Arbaney Barn

The newly renovated Arbaney Barn in Basalt will open for tours today as part of a community picnic and celebration honoring firefighters, police and other first responders to last summer’s Lake Christine Fire.

Editor's note: This story originally ran in the Roaring Fork Weekly Journal, our sister paper covering the midvalley. More at www.rfweeklyjournal.com.

An old-fashioned community picnic to celebrate the Fourth of July and the fact that Basalt is “still here” is planned for today in Arbaney Park, according to Janice Duroux, an event organizer.

The picnic is scheduled from 4 to 7 p.m., with free hot dogs for all and tours of the newly renovated, historic Arbaney Barn. People may bring a potluck dish to share but that is optional.

“It’s a time for people to pop by, have a hot dog, talk about a year ago and go home,” said Duroux, a Basalt native who was raised near Willits.

“We’re honoring the police, sheriff’s department and first responders” who assisted with the Lake Christine Fire, which a tracer round ignited on July 3, 2018, at the gun range near Basalt, according to authorities.

The afternoon begins around 3 with a “sidewalk parade” featuring dozens of kids from Camp Chip-A-Tooth, Basalt’s long-running camp. Director Deb Morrison said campers aged 5 to 12 will be joined by children from the Growing Years preschool in the informal march through downtown.

“We’re going to say thank-you to the firefighters and the first responders,” Morrison said. Colorful signs and possibly some costumes should lend a festive air.

The children’s parade route on the sidewalk will sidle along Two Rivers Road past the 7-Eleven, turn up through town and continue to Arbaney Park. The camp, which is headquartered out of Basalt Elementary School, was forced to close for three days last year at the start of the fire due to the amount of smoke that was generated.

“The state licensing wouldn’t let us open up [until after three days] because it was so bad,” Morrison recalled this week. She is one of many impacted personally by the Lake Christine Fire. 

“My family slept in the parking lot of the middle school on the Fourth of July last year” after they were evacuated from their home, she said.

At the fire’s one-year anniversary, there will be time for celebration as well as reflection and thankfulness.

Duroux, who is vice president of the Basalt Heritage Society, said the doors of the Arbaney Barn will be thrown open for the party. The barn’s renovation, which required about eight years of fundraising, is a point of pride and is the closest thing Basalt has to a museum.

Firefighters will grill up to 750 hot dogs that Joe Zuena with Wyndham Destinations and Brad Mosier of Home Team BBQ donated. Other sponsors include the heritage society, town of Basalt and Mountain Waste, which is donating trash-collection bins, according to Duroux.

“Bring a side dish or dessert to share with your neighbors,” she added. While all are invited to the picnic, it’s asked that dogs remain at home.

For questions or donations, contact Duroux at 970-927-3549.

Madeleine Osberger is a Contributing Editor for Aspen Daily News. She can be reached at madski@aspendailynews.com or on Twitter @Madski99