This year, the Fourth of July may look more like normal.
But behind the scenes at Lafon's Fireworks in Princeton, things couldn't be more different.
“This'll be the first time I'll be running dad's and I’ve got a lot to live up to,” said Debbie Lafon Bunch, "Dad was the firework king."
For more than thirty years, her father, Alvin Lafon has been the face countless customers have come to know and love.
As the family patriarch, he raised children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren in the firework business.
“It means everything. I love this place like it was my own home,” said great grandson Landon Schuster, 15.
Over the new year’s firework season, Alvin became sick, his family says.
“Someone came in with COVID and dad and his wife, almost the whole staff got COVID,” Bunch said.
Alvin, she says, was hospitalized on January 3 then passed away ten days later.
“His little heart just got weak. I think COVID took a toll -- I don't know that for sure -- but he died and it hit us all really hard,” Bunch said.
Bunch said her father's passing came as a surprise because she was expecting him to come home the day he died.
Lafon was 83 years old.
Bunch said his legacy will live on through the family business.
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This year, Bunch will be at the helm when Lafon’s Fireworks opens Thursday.
“It’s going to be rough but I know he’ll be happy with all of what we’re doing right now,” Schuster said.