Carnes: Fourth of July fireworks canceled, but happiness still a go in Vail Valley (column) |

Carnes: Fourth of July fireworks canceled, but happiness still a go in Vail Valley (column)

State of the world got you down?

Troubled by the $1.5 trillion recently added to our national debt or that North Korea is now working faster than ever at their plutonium-producing reactor?

Does the phrase “Space Force” make you think of an old Saturday morning cartoon or are you bothered that President Donald Trump tweeted for Republicans to pass the immigration bill and less than 72 hours later tweeted that he did not ask Republicans to pass the immigration bill?

How about gold continuing its downward trend, while oil is higher than its been in four years, or perhaps you’re concerned about the future of Roe v. Wade with Justice Anthony Kennedy’s questionably timed departure?

Well, perk up, buttercups, because you’re in Happy Valley now.

Seriously, forget all that nonsense for a while and enjoy your time here with us.

Sure, all fireworks have been canceled countywide (for obvious reasons), but Tuesday, July 3, we still have Salute to the USA at Nottingham Lake in Avon and Hot Summer Nights in Vail at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater.

On Wednesday, July 4, in Vail we have Vail America Days, the annual parade where you can witness hundreds of locals marching in the heat and — if you’re extremely patient — view the aging yet still somewhat agile goofballs known as the Vail Precision Lawnchair Demonstration Team as they flip their chairs while chanting slurred words between multiple shots of “adult Gatorade.”

In Lionshead Village, the Vail Summer Bluegrass Series continues with Horseshoes & Hand Grenades on Wednesday, July 4.

And while we might hit the upper 70s a few times this week, and there’s a slight chance of rain each afternoon (if it was winter, then we’d say a “good” chance for snow …), we can all but guarantee it won’t be as hot as wherever it is you came from.

You can fish our gold-medal streams, raft or stand-up paddleboard our rivers, bike or hike our competitive trails, ride horses through cool pine forests or ride a coaster and zip line at more than 10,000 feet up at Adventure Ridge.

We have more than a dozen valley golf courses to enjoy and farmers markets in Vail, Avon, Minturn, Edwards and Gypsum, and this Friday, July 6, you can enjoy our latest trend of darn near every restaurant and their dog having a Friday Afternoon Club to kick off the weekend.

Drive up to the top of Vail Pass or up in Avon’s Mountain Star or Wildridge loops or even Bellyache Ridge for incredible views of the entire eastern valley, and I can also all but guarantee a beautiful sunset every single evening and temps in the upper 40s when you wake up the next morning.

It helps if you’re out of bed by 9 a.m., though.

There is also camping, of course, but this year, no campfires, charcoal grills (gas grills are OK) or using explosives of any sort, and in a weird Colorado twist, no smoking of any kind except within an enclosed vehicle or building.

Yes, in this instance pot smoke is just as bad as cigarette smoke during the parade, but edibles are fine, although I’m not aware of any nicotine-laced chocolates.

So although fascism is on the horizon and political ads are about to start in earnest from now until November, realize we’ve had a bull market since 2009 and unemployment has been dropping at a steady rate since 2011, yet while you’re here in Happy Valley, neither has any direct bearing.

Enjoy, and thanks for visiting.

Richard Carnes, of Avon, writes weekly. He can be reached at

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