, Port Arthur, Texas

December 31, 2013

Locals to light up night on New Year's Eve

Erinn Callahan
The Port Arthur News

NEDERLAND — 2013 won’t end with a whimper at Chris Baur’s home.

On Monday evening, the Nederland man left Cook Daniels Fireworks, 2485 N. Twin City Highway, loaded with stunners such as Hanging High and Night Vision to usher in the new year.

“I like to buy stuff that has plenty of shots,” Baur said. “Kids like to watch that, not something that goes off with a pop.”

Baur’s New Year’s Eve fun will begin at dark, when he gathers with his family and his neighbors for a cook-out. Some minor fireworks will illuminate the sky, but Baur said he saves his best for midnight.

“I spend quite a bit here, but it’s for a five-hour deal,” Baur said. “Our street’s pretty much closed off all night.”

Like Baur, Kiara Daniels is partial to a noisy New Year’s Eve. Her favorite is called “Smile a While” — a stunning display of multicolored fountains that ends in a loud whistling, just before the mirthful face of a clown appears in the sky.

“The face lights up, and there’s a hissing sound,” said Daniels, 27, who lives in Nederland. “It’s like he’s laughing at you.”

Daniels’ mother, Regina Daniels, is less fond of the clown’s antics.

“It’s like something out of Stephen King,” she said. “It’s creepy.”

Regina would know — her family has owned Cook Daniels Fireworks for the last 36 years. When the stand opened in 1977, its largest merchandise was 26 grams.

“Now we have 500 grams,” she said.

Michelle Sheppard, who has worked at Cook Daniels Fireworks for the last eight years, said the stand has seen a steady stream of customers since opening its doors on Dec. 20. But, she said, New Year’s Eve always brings the real crowds.

“Today it’s been most of the little stuff — artillery shells, firecrackers,” said Sheppard, 23, who lives in Port Arthur. “Tomorrow, we’ll sell everything.”

The stand will close for the year at midnight on Jan. 1 — a fact of which most are unaware, Regina Daniels said.

“We’re open all day on Jan. 1,” she said.

The most rewarding part of the job, Regina said, is seeing the same families each year.

“It’s nice to see families doing stuff together,” she said.


Twitter: @ErinnPA