What’s more American than mother, apple pie and fireworks on the 4th of July? To many it seems unpatriotic to forego fireworks on Independence Day. There is a certain adrenalin rush with the first boom reminiscent of the “bombs bursting in air.” No doubt, it can be an awe inspiring 15 minutes. The City of Glenwood Springs has recently received sharp criticism for shifting fireworks to Ski Spree in February. So, what is the solution?
For many fireworks on July 4th is a tradition that is hard to break. Don’t get me wrong. I am absolutely for a big celebration on Independence Day. We need to celebrate our freedom, and be thankful for the freedom we still have! We need to honor those who have fought for that freedom. I simply think there are other options than thousands of dollars going up in smoke in 15 minutes. Stay with me for a minute and see if that money might be better spent in others ways that bring the community together, actually honoring those who have served, and coming together as a community rather than staring at the sky.
First let me start with some suggestions for things the city could work on for next year, because Glenwood cannot simply ignore this holiday any longer These have been suggested by residents, business owners, friends, neighbors and family as a way that we could observe this great holiday. I know there are many more possibilities, too!
We could have an Old-Time Theme Fourth of July complete with pancake breakfast, parade, old time games and crafts for adults and kids, old-time baseball game, BBQ, marching bands, band or orchestra concert, ice cream social. Period costumes could be encouraged with willing volunteers playing roles (Teddy Roosevelt, Doc Holliday, Carrie Nation, etc.) and wandering through town interacting with guests and creating photo ops. How about a vintage swim suit show at the Hot Springs or Iron Mountain Hot Springs? Would the Hotel Colorado be willing to give tours or “ghost tours”? Could the Frontier Historical Museum haul out its Linwood Cemetery Ghost Walk for a couple evenings? Maybe even bring the Vaudeville players on stage at 2 Rivers or show old movies in the band shell; how about Tom Mix and the Great Train Robbery?
Or we could have something like a “Taste of the Valleys” Everything from locally produced fruits and veggies, wine, honey etc., as well as local restaurants at Two Rivers. Maybe we could have a giant yard sale or craft fair featuring items made by people from Aspen to Vail to Parachute. Perhaps we could include a laser light show, rather than fireworks. How about a giant slip and slide to cool off on a hot July 4th. What about an old fashioned street dance and bring back the classic car show! In years past the downtown merchants had gigantic sidewalk sales that seemed to draw people along Grand Avenue.
Another idea would be to make it truly a patriotic celebration to honor our current military, veterans, firefighters, hot shots, State Troopers and police officers, including those that lost their lives defending Glenwood Springs on Storm King.
We could do any assortment of these things and more! Yes, we would need to budget for it and yes, we would need assistance, both monetary and volunteers. The Chamber is just recovering from Strawberry Days, so to put this burden on them is not feasible. The city cannot do this on its own, but it sounds like there might be enough interest in having something that we could get some willing volunteers.
With or without fireworks, Glenwood is in a unique position to put together a wonderful way to celebrate July 4th, honor those who have served and who continue to serve our nation and provide a great experience for residents and visitors alike. Again, Glenwood cannot simply ignore this important holiday.
The current City Council has been raked over the coals in social media for not having fireworks. Some have argued that we had a much wetter spring than normal and therefore should have had fireworks now. However, this decision was made during the last budgeting and grant cycle and the budget was approved in late 2014. Additionally, although I am new to Council, having been elected in April, I understand it takes lead time of longer than a few weeks to find a purveyor of fireworks that can put something together on the magnitude that Glenwood would like to see.
Yes, fireworks is the go-to tradition. But lets give folks more reasons to celebrate our nation’s independence in Glenwood Springs. Next year, July 4th is on a Monday – lets begin now to make a new tradition in Glenwood.
Interested? Let me know. The city will be starting the budget process for next year soon! And if you absolutely cannot do without your fireworks on July 4th in spite of some different possibilities — let me know that too. I am listening – really. Comments welcome on this blog or email me at email@example.com or call me at 379-4849.