fireworks on consignment and some red, white and blue bunting.
Egan said the man told him: "'You can make $100 with me in a week. You just have to sit on a corner for me.'"
So, Egan set up a card table at the corner of 26th and Holdrege, hung the bunting and began what became his 57-year fireworks career.
He's still in the business, which he named Crazy Cracker, selling fireworks by the semitrailer load.
Egan lives in Florida but still returns to the Lincoln house he owns for about three months each year, selling fireworks and organizing the Nebraska Boat, Sport and Travel show. His operation peaked in the mid-1980s at around two dozen tents, but that's down to about a dozen now, as he concentrates on the wholesale side of his enterprise.
Egan's fireworks are shipped directly from China, which he visits every couple of years to make connections and check new products. His four youngest daughters were adopted from Chinese villages famous for their fireworks.
The oldest, Erin Egan, runs a tent for the family business when she's not on duty as a parole officer.
The company used a grinning firecracker dude riding a skateboard as its mascot until the mid-1980s, when Egan switched to a yellow smiley face wearing an American flag bandanna. Erin Egan said she still uses the original mascot because it is the epitome of fun.
"It's about being crazy on the Fourth of July, having fun and doing things you don't normally do, like blowing things up," Erin Egan said. "Fireworks are flirting with danger. . It's just exciting."
Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, http://www.journalstar.com