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No fireworks this Fourth

Don Rogers

That’s OK. Between the explosions and our explosive wildfires so early in summer, we can stand a little less flame in our lives right now.

Besides, did anyone actually notice the fireworks in Vail or Minturn these past years?

The Nottingham Lake extravaganza, now that’s the show. (We hesitate to use the sort of phraseology that got a cell phone owner in trouble when he inadvertently left his phone by an ATM machine in Minturn, with the message “I’m the bomb.” Police chiefs, not always hip to modern meanings, may take things literally. Next thing you know, a neighborhood is evacuated and the police are calling – on your missing cell phone.)



In our travels we’ve never seen anything quite like Avon’s “Largest in the Rockies,” and yeah, we’ll miss it if not the taste of the traffic our road masters say is surely coming if we don’t build certain interchanges off I-70.

This fireworks show could be carried out safely – it’s over water, after all. But town leaders wisely focused on the message they might send by continuing with the display. When a Colorado forest fire leaps to over 130,000 acres in early June, our largest ever, and Arizona’s largest ever is barreling toward 500,000 acres now, it’s a very good idea to think twice about adding to Mother Nature’s arsenal of ignition sources. That new horror, thunderstorms that bring lightning but not much rain, is scary enough right now.



How much the dampening of fireworks shows will cut into the Vail Valley’s traditional holiday crowds is hard to say. The events, such as Vail’s parade, the party at Nottingham, Bravo! at the Ford Amphitheater and chance for a long weekend getaway in our still gorgeous and relatively cool mountains, don’t require fire for fun.

Likewise, exaggerations about all of Colorado, or Arizona or the West burning may or may not bite into the number of visitors this Fourth, and this summer. People who drive into the mountains seem less likely to bite on that apple of hysteria, and folks from places like Texas would still come if they thought we’d turned into Hades – anything’s gotta be cooler and more interesting than Texas in the hot season, after all.

Another bit of fireworks we are not seeing this year is last year’s hullabaloo over Vail’s curfew on the young’uns and restriction of the village core after 10:30 p.m. on the Fourth, when the only establishments still open are bars.



No reading from (or into) the Constitution about the inalienable right of the underaged to take over Vail Village for drunken reveling en mass. No gnashing of teeth about whether the hooligans will come back when they have more money and presumably have grown up (to a party of kid drunks?) if we were to stop this bit of fun for them.

Seems there’s also profit in doing the right thing and making the village core a place for full adults to enjoy again on the Fourth, and so last year’s spectacles in the council chambers and letters to the editor forum have gone silent for the moment, no doubt awaiting the flames of new ideas for taxation in the maturing town.

No question, this is a different Fourth in our piece of paradise. We’re more muted this year – perhaps from the influences of 9/11, wildfires, a still fragile economy, settling one more town debate for the better.

Other than the temperature, where last summer at this time was crankier, more heated in some ways, this year seems much cooler, and cooler headed, almost reflective by comparison.

In a perilous time such as this – proximate by fire’s potential to go with a more ephemeral unease hanging over from terrorism and recession – reflection is a virtue.

And our tourism industry can take some heart that Vail is among the top 10 Fourth of July destinations in the state this year that visitors are asking about. Looks like summer might be upon us in this realm, too.

D.R.


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