Vail Fourth of July: Lacrosse, classical music, plenty of fireworks | VailDaily.com

Vail Fourth of July: Lacrosse, classical music, plenty of fireworks

EAGLE COUNTY — Summer has barely begun, but it's time for the busiest weekend of the season. The Fourth of July holiday always brings big crowds to Vail for the annual Vail America Days parade, and people flock to Nottingham Park in Avon the night before for the Salute to the USA, one of the biggest fireworks shows in the state.

Beyond those big events, though, the valley has a plethora of events this weekend. Unless you want to just enjoy some time to yourself, there's enough to keep just about anyone busy from Thursday through Sunday. With that in mind, here's a quick look at what's going on around the valley, starting this evening.

Early birds

Depending on your taste in elevation, there are a couple of events Thursday evening.

• The Vail Valley Foundation's ShowDown Town concert series in Eagle Town Park starts off with a performance by Tori Prater and the Dyrty Byrds. The show is free. There will be food and other vendors, but people are welcome to bring their own picnics and coolers.

The show begins at 6:30 p.m.

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• Minturn has a tradition of scheduling events when it's more convenient for people, and the town's Fourth of July celebration this year is the latest example.

Minturn's popular Little Beach Park will host a celebration between 5 and 8 p.m. featuring local bands The Laughing Bones and Hardscrabble. There will also be a mechanical bull and bounce house for the kids. A face painter and a clown who makes balloon animals will also be on hand.

"This is a chance for people to see a good, Colorado-style community event," Minturn special events coordinator Michelle Metteer said.

While everyone's welcome, Metteer said Minturn officials wanted a celebration in town that still allows residents to take in the weekend's big events in Avon and Vail.

"We thought, 'Let's kick off the holiday weekend, then everybody can go do those other things,'" Metteer said.

• If jazz is your bag, the Jazz at Vail Square concert series kicks off with a 6 p.m. performance by the Django Festival All-Stars. For more information about the show, which is a ticketed event, go to http://www.vailjazz.org.

The big Salute

The Vail Lacrosse Shootout continues through the weekend, which brings plenty of lax action to the valley. But the big event for July 3 is Avon's annual Salute to the USA in Nottingham Park.

The Salute has evolved over the years — this is the 29th annual celebration — but the show's centerpiece is the same as it ever was: one of the biggest fireworks shows in the state.

This year's show — produced, as usual, by a local crew working for Western Enterprises — will throw roughly 10,000 shells into the night sky above the lake, with a synchronized soundtrack played at the park and over radio station KZYR.

The show — nearly 30 minutes long — doesn't start until 9:30 p.m., but the park opens at 5 p.m.

Avon special events director Danita Dempsey said this year's event will have several performance artists on hand, including fire jugglers. There will also be food vendors, and a family fun area on the north side of the park.

The park this year will also have an expanded area for adult beverage service.

The event draws thousands, and it's free, but there are some long-standing rules:

• No personal fireworks.

• You can't bring liquor.

• Leave your pets at home. That's all pets, by the way — Dempsey said someone once tried bringing a pet boa constrictor to the event.

Parking is available at the Elk and Bear lots at Beaver Creek. There's no public parking at the town recreation center or town hall.

A fabulous Fourth

We all know about the parade that's the centerpiece of Vail America Days — the annual event is one of the biggest parades in the state, and the town is never more full than it is when thousands come to watch the floats, bands and people from local politicians to longtime gadfly Packy Walker.

The parade starts at 10 a.m. Get there early for a spot, and, perhaps, stick around for lunch as the crowds clear out.

There are plenty of other events in Vail Saturday, from lacrosse to Bravo! Vail's annual patriotic concert at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater.

The town's website has a comprehensive rundown of everything going on on the Fourth

But Vail doesn't have all the events Saturday.

The weekly Minturn market will fill downtown from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Earlier, Eagle's annual kids' bike parade takes kids of all ages from the Brush Creek Pavilion to town park for a morning of games.

And Avon doesn't have the only fireworks display.

Vail, Eagle and Beaver Creek all have fireworks displays planned, all starting about 9:30 p.m.

As opposed to the high-tech show in Avon, technicians will do some old-fashioned hand lighting at the July 4 shows. Vail this year will have choreographed fireworks.

Don't leave yet

After the smoke from the fireworks fades, there's still plenty to do July 5, mostly in Vail.

Events include the annual LaSportiva Hillclimb in Vail Village at 8 a.m.

The weekly Vail Farmers' Market and Art Show — 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. — always draws big crowds to Meadow Drive.

If you stay into the evening, Bravo! Vail has yet another performance by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra at 6 p.m., featuring a program of "Hollywood Classics & John Williams."

So get out and enjoy — if you're bored this weekend, it's your own fault.

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, smiller@vaildaily.com or @scottnmiller.

What about the weather?

Here’s the National Weather Service’s forecast for Avon for July 2 — 5:

• July 2: High of 84, 10 percent chance of afternoon thunderstorms.

• July 3: High of 83, 20 percent chance of afternoon thunderstorms.

• July 4: High of 85, 10 percent chance of afternoon thunderstorms.

• July 5: High of 84 and a “slight” chance of thunderstorms.

Overnight lows through the period will be in the high 40s and low 50s.