Aspen’s re-imagined Fourth of July festivities include parade
After a year of analysis, city of Aspen is bringing tradition and new components to daylong celebration on tap this summer
Aspenites love a parade and that’s just what they’ll get this Fourth of July.
After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic and a year of checking in with the community on how it wants to celebrate the holiday in the future, the city of Aspen will bring back the parade, albeit shorter than what it has been in the past.
The parade, which will follow the traditional route through town starting on Main Street and ending on Hyman Avenue, will last one hour from 11 a.m. to noon with limited entrants, according to Nancy Lesley, director of marketing and special events for the city.
“People want tradition, people want old-fashioned, people want it community-based,” she said.
The city’s citizen-based Commercial Core and Lodging Commission will oversee selecting parade entrants, which will be based partly around a chosen theme. The CCLC also will jury the parade and judge entrants, which in the past was led by the Aspen Chamber Resort Association.
“We are going to meet with CCLC to work out those details,” Lesley said. “We’ve landed on how the format of the day is going to be, but the devil is in the details.”
That will occur this year from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will include a display of classic cars.
A committee comprised of Aspen City Councilman Ward Hauenstein, former Councilwoman Ann Mullins, Aspen resident Stephanie Soldner, as well as city staffers Sandra Doebler and Lesley, was formed early last year and tasked with taking a closer look at Fourth of July festivities.
For the past year, the committee met with stakeholders and members of the public before determining a parade route and designing a holiday focused on patriotism, creating a community-wide celebration and a day where most everyone feels there is something of interest, or that they can connect with, according to Lesley.
The committee heard public sentiment around many of the traditional elements of the parade, including the Bergman family’s calliope, the flyover of fighter jets, kids’ bike decorating and participation, classic cars, veterans and first responders, to name a few.
“We are really excited for the Fourth of July,” Lesley said. “The committee did such a great job listening to the community.”
Staff has requested the use of the ongoing, unobligated balance of $43,000 in the mayor and council budget for tourism and marketing, as well as an ongoing appropriation increase of $37,000.
That money will be used primarily for evening entertainment, including a laser light show in Wagner Park, as well as outreach and marketing, and new components and enhancements to the traditional Fourth of July celebration.
“The whole theme is turn it into a family-centric event, not as commercial-centric and not as rowdy,” Hauenstein said.
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Aspen Chamber Resort Association and Snowmass Tourism will play host to a job fair from 3-7 p.m. June 2 at at Viewline Snowmass Conference Center, 100 Elbert Lane, Snowmass Village.