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What fireworks are legal in Louisville?

If it goes in the air, you need special permission.

Fireworks over a downtown skyline, bridge, and river.

You can catch fireworks in multiple places on Independence Day, including your backyard if you obey local ordinances.

The Fourth of July and fireworks go together like — well — hot dogs and a cookout. Can you tell what our holiday plans are?

Perhaps you’ve invited friends over for a mini-Thunder Over Louisville of your own this Independence Day. Or maybe you rented a tuxedo and poured yourself a glass of champagne to recreate an iconic movie scene. Or possibly, you just wanna see some things go boom.

But what’s legal in LOU? Which fireworks are allowed, and which aren’t? We dove into the local ordinances so you can focus on what color sparklers to buy.

In Louisville, in order to purchase or ignite a firework, you must be at least 18 years old. Here’s a list of what you can light up around LOU:

  • Novelties and trick noisemakers — think: party poppers, booby traps, snappers, trick matches, cigarette loads, and auto burglar alarms
  • “Snakes” or “glow worms”
  • Smoke devices
  • Wire sparklers
  • Cylindrical or cone fountains
  • Wheels
  • Ground spinners

What’s not

Aerial devices — think: fireworks like bottle rockets, helicopters, and aerial shells with wings, fins, or other mechanisms designed to cause them to fly — are illegal. Additionally, any firework with a description that includes any of the following terms isn’t allowed:

  • “Explosive”
  • “Emits flaming pellets”
  • “Flaming balls”
  • “Firecracker”
  • “Report”
  • “Rocket”

There’s always next year

If you are planning for a large-scale fireworks show, you can submit an application to the Louisville Metro Government for a special permit at least 15 days before your planned event — so it’s a bit too late this year. Permits come with a $175 fee, but you’ll also need a sizeable insurance policy.

Bonus: Want to see some fireworks, just not in your backyard? Check out our list of Independence Day events.

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