Tricia’s Fourth of July weekend picks for the Vail Valley: Parades, patriotic concerts, drone and laser shows and more
Independence Day celebrations start early and go all throughout the weekend
Even though the 4th of July falls on a Monday, the mountain towns are hosting events all up and down the Vail Valley. Here’s a look at what’s happening by day.
Gypsum is kicking off the celebrations before any other mountain town by hosting an Independence Day event at the Lundgren Amphitheater that includes live music and a drone show. The large, flat, grassy lawn in front of the stage provides the perfect set up for bringing out the blankets and lawn chairs as well as picnic baskets and settling in for the evening. Don’t have time to put together a picnic spread? Gypsum’s town council will be serving up free hot dogs while they last. Lawn games will be available for all ages as well.
Get there early to get your spot and allow a little room to dance because Raygunomics is back in town. They played at the Vail Ultimate 80s Weekend in March at Golden Peak. The band’s name gives a hint to the type of music you’ll hear, they specialize in 80s rock and classics from that era but play plenty of other pop and rock songs from different decades.
The band will start playing at 7:30 p.m. followed by a drone show. Due to high fire danger in the area, no fireworks will be lit off into the sky by any of the area’s municipalities, so the drone shows provide the next best thing. Drones can be programmed to create all kinds of shapes, images and even words in the sky. The drone show will happen at dusk. This event is free to the public and will create a wonderful kick off to the holiday weekend. For more information, go to TownOfGypsum.com.
On Saturday, head to Minturn to take part in its July 4th celebrations. The day will start with the return of the 25th annual Minturn Market in the heart of downtown. This market was the one that kicked it all off a quarter of a century ago and has been a popular Saturday gathering spot ever since. Come for the produce but stay for the lunch tents, clothing vendors, artists’ displays, baked goods and other prepared foods you can bring to your next backyard barbecue, jewelry, pet products and more. The Minturn Market happens rain or shine each week through Sept. 3 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
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The first Minturn Market will also celebrate the start of its 25th season with a bike parade. At 8:45 a.m., meet at Town Hall at 302 Pine Street and put the finishing touches on your bikes. Red, white and blue themes are encouraged. From Town Hall, bikers will cruise through the Minturn Market and exit on Nelson Avenue to an after-party at Agora with donuts. Don’t have a bike? Feel free to bring your scooter, skateboard, tricycle, Strider bike, even strollers will fit in.
Later on Saturday, bring your family and friends to the Little Beach Park and Amphitheater just south of downtown Minturn for live music. The Altitones will be the opening act starting at 6 p.m. to warm up the crowd before the Vail Valley Band takes the stage. The free live music will go until 9 p.m.
Feel free to bring your picnic blankets, low-legged lawn chairs and a picnic spread if you so desire. It’s B.Y.O.B. too, so bring along a non-alcoholic or alcoholic beverage of your choice, just please don’t bring in any glass. Gourmet Cowboy and Backcountry Wings will be on hand serving up food and non-alcoholic drinks if you don’t get a chance to bring your own spread.
To entertain the kids, there will be plenty of bounce houses, balloon artists, face painters and, drum roll please, a mechanical bull available for rides.
To learn more, visit Minturn.org.
Avon will be the place to be on Saturday as they usher in this year’s installment of the Salute to the U.S.A. event happening at Harry A. Nottingham Park. It’s been a long-standing tradition for Avon – 36 years to be exact – to host their event on the eve of July 4th not to compete with the festivities at Vail and Beaver Creek and to host something that has become a must-do in Eagle County.
Come early and enjoy the amenities of the park. Some areas of the park will be closed to get ready for the big event that night, but there will still be public access to the north side of the park including access to the beach and beach volleyball courts, Other amenities include paddle boat and stand up paddle board rentals, playground equipment, and an outdoor “gym” if you want to get a workout in. There is a nice walking path around the lake – bring the roller blades. There’s also fishing, picnic areas and more.
The Salute to the USA opens to the public at 5 p.m. Bring your blankets and get a good spot to see the bands and the sunset over Nottingham Lake. You can bring a cooler or picnic basket of your own grub or take advantage of the multitude of food trucks that will be at the park. It will have a state or county fair atmosphere will all sorts of festival food like kettle corn popcorn, street tacos, ears of corn, mini-donuts, funnel cakes and fresh-squeezed lemonade. No outside alcohol will be allowed and coolers and bags will be checked upon entry starting at 9 a.m., so leave the adult beverages at home, but the Hahnewald Bar will be stocked with cold beer, canned cocktails, wine, seltzers and more. Avon is a plastic-free zone, so bring your reusable water bottles and fill them up at fill stations throughout the event.
There will be fun activities for festivalgoers to enjoy like inflatable fun houses, stilt walkers, face painters, balloon artists, magicians and more. No dogs are allowed at this event.
The live music will kick off at 6 p.m. with Cory Wong. This guy has been all over the airwaves on radio and television. He is a Grammy-nominated American guitarist, bassist, songwriter, podcast host and producer. Expect to hear rock, jazz and funk when Wong fires things up for the night.
Galactic headlines the Salute to the USA and will be bringing over 25 years of jamming together to the Nottingham Park stage. Galactic is no stranger to the high country music scene. They have played throughout the valley many times. They are also staples at Coachella, Bonnaroo, and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, which they have been a part of 22 times. Joining the quintet will be Anjelika “Jelly” Joseph who will lend her powerful vocals to their music.
Instead of fireworks, this year the town of Avon will host a state-of-the-art laser show at 9:45 p.m. This show will surround the park and the and adjacent hillside on Nottingham Road.
Parking is extremely limited and attendees are encouraged to find different means of transportation to the event. If you must drive, the Bear Lot and Elk Lot will be open at the base of Beaver Creek. Avon is also offering special routes from those parking lots and Walmart, Eagle-Vail Community Center, Freedom Park in Edwards and the ECO buses will be running as well.
For more information, go to DiscoverAvon.org.
Also in Avon on Sunday, stop by the Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa and get some barbecue from Stoke & Rye. The new restaurant will be serving up smoked brisket, chicken and pork along with your favorite sides like potato salad, cornbread muffins and Stoke and Rye’s Farmers Market Cole Slaw. Wash it all down with some Oak & Eden whiskey cocktails.
This is the deal of the day: enjoy a BBQ Platter with three meats, two sides and cornbread for $21. They will be serving on the patio from 3 to 8 p.m.
This will all be happening outside on the Stoke and Rye patio and it is open to the public, so swing by if you are at Nottingham Park for the Salute to the USA festivities, it’s only a short walk to the Westin Riverfront from the park.
Eagle Bike Parade
Eagle will host its annual Bike Parade to get Independence Day started. Bikers will meet at the Eagle Medical Center at 9:15 a.m. to put finishing touches on the bikes in case some of the red, white and blue decorations fell off while getting to there. This is open to any non-motorized, pedal-powdered vehicle, unicycles, tricycles are allowed. Pets are not allowed during the parade but can come to the after-party at Brush Creek Park.
After everyone gets lined up, the route will take riders along the bike path to Capitol Street and to Brush Creek park for live music, family activities and crafts. The events will wrap up around noon in case you want to make your way up valley for happenings at Beaver Creek Resort which also start at noon.
For more information about the 4th of July Eagle Bike Parade, go to EagleOutside.com.
Independence Day at Beaver Creek
Head up to Beaver Creek for a day and night filled with fun and live music at the base of the resort. In addition to daily lift operations, hiking, biking and activities like mini-golf and the bungie trampoline, the Beav’ has brought in all sorts of fun things to help fill the day. Kids can enjoy bounce houses, lawn games and, back by popular demand, Stars, Stripes and Slides. Remember Slip ‘n Slides when you were younger? Imagine the base of Beaver Creek being filled with those slippery surfaces for those who dare to slip on down the lawn. All of this will be set up from noon until 6 p.m.
After you’ve worked up an appetite, food vendors will start serving items from 2 until 9 p.m. Stop by 8100 Mountainside Bar & Grill at the Park Hyatt where they have their big smoker working overtime to provide meats for the special occasion. Get your burgers and hot dogs as well. Food will also be provided by Rocky Mountain Taco, Ekahi will be bringing the poke bowls and sweet treats like ice cream and cotton candy will be provided by Sno & Joe.
There are also plenty of restaurants serving lunch and dinner and all points in between in Beaver Creek Village but do get reservations in advance as Beaver Creek is expecting holiday crowds this weekend.
The live music starts at noon and Beaver Creek has set up a huge stage at the base of the hill, so bring your blankets and stake your claim on a piece of grass for you and your group. Beaver Creek has made the decision to forgo fireworks this year, due to recommendations from the Eagle River Fire Protection District. Picnic blankets will be available for purchase, with all proceeds benefitting Eagle Valley Wildland Fire Protection.
- 12 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. – Early James
- 2 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. – Daniel Rodriguez (of Elephant Revival)
- 4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. – The Woods
- 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. – American Aquarium
- 8 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. – Jamestown Revival
Parking is limited at Beaver Creek Village so if you don’t get there early enough to get a parking spot, you can park at the Bear Lot or Elk Lot in Avon and take the free buses up or if you don’t have too much to carry, enjoy the walk up the pedestrian path to the village. For more details, check out the signature events at BeaverCreek.com.
Vail America Days
After a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, the Vail America Days parade is back in its original form. In 2020 and 2021, Vail opted for a static parade, where there were stationary exhibits instead of floats cruising down a parade route. People could wander through the static displays and still learn about the businesses and organizations through the creativity of their stationary floats. This year the traditional parade is back, taking floats and those walking on a route from Golden Peak to Lionshead.
The parade will kick off at 10 a.m. with local motorcyclists leading the charge. The Minturn VFW Post 10721 will follow and the National Anthem will be sung to get everyone into the patriotic spirit. This year’s theme is Red, White and Blues, which can be interpreted in a variety of ways, so look for the creativity in the floats and other displays put together by area vendors, nonprofits, musical groups and children’s organizations. Prizes will be awarded for the following categories: youth, musical, motorized, merchant/business, float and most original.
After the parade, grab lunch at one of the many restaurants in town or bring a picnic out to Ford Park or one of the pocket parks in Vail or Lionshead Village. Keep in mind that town will be busy, so reservations are recommended.
Bravo! Vail will host its annual Patriotic Concert at 2 p.m. with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra on Monday. Tickets go on sale July 1 at 8 a.m. but you must be there in person and there is a limit of four tickets per person. At 11 a.m. on that same day, online purchases can be made at BravoVail.org. On the day of the show, there will be a limited amount of free, un-ticketed lawn seats available on a first-come, first-served basis once the gates open at the Amp at 12:30 p.m.
If you can’t get a ticket to the patriotic show, there will be live music throughout Lionshead and Vail Villages from 3 to 6 p.m. on the Fourth of July. At the Sundial Plaza in Lionshead you’ll find the Evolution Duo. At the Gore Creek Promenade, listen for the sounds of the Sam B Duo in Vail Village.
Instead of fireworks lighting up the skies for the Fourth of July in Vail, look to the skies to see a high-tech drone show hovering over the mountains. Drone shows have become very popular and since Eagle County decided not to do fireworks this year, the drone shows are the next best thing. The drone show will be visible from many different view corridors around town. Check out the map of those areas on DiscoverVail.com.