If you haven’t heard already you could probably guess, but because of the tinder-dry conditions due to the ongoing drought, there will be no fireworks show over Aspen Mountain or anywhere else in the Roaring Fork Valley to celebrate the Fourth of July this year. In fact, due to current fire restrictions, legally there should also be no campfires, smoking outdoors or personal fireworks or explosives of any kind.
But that doesn’t mean the holiday has to be any less fun. Parades and celebrations are on tap up and down the valley, with plenty of entertainment and activities for patriotic revelers of all ages.
In Aspen, the party starts early with the running of the 32nd annual Boogie’s Buddy Race at 8 a.m. The five-mile, USA Track & Field-certified competitive race and one-mile family and canine fun walk start and finish at Rio Grande Park and help raise funds for the Buddy Program. Registration is $15 for kids and $50 for adults.
After the race, kids with bicycles and active and former members of the military are invited to Paepcke Park to get ready to ride and walk in the annual Fourth of July parade. The America’s Birthday Carnival and bike decorating kick off at 9:30 a.m., while servicemen and women are asked to come join the Tribute to Veterans starting at 10 a.m.
The parade begins on Main Street at 11 a.m. and wends its way through downtown. Try to take public transportation to the event, and get there early, as parking may be difficult and the best viewing spots along the route will disappear quickly.
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Immediately after the parade, join the Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club in Koch Park for a benefit picnic that runs from 12-3 p.m. For $20 per adult and $10 per kid, you can enjoy grass-fed burgers, live music, games, a dunk tank, snow cones, volleyball, a beer and beverage garden and more. Proceeds benefit AVSC’s scholarship programs.
At 4 p.m. the scene shifts to Aspen’s West End for the Aspen Music Festival’s special Fourth of July Concert featuring patriotic standards by the likes of John Philip Sousa, George Gershwin and Irving Berlin.
If you’re in the mood for even more culture, check out Theatre Aspen’s production of “Ragtime” at the Hurst Theatre in Rio Grande Park at 6 p.m. ($30), or, if you find yourself hungry or thirsty again, stop by the Aspen Volunteer Fire Department’s block party and fundraiser on Hopkins Ave. from 6-9 p.m. for food, a beer garden and live music.
Finally, when the sun goes down, in lieu of fireworks there will be a drone light show in Wagner Park at 9:15 p.m. with 60 drones doing a 14-minute presentation set to patriotic music. Check the Aspen Daily News Facebook page for a livestream of the show.
In Snowmass, the festivities kick off with the weekly Snowmass Rodeo at 6 p.m., with a pre-rodeo barbecue at 5 p.m. Then head up to Base Village for free lawn games, holiday swag, live entertainment, kids activities and complementary s’mores and other desserts from 7:30-9:30 p.m.
Farther downvalley, Carbondale will host a kids parade at 10:30 a.m. that’s open to all kids, whether they’re in strollers, riding bikes, roller skating or even unicycling. Show up at Second and Main streets before the parade for staging and bike decoration and then join the fun afterward at the downtown pool party. There’ll be a watermelon relay race, treasure dive and cardboard canoe race in the pool, with carnival games, a bounce house, live music and free watermelon and ice cream sandwiches in the park next door.
Lastly, Glenwood Springs will have its own celebration in Two Rivers Park starting at 5 p.m., with kids activities, games, trapeze performances, snake charming, face painting, magic, food and beverage vendors, lots of giveaways and more. The evening, in the absence of fireworks, will culminate with a laser performance above the softball field starting around 9:15. The show will bring Red Mountain alive with waves of color, choreographed to classic rock, country, classical and pop hits from today.
There won’t be many loud booms at these celebrations, and the grand finales may be a little less grand than usual, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from having a good time.