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Because they're awesome?

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Monday, July 4, 2011 - 12:58pm

Last year's 4th of July fireworks shows sent one spectacular blast after another across the night sky.

More than $952 million was spent on fireworks nationwide in 2010.

Whether its huge displays or neighborhood fun, we're shelling out big time even in a rough economy.

Why?

What is it about all this that compels so many to play along?

"They're loud. They're cool, I like them. Fireworks rule," says Natalie Hinkle.

"I'd say the color and when they put it to the music and its like all one big show together, and then all the new stuff the fire works that make shapes and fireworks that can all explode at once," adds James Wykowski.

Most men like the explosions.

"I just like the loud noises and the big explosions. The louder the better and the brighter the better," says Brian Knudson.

"I like lighting them personally, right? That's one of my favorites. Like watching stuff blow up," say Michael Goetz.

They aren't the only ones.

"I love the boom and I love the colors and all the 'oohs' and 'aahhhs', and doing it with friends and family is the best," says Gina Knudson.

"I like that boom. I like that boom reverberating in my bones," says Stephanie Mulligan. "It just takes me back to my childhood and its great."

So some of the attraction is sensory.

But there is also a basic instinct at work that warns us we might be in trouble?

"I like the sound. I like walking down the street and just getting scared because there is something loud behind me," says Brandon Dean.

Psychologist Tony Farrenkopf says that experience is something most feel watching fireworks.

"We orient toward okay, what is that movement --what is that event out there--do I need to get into fight or flight mode? Is it a threat or not. So, and if you're talking about fire works, I mean that's the most dramatic kind of change or event in our perception," he explains.

It not something you forget.

The psychologist says its an incredible experience for any child.

"That's when we first exposed to this kind of event that is very dramatic and very beautiful," says Dr. Farrenkopf.

So whether its the colors, the sound, the smell or the memories, fireworks play a powerful role in our lives --- and they roll around every year to help keep the feelings alive.

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