Bombs bursting in air over the Roaring Fork Valley |

Bombs bursting in air over the Roaring Fork Valley

Stina Sieg
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox Post Independent file illustration

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” When you think of Independence Days past, what comes to your head? Maybe it’s sitting on a blanket, watching fireworks with your family. Maybe it’s driving up to Wyoming, to buy some big ones of your own. Perhaps it’s parades or barbecues, sparklers or watermelon. Most likely, it reminds you of coming together with people. Luckily, for the folks of the Roaring Fork, community celebration is just what this area is all about.

Here are two of the valley’s biggest Fourth of July bashes, headed your way today.

Where: Apple Tree Community, 5033 County Road 335, two miles from New Castle

When: Noon to 9:30 p.m. (when the fireworks start)

The biggest deal of the day: According to Ross Talbott, a pyrotechnics license allows them to “shoot off the big stuff” during Apple Tree’s annual 30-minute, $3,000 fireworks display.

If reveling in family and faith is your bag ” but alcohol isn’t ” the Apple Tree Community wants to invite you to a party.

“It’s quite a time of celebrating,” said Ross M. Talbott, whose father, Ross L., founded Apple Tree, a mobile home community.

It was 29 years ago when the Freedom Celebration “started off real simple,” he said. In the beginning, he remembers just a few horse troughs filled with ice, sodas and watermelons. It was a potluck affair back then, started as a “family friendly alternative” to some of the rowdier festivities in the area. Over the years, the shindig has sure evolved, with a fireworks show, a boatload of children’s games (offered at a quarter each), fancy entertainment and food sold by the Garden School. This year, the Christian fiddling group the Franz Family will add some spice to the event.

Even with these improvements, however, the heart has remained the same. According to Talbott, it still has its small town feel. And, like every Celebration since its inception, it’s still famously dry. Not one drop of alcohol flows at this fest.

In Talbott’s words, “This is good, clean fun.”

“We key in on the flag and all the good things we have in this country,” he went on.

For him, that point is three-fold. It’s honoring political freedom and honoring religious freedom. Most of all, it’s giving people a friendly place to reconnect with each other.

He painted a picture of an average Celebration. It starts off with Boy Scouts, retiring one Old Glory and flying a new one. Throughout the afternoon, kids are enjoying everything from water balloon tosses to three legged races. And all the while, everyone’s listening to music and having picnics, hanging out until the grand fireworks finale. Though Christianity is part of all this, he urged that people of all religious persuasions should attend. To Talbott, this is about “that neighborliness the West is known for.”

“And of course it’s always fun to shoot fireworks and celebrate freedom and be reminded of what special place America is,” he said, breaking it down to brass tax.

Where: Sopris Park in Carbondale

When: 4-9:30 p.m. (also, finishing up with a flash of fireworks)

The biggest deal of the day: Though this closes with traditional fireworks, too, the most unique part of the “Boogie” is the kids parade, which goes from KDNK to the park. Everyone wanting to participate should line up at the radio station at 3:45 p.m.

It seems like Carbondale is always set to party. So why would July 4th be any different?

That’s what the town and the Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities is saying.

“It’s a real old-fashioned celebration,” explained CCAH director Ro Mead, talking up Boogie in Bonedale. “What we have is a great sense of community and a sense of togetherness.”

Beginning in the late afternoon today, this is the town’s laid-back answer to the holiday. To start, a costumed children’s parade ends right at Sopris Park, where a bevy of beverage and food vendors will wait for hungry onlookers. Coinciding with the Summer of the Music, at 5:30 p.m. talented locals, Acoustic Mayhem will play, followed by famous rocker Danielia Cotton. Over the hours, town notables will be reading from the Declaration of Independence. In the spirit of democracy, a booth for voter registration will be set up as well.

But don’t expect any political dogma here. According to Mead, though everyone is invited to the festivities, their political and religious demonstrations aren’t. That’s just how C’Dale does things.

“I would say Carbondale has always had a very independent spirit,” she said.

While this celebration has been going on in one form or another for years, the children’s parade and activities are relatively new. Started by Annie Morley three years ago, the festivities give families a place to relax at the end of the day. Along with kids games, youngsters can make chalk board art. The drawings, all done with a theme of “freedom,” will then hang in local businesses. As always, free watermelon will be handed out to all.

“It’s a family thing,” said Mead, “and I think the family of Carbondale puts this on.”

Contact Stina Sieg: 384-9111

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