Love those stars and stripes |

Love those stars and stripes

Cassie Pence
Fourth Of July Summer Event in Beaver Creek Village

If local patriots play their cards right, they can celebrate the Fourth of July for three straight days in three different towns while watching three different sets of fireworks. That kind of nationalism is equivalent to shot-gunning a Coors Light while wrapped in an American flag and then belching the “Pledge of Allegiance.” But the valley is much too dignified for that. So here’s your guide to all things red, white and blue this weekend.

Herb and Barb Richardson live in Eagle-Vail, but each year they celebrate the Fourth of July in Minturn for one simple reason.”Minturn is a small town that has kept its small town elegance,” Herb said, who, along with Barb, will receive honorary Minturn “citizenship” during this year’s festivities.Minturn’s celebrations start with its good ol’ fashion parade Sunday at 6 p.m. Floats, fire trucks, kids riding decorated bikes and seniors will march or wheel down Main Street. The Washington Prep Band returns from Los Angeles to perform in the parade, as well.”We are so tickled about seeing the children in the parade and the seniors in the parade,” Barb said. “My favorite part is the Precision Wheel Chair Team,” Herb added. “Senior citizens come out and do drills and spins and it just brings joy to everyone’s heart. That’s what small towns are about.”After the parade, about 6:30 p.m., people congregate in The Square (behind Grammy’s Attic) as the Washington Prep Band plays and the barbecue begins. Moe’s is providing the food and King Soopers has donated cupcakes for all the kids. There will be a free petting zoo, cake walk, sunflower seed spitting contest, potato-sack race and ice cream eating contest, as well as a beer garden for adults. The Pena Brothers will play their Latin rock and around 9:30 p.m. a candlelight ceremony will begin in lieu of fireworks.”Everyone gets a red, white or blue candle, a veteran will read a poem and a story having to deal with defending our country and Pat Hamilton will sing ‘God Bless America’ and ‘My Country Tis of Thee,’ Karen Early, Minturn’s event planner, said. The key to the city will be awarded during the ceremony, along with the honoring of one youth and one senior.”It involves everyone,” Early said.

To honor Avon’s 20th anniversary of its Salute to the USA party, which happens in Nottingham Park Monday at 5 p.m., the town has stepped up its concert lineup.”We wanted to do it up in a big way,” Special Events Coordinator Danita Chirichillo said.Homegrown musicians Little Hercules, members who got their start in Minturn, will open the show with its self-described “greasy grooves.” Powerful vocalist Hazel Miller will take the stage next, belting out blues, jazz, pop and gospel hits everyone can sing along to. Grammy winners the Blind Boys of Alabama will headline the show, starting around 8 p.m. The Blind Boys spent more than 40 years working the traditional gospel circuit and moved into the mainstream in 2001 with their version of the Fatboy Slim/Macy Gray tune “Demons.” The boys will entertain with their raps and roaring blues riffs.The Calvalry Chapel presents its free Family Zone starting at 5:30 p.m. Focusing on young children, the area features carnival games, inflatable jumping toys, face painting and a children’s drumming circle presented by Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival. Nottingham Park will also host food and craft vendors, as well as a beer garden. But the best part of Avon’s party is undoubtedly its fireworks display, the largest in the Colorado Rockies. Local pyrotechnic expert Jim Funk will synchronize the explosions to a sound track compiled by Steve Lee of KZYR, The Zephyr, who has mixed the event’s music for 10 years.”Jim Funk is the Paula Abdul of firework choreography,” Lee said. On the soundtrack, Lee has included a wide variety of genres from jazz to classical to big band to rock. The mix is a nod to America’s melting-pot characteristic.”Almost all the songs are recognizable,” Lee said.Town of Avon asks that dogs, alcohol, grills and personal fireworks are left at home. Blankets and warm clothing are recommended.

On Sunday, Beaver Creek throws a pre-party to its official Independence Day celebration (happening Tuesday) with a free concert on the Beaver Creek Lawn featuring British-American rockers America from 6-7:30 p.m. On the actual Fourth of July, Tuesday, festivities start with Beano’s Cabin Clam Bake on Beaver Creek Mountain from 11-4 p.m. In New England beach-side tradition, Chef Steven Topple will steam clams and mussels with white wine, garlic and parsley. He will also serve grilled and marinated New York strip, fried chicken, hamburgers and hot dogs, iced seafood, salads, corn on the cob and a selection of desserts.”The clam bake is going to be so much fun,” Topple said. Topple said the event is very family oriented with lawn games lining the historic cabin. Reservations are required, and tickets cost $50 for adults and $25 for children.The party moves down the mountain to Beaver Creek’s backlawn for two concerts featuring San Francisco-based swing band Lavay Smith and her Red Hot Skillet Lickers at 5 p.m. and Tommy Dorsey Band at 7 p.m. Lavay Smith, the queen of authentic 1940s and ’50s jazz and blues, is backed by her eight piece band consisting of trumpet, trombone, alto sax, tenor sax, piano, bass and drums. Tommy Dorsey Band plays big band style, as well. Fireworks immediately follow the two free concerts.

Fifty to 60 floats, bands, bikes, cars, dance teams and fire trucks will parade from Golden Peak through Vail Village and into Lionshead Tuesday afternoon from 10 a.m.-noon for the valley’s largest Fourth of July parade. Parade favorites the Washington Prep Band, whose performance was underwritten by the Vail Jazz Foundation, will return, along with the Colorado Youth All-star Band and the Denver Pipe Band. Reminiscent of “American Idol,” Vail Daily’s float hosts the Vail Idol competition. Narrowed down from 35 entries, 12 singing finalists will perform during the parade on the float with judges as they critique each singer. Criticisms will air over the PA system for the whole crowd to hear. Third place winner receives $200, second place winner receives $300 and first place winner receives $500 with the opportunity to open for a Hot Summer Nights concert, a free Tuesday night concert series.”We’re really focusing on having a colorful parade presentation,” organizer Laurie Asmussen said. “And keeping it under two hours.”To get people fired up for the Fourth, Vail is hosting an apple pie baking contest with free pie and ice cream for attendees Monday from 2-4 p.m. at Millennium Bank in West Vail. There will also be a station with materials for kids to decorate their bikes for the parade on Tuesday.”A team of judges will vote on four different categories for the baking contest, including ingredients used, history or story behind the recipe, presentation and overall taste,” Asmussen said. Vail America Days continues after the parade on Tuesday with the Bravo! Patriotic Concert at Ford Amphitheater at 2 p.m. Under the direction of conductor Jeff Tyzik, the Rochester Philharmonic’s “A Salute to Freedom” performance is slated to include such traditional Independence Day favorites as Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever,” Bagley’s “National Emblem March” and Berlin’s “God Bless America,” along with Lowden’s popular arrangement of the “Armed Forces Salute”. Additional offerings are scheduled to include “The Great Westerns Suite,” with music from “Magnificent Seven,” “How The West Was Won,” “Silverado” and “Dances With Wolves,” as well as a trio of John Williams selections comprised of “Hymn for The Fallen,” “March from 1941” and “The Patriot.”Vail America Days conclude at Golden Peak for fireworks at 9:30 p.m.

Every child from Eagle to Gypsum is invited to join the sixth annual Fourth of July Bike Parade at 8:15 a.m. on Tuesday at the Brush Creek Park.The parade will begin at 8:30 a.m., and will go from Brush Creek Park through the Bull Pasture, across Sixth and Fifth Streets, to the finale at the Eagle Town Park where there will be games, races, and a pie eating contest.The event is free of charge. Participants are encouraged to decorate their bikes with patriotic colors.Mary Boyd, who organizes the parade every year, said the event “promotes a lot of smiles and happiness,” and that it is sure to be good family fun.Fireworks are planned for Tuesday at 9:30 p.m., shooting off from the Eagle Fairgrounds. “It’s a community show for Gypsum and Eagle, but everyone is welcome,” Tim Cochrane, director of Eagle Valley Chamber of Commerce, said. “There is free parking at the fairgrounds and free picnic blanket space. There are no vendors selling beer or wine, but you can throw a blanket down and watch the fantastic fireworks show.”Arts and Entertainment Editor Cassie Pence can be reached at 748-2938, or, Colorado

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