Fun and affordable July Fourth fun — even without fireworks
With July Fourth falling smack in the middle of the week this year, more people will celebrate close to home.
Picnics, backyard cookouts and patriotic parades are the stuff of Independence Day tradition. What’s more, you don’t have to shell out a ton of dough to have a good time.
Even with the extreme heat and fire conditions, along with a statewide ban on igniting private fireworks, many communities still have festive events on tap — fireworks or not. For up-to-date information, check the event’s website beforehand.
Get the party started
Jumpstart the festivities at the Civic Center Independence Eve Celebration featuring the Colorado Symphony, an innovative light show, and a Denver Fire Department-approved fireworks display atop the Denver City and County Building Tuesday evening. This event beginning at 8 p.m. also has become a wildfire relief fund-raising opportunity, with Anadarko Petroleum Corp. pledging to match funds
raised via mobile giving up to $25,000. Arrive early to find a good spot on the lawn for your blanket or low-rise concert/beach chair. Although food vendors will be on site, picnics are also welcome. CBS4 also is broadcasting the event live. Details at civiccenterconservancy.org or 303-861-4633 .
Also on Tuesday, Whole Foods Market on South Colorado Boulevard, which happens to provide a fine view of the city of Glendale fireworks, has a celebration of its own from 5 to 9 p.m. The fun includes a live DJ, kids’ crafts, photo booth, magician, bouncy castles and more. A barbecue dinner is reasonably priced ($12 for adults, $7 for kids). New this year: a sampling area (also $12) for local Colorado beers from the likes of Oskar Blues, Del Norte, Bull & Bush Brewery, Wynkoop, Odell and New Belgium. 870 S. Colorado Blvd., Glendale. 303-691-0101 or wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/coloradoblvd/
Two other large community events on Tuesday are Littleton’s Red, White and You Celebration at Clement Park. Festivities start at 5 p.m. with food, exhibits, activities and a free concert featuring Black Water. 7306 Bowles Ave., Littleton, 303-973-9155, ifoothills.org.
And Lakewood on Parade 2012 runs from 3 to 10 p.m. at JeffCo Sports Stadium. This huge event includes military and history exhibits, games, activities for the kids, rides, a beer garden and live music headlined by the Wendy Woo Band. West Sixth Avenue and Kipling Street, 303-225-7680, lakewoodonparade.org
There’s no single, big, downtown parade planned in the Mile High City on Wednesday, but several are scattered around town throughout the day — so parade-aholics can catch more than one.
First up is the 6th Annual Cheesman Park July 4th Kids Parade. Starting at 9 a.m., youngsters can snag free decorations to spruce up their bikes, wagons and skateboards in order to wheel the parade. The actual parade starts at 10 a.m. and features a Denver Police Mounted Patrol, fire truck, the Mile High Marching Band, bagpipers and Uncle Sam himself. Then, the fun continues with face painting, balloons and bicycle motocross stunts. The park is located between East Eighth and East 12th Avenues, and between Franklin and High streets; event details at facebook.com/CheesmanParksJuly4th KidsParade.
Also stepping off at 10 a.m. Wednesday is the University Park Neighborhood Bike Parade and Pumper Truck Spray in Observatory Park. Kids on decorated bikes or not, dogs and families parade along East Warren Avenue, followed by the traditional soaking by a fire truck from Station 24 (unless, of course, it’s diverted to a fire call). The action takes place south of East Evans Avenue between South Fillmore and South Mississippi streets. upcc.us
The annual Stapleton parade at 10:30 a.m. attracts families with decorated bikes, wagons and strollers. Fuel up beforehand with a pancake breakfast at 9 a.m. at the Fountain Pavilion in Stapleton’s Central Park. A suggested donation of $5 for adults and $3 for children benefits the Stapleton Stingrays Swim Team. More event details at StapletonCommunity.com.
The Third Annual Park Hill Fourth of July Parade draws families dressed in patriotic colors plus decorated bikes and floats. Starting at 1:30 p.m., the parade features classic cars, an 80-piece marching band, street performers and more as it proceeds along 23rd Avenue from Dexter Street to Kearney Street. A street fair on Kearney follows with music, food trucks and kids’ activities. For more information, visit parkhillparade.org.
Festivals and more
Most those events that have cancelled commericial fireworks displays generally still have some some brand of family-friendly fun planned. And most admissions are free; just plan to spend on food, drinks and a few special activities.
The Arvada Fourth of July Festival at the Stenger/Lutz Complex (located at West 58th Avenue and Oak Street, west of Kipling Street) starts at 4 p.m. and features live entertainment and a classic car show. For details, call 720-898-7400 or visit arvada.org/arts-and-culture/ festivals-commission.
Or, spend some time in Boulder. HOP bus service connecting downtown, the 29th Street shopping area and the University of Colorado’s main campus is free all day. Bands on the Bricks, a regular free summer Wednesday event, goes on as usual from 7 to 9 p.m. in front of the courthouse on the 1300 block of Pearl Street.
Broomfield County Commons is the site of the Great American Picnic. Festivities are from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and include a concert by FACE and Soul School, bike parade and petting zoo, all free, plus pony rides and inflatables for a fee. Park at Legacy High School and ride the free shuttle. broomfield.org/recreation/special/fourthofjuly.shtml
Lacrosse fans get a double treat on Wednesday when the Denver Outlaws play the Ohio Machine at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The action starts at 7 p.m. Stick around afterward for the largest close-proximity fireworks show in town. Tickets start at $15. denveroutlaws.com
Or, take a trip back in time at Four Mile Historic Park’s Old Fashioned July Fourth Celebration. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., meet Thomas Jefferson, Abe Lincoln and Uncle Sam, hear a reading of the Declaration of Independence, watch Civil War re-enactments and heritage craft demonstrations, plus enjoy games and crafts. Adult entry is $7, seniors youth $4 and kids under 6, military with ID and FMHP members free. 715 S. Forest St.. 720-865-0800, fmhp.org
Colorado entertainer Julius Williams plays a free July Fourth concert featuring his brand of energetic dance and pop faves at the Green Valley Ranch Amphitheater from 8 to 9:30 p.m., followed by fireworks over the lake. 4890 Argonne Way; more at skylineusa.com/concert_series.htm
Fourth freebies and deals
While many businesses are closed on Independence Day, a few are keeping their doors open, enticing customers with freebies and special holiday deals. Among them:
• Kids 12 and younger eat free through Wednesday in the Ikea Restaurant. 9800 E. Ikea Way, Centennial, ikea-usa.com, 303-768-9064
• Stop by $5 Bucks Car Wash on Wednesday to get $4 off any wash package, plus free unlimited vacuums. 1398 S. Wadsworth Blvd., Lakewood; 5BucksCarWash.com
-Freelance writers Claire Walter of Boulder and Laura Daily of Denver co-own milehighonthecheap.com, a go-to resource for information about local freebies, values, sales and bargains. That site is hosting a page with the most current July Fourth event details the writers receive. Check it out at milehigh onthecheap.com/fourth-of-july-2012.