Play, parade, parties and pyrotechnics today
Special to The Aspen Times
Some 20,000 local residents and tourists are expected in Aspen for the Fourth of July, and they have a choice of activities to keep them busy from morning to night.
The highlight of the day will be the city’s traditional Fourth of July parade, which will start at noon and last approximately 90 minutes. It starts on Hyman Avenue, weaves its way through town and ends on Main Street. The United States Air Force will perform a flyby over the parade.
The parade promises to be diverse, with participants ranging from individuals to families to local businesses. They will compete for awards in six different categories: Most Patriotic, Most Humorous, Best Animal, Most Outrageous, Best Children’s float, and Best Political Statement. At press time yesterday, there were 56 entries.
The Aspen Fire Protection District has a special float marking its 50th anniversary. The grand marshal of the parade is Sam Stapleton, who has been a board member of the Aspen Fire District since its inception in 1953.
But the day really begins two hours before parade time, at 10 a.m., when Aspen Theatre in the park has a special children’s production of “Princess and the Pea.” The Aspen Music Festival has a free concert planned at Benedict Music Tent at 4 p.m. and the city of Aspen has hired the Network band for a street dance party at Wagner Park from 8-10:30 p.m.
Jennifer Albright, the director of special events for the Aspen Chamber Resort Association, believes these smaller, individually planned events are crucial to ensuring a successful celebration. “We’re just grateful that there’s so many local organizations planning events. It’s what really makes the day special.”
If all goes as planned, everybody will pause at around 9:15 p.m. while the fire department sets off a “Fireworks Extravaganza” over Aspen Mountain. Unlike last year, when dangerously dry conditions forced the show to be canceled, Aspen Mountain is now lush and green and moist – a perfect backdrop for the pyrotechnical display.
Alrbright believes a multitude of factors are working to make this event special. “It’s more than just the good weather. We are also lucky that July 4th falls on a Friday – that can only benefit local businesses, as the town should be busy all week,” she said.
It will be especially busy this weekend. City officials are strongly urging people not to drive into town through Sunday.
To help alleviate parking and congestion problems, RFTA will provide extra service from Snowmass and downvalley to Aspen, with a special parade express service beginning at 10 a.m. Express buses will also be running in the evening before the fireworks show, beginning at 6:30 p.m. The last bus leaving Aspen will be 2:15 a.m.
Free shuttles will run all day between downtown and the events spread all over town.
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