What are champagne sparklers?
Also known as bottle sparklers, they are a small, hand held type of firework which slowly burns as it releases colored, flaming sparks and other effects. Imagine a group of people, each holding a champagne bottle in their hand as the countdown to New Year reaches zero, the sparklers are deployed and everyone is waving a flashing, sparkling bottle, cheering and celebrating. They belong to the category of party favors which also includes items such as champagne poppers, confetti cannons, and other accent items which have a decorative effect.
Parts of the sparkler
Sparklers in principle are fairly uncomplicated but take effort to make. At the core is a wooden stick or a metal wire that has been dipped in a solution of pyrotechnic chemical, usually composed of dextrin (a carbohydrate) solution in water, with added metal oxides such as strontium nitrate (red) or barium nitrate (green). To make them more festive looking, a cardboard or plastic tube is used to enclose the core.
Where are they used
Mostly they are used for occasions as a symbol of joy or as accents that decorate a bottle and add liveliness to events. For example you will find them at wedding parties, New year’s celebrations, birthday parties, Christmas parties and other occasions. In most cases they are used outdoors but some people use them indoors if the chemical is specially treated to reduce smoke emission. Such smokeless, indoor units are popular in high class bars and restaurants.
Lighting the sparkler
The sparkler is not easy to light. The first one needs to be lit with a long match or oven lighter. The best way to light subsequent ones is to use the first lit sparkler as a source and light all the others in succession. Make sure to hold it away from yourself and others, and keep your hand as far away from the lit tip as possible to prevent injury.
After burning itself out the sparkler will remain hot for a while. Don’t grab the end with the hot residue! The best way to dispose of them is to have a bucket of sand into which people can jam the tip of the spent sparkler. Another solution is to prepare a safe surface, preferably made of metal like a tray, where people can throw away the burned out stick.
(Photo Credit: Khaz / Creative Commons)