Avon upping safety, expecting thousands for fireworks tonight | VailDaily.com

Avon upping safety, expecting thousands for fireworks tonight

AVON — The favorite park of a thousand locals becomes the favorite park of about 18,000 more people today as the Salute to the USA returns to Nottingham Lake.

Town manager Virginia Egger said 19,000 people attended last year's festivities, and the town is expecting just as many folks to come out and enjoy one of the largest fireworks displays in the Rocky Mountains again this year.

Last year was especially memorable as the show was cut short early when a few rogue blasts made their way into the crowd. Nine individuals were evaluated, treated and released by medical personnel on the scene; Egger said emergency crews reacted perfectly.

"What we saw was, the explosion of fireworks throughout the united states in celebration of 1776 is not without concern and certain danger — you're firing real explosives," she said. "One of the things we could see was we had immediate response available because of the location of ambulances and fire trucks, and we will have that again this year."

Western Enterprises was awarded the contract again this year after a competitive request for proposal process was undertaken by the town.

"They were the most responsive to our new safety requirements," Egger said. "Also they had the best safety record of any of those purposed."

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A new containment rack was constructed for the fireworks to prevent them from tipping and tilting toward the crowd, and extra spotters will be on hand this year to ensure things don't go awry, Egger said.

"That will be bolstered with some additional security of fencing," she said.

'TRUE BEACH FEEL'

Sunday's Salute to the USA at Nottingham Park marks the apex in a summer filled with activity at the popular recreation area. The park abuts Nottingham Lake, creating a spectacular vista for those who can see both the lake's reflection and the skies above during the fireworks show.

Nottingham Lake's beach area has been improved for this summer, with the standup paddleboard and paddleboat rental area being moved to a beachfront location adjacent to the swimming and beach volleyball areas.

Javier Placer with Stand Up Paddle Colorado said the move has given that area of the park a "true beach feel."

Coming from a guy who spent winters on Maui for a over a decade, Placer's compliment means something to park director John Curutchet.

"People are bringing their slacklines, bringing their hammocks, and really just making a day of enjoying Nottingham Park and beach," Curutchet said.

Placer said the moving his Stand Up Paddleboard rental operation to the beach side of the lake has been great for business.

"We've had lots of locals come by," he said. "You have swimming and beach volleyball right there, it's really invigorated the scene."

MORE EVENTS UPCOMING

While they don't want to see numbers like Sunday's at events other than the Salute to the USA, several new concerts and festivals will take place in the same venue throughout the summer.

Egger says the upcoming Outlaws & Legends festival has an impressive lineup.

"It's a rather large set, with Robert Earl Keen coming in on a big bus tour for us," she said. "It's a great lineup."

The Boulder Symphony Orchestra will play the stage this year, along with a dance festival performance as part of the Vail Valley Foundation's annual Vail International Dance event.

"We also have four free concerts ready for our Avon Live series," Egger said. "August 10 will be the Freddy Jones Band."

TodoMundo will follow on August 17, The Samples & Big Sam's Funky Nation on August 24 and Shawn Colvin & Steve Earle will play Nottingham Park August 31. For more information visit Avon.org.