Times’ editorial misses the mark on Fourth of July events

Congratulations to the Aspen Times Editorial committee for so effectively blasting the Fourth of July celebrations in Aspen! (“Fourth of July parade needs to move, not be static,” July 16) Wow, you really know how to throw water on the best of intentions.

With the exception of a long paragraph describing what went well at the “stationary” parade or street fair, you doused the Fourth of July committee with complaints and harsh comments. By the way, other positive comments were that restaurants and businesses were happy there was no 2-hour pause in their business as happens in the “traditional” Fourth of July parade, the streets were clean, law enforcement had fewer incidences to defuse, and Highway 82 was open. And of course, the children’s bike parade. What a delight! In fact, your paragraph describing all of the folks happily participating actually made a great a case for why the day was a success.

In a town that has prided itself on innovation and taking risks, where were your innovative ideas and constructive suggestions? It’s easy to grouse. Before spouting off about the absence of the vets and calliope you might have taken the time to ask why they were absent. From what I understand, the calliope is very hot to operate, and we needed to be safe this year, the vets were invited and unfortunately chose not to participate. They were sorely missed by many, and we hope they will join the festivities next year!

You rightly point out the obscene private air traffic and automobile traffic in Aspen. With such acute observations, where are your constructive suggestions as to what to do about it? You complain and then wait for someone else to fix it. Should we throw up our hands and give up trying to make the Fourth of July parade one place and one time where change can be imagined by a whole community?

Many citizens I’ve spoken with were relieved not to be dodging water cannons and out of control behavior. Even the auto enthusiasts loved being able to stop and look at the vintage and sports cars while chatting with the owners instead of watching them quickly pass by engulfed in fumes.

When you say you want a “traditional” parade back, which traditional parade are you referring to? The one from the past few years with water cannons and fights, motorcycles from out of town, vehicles carrying politicians, real estate signs and businesses that find it easier to drive than engage with their customers? What about other traditions? Where did the horses, humorous commentary, funnier, more friendly and patriotic parade go?

I am disheartened and discouraged that the committee’s efforts to reimagine the Fourth of July were met by you with such cynicism. We are continuing to rethink and imagine the Fourth of July, and we are seeking helpful, interesting, innovative, thoughtful input. The celebration may not be perfect next year, but it will be done with the best of intentions. We’re listening. Join us.

Stephanie Soldner

Member, Fourth of July committee


Editor’s note: The city of Aspen is taking suggestions on future Independence Day celebrations on an online survey, which can be found at; the survey is available until 5 p.m. Sunday.