• Image about Diamond Sparkler Manufacturing Co.
Diamond Sparklers for sale at the Phantom Fireworks ­showroom in Boardman, Ohio
Martha Rial

The humble sparkler — while not as flashy or awe-inspiring as its booming, sky-flying cousins — has become permanently affixed in many people’s happy summer memories: the excitement of procuring a box, the agonizing wait for darkness to finally fall, the sweet anticipation of getting to carefully light the tip, and the simple joy of watching the tiny sparks fly and hearing the sizzling sound as the flame travels down the wire.

Jason Barnes, a 17-year Diamond Sparkler employee and a supervisor at the Youngstown plant, knows the power his product still has over people. “Young kids still love ’em,” he says. “I get a kick out of just watching them go.”

He looks forward to the busy season each year, when he can bring his work home to his children and tell them, “Look, Daddy made this one.” Plus, as he points out, it’s rewarding work: “You get to be a part of something you grew up with,” he says.

Barnes and his co-workers are proud to still have a hand in creating something that brings smiles to the faces of young and old alike. No matter what stresses abound — the bottom line of a company, the economic woes of a down-on-its-luck town — the simple act of lighting a sparkler is enough to make anyone feel like a carefree kid once again.