Vail’s Fourth relatively quiet |

Vail’s Fourth relatively quiet

Geraldine Haldner

Compared to last year, the resort’s traditionally busiest weekend in the summer season held up largely, despite several obstacles, town officials say.According to Vail Police estimates, for example, as many as 10,000 spectators came to watch Vail’s America Days Parade, making for a crowd just slightly smaller than in years past. Crowds were also smaller Thursday in Vail Village, where in accordance with the town’s anti-crowd stance police set up identification checkpoints and enforced a 10:30 p.m. juvenile curfew for the third time since last year’s Fourth of July.All in all, 16 adults and four juveniles were arrested during the evening for minor offenses ranging from underage possession to disorderly conduct to curfew violation, police say. Six adults were placed in “detox”; one driver was arrested on charges of driving drunk.Vail Mayor Ludwig Kurz, who came to survey how the town’s third experience with the anti-crowd measures was shaping up, says business in bars and nightclubs seemed lively enough to indicate that “we seem to be catering to the group that we needed to cater to.”It seems that people have made an adjustment,” he says.The town will likely continue to institute the anti-crowd measures in the interest of public safety and to foster Vail’s new reputation as a family-friendly destination on holiday weekends,” Kurz says.Vail Police Chief Dwight Henninger, Vail’s top cop since Jan. 14, says the swiftness with which people have adjusted to no longer associate Vail with juvenile drinking and partying on the Fourth and New Year’s Eve is surprising but positive.”When we first instituted the program, the officials from Palm Springs and Boulder told us it takes three events, annual events, for people to get used to the change,” he says. “We really only have had three events, not years, but it seems pretty clear to me that even without as much advertising and a much softer message, the word has gotten out for good. There weren’t a bunch of kids out there throwing up and getting trampled.”Nationwide coverage of Colorado wildfires may have impacted destination visitor numbers for the lodging community, but more than anything else the absence of a fireworks show may have discouraged retail business. According to the Vail Valley Chamber & Tourism Bureau, reservations were down by a third over last year’s Fourth of July week. Communications Manager Ian Anderson says the news may have prompted people to make different travel plans.Cathy Roach, office manager at Sweet Basil, an up-scale eatery on Gore Creek Drive, says the absence of a fireworks show and the onset of a mild drizzly night, actually kept the restaurant’s 130 seats full the night of the Fourth.”The rain, though greatly appreciated, hampered our business because it shut down our patio,” she says. “But the fact that we didn’t have a fireworks show kept us busy at a time when normally everyone clears out.”In addition to shopping, eating out and strolling, guest and locals also behaved – even under the tight restrictions of a fire ban. For example, not a single illegal piece of fireworks was confiscated.”It was really quite amazing. I worked from 6 p.m. until midnight, and I didn’t hear or see a single firecracker,” says Vail Police Officer Matt Lindvall. “People showed great restraint with the fire ban. They should be commended for that.”

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