The 4th of July brings together families and friends to enjoy food, fun activities and fireworks. That last one on that list is the biggest attraction of the American holiday. Crowds gather in small towns and major cities all over the United States to watch the spectacle.

However, not every fireworks show goes as planned. From amateur firework shows to huge spectacles, here’s a look at some of the best fireworks fails.

San Diego 2012 Big Bay Boom

On the night of July 4, 2012, an error in the command code of the fireworks control computers accidentally fired off all of the show’s fireworks simultaneously leading to one of the shortest recorded fireworks displays in the San Diego Bay Area, turning what was supposed to be a 16-minute show into 30 seconds that spectators will never forget.

According to a press release, after the failed fireworks show, the coding error told the computer to “fire the entire display simultaneously and then fire the display in the proper sequence.”

Take a look at the show that became known as the Big Bay Blunder here.

Here’s a closer view of the spectacle.

Smalltown Fireworks

Smaller fireworks performances can fail as well. In this video, a 4th of July fireworks show in a small neighborhood went wrong when the show started shooting fireworks off in all directions, landing especially close to spectators watching from across the water.

Amateur Fireworks Fail

While amateur fireworks are illegal in certain states, there are plenty of places where you can easily pick up some firecrackers and fireworks. However, that doesn’t mean people necessarily use them properly. And even if you do use them properly, sometimes the fireworks can fail spectacularly, as in these videos for example.  

Warning: NSFW language in videos below.


While some of the fireworks videos on YouTube can be funny, we can't recommend using fireworks and firecrackers for pranks. The U.S. holiday is known for a surge of emergency room visits each year, many related to fireworks and firecracker accidents. Don’t let your fireworks displays end up like the ones above, and take caution as you celebrate the 4th of July, however you choose to celebrate it.