The 4th here always starts with a bang - a big bang called the Powder Monkey Breakfast. The firemen - who have been up most of the night tending to the 100's of pounds of beef roasting in an underground pit, wake up the rest of the town by lighting off a few sticks of dynamite around 6 a.m.. The festivities actually get rolling with a parade at 11:00. Everybody in town is in the parade - honest. Babies, kids, dogs, horses, Veterans, motorcycles, floats, bands, people who just woke up and got in line - all 1,500 townspeople are in the parade that stretches the entire 4 blocks of downtown. What's more amazing is that even though everybody in town's in the parade, people are still lined 6 deep along the street to see it. That's because 10,000 or more people come from all around the country to experience this remarkable event,
The Veterans usually lead off the parade under the direction of Gen. Norman Schwartzkopf, who lives here much of the time. This year the General isn't feeling well and hasn't made it back to his high country home yet so we missed him.
My Mom's birthday was on the 4th of July so she and my Aunt were always in the parade. Mom died a couple years ago but my Aunt Irene is still in the parade and I get to tag along as water boy and umbrella holder. At 95 she's the oldest living native of the town and somewhat of a celebrity. Last year she got the Key to the City, which thrilled her no end. John Roth shines up his pride-and-joy 1965 Austin Healey just so Irene's got the classiest ride in the parade.
Naturally we have jets fly over and there are floats of all types. Someone loaded a bunch of kids on a pontoon boat; the ice hockey team rode their Zamboni; there's always an old Prospector or two handing out 'honest-to-God gold' samples to the tourists; several ladies always pay tribute to the original denizens of 'Popcorn Alley', the old red light section of town; this year we had a ragtag New Orleans funeral marching band; and as usual we salute 'Men Who Can't Dance' who come variously themed as Elvis or Michael Jackson and dance down the street as only men can't.
Years ago the rest of the day was a series of contests and expositions to mining, from rock drilling with old pneumatic drills, to tug-of-war, fire hose showdown, pie eating contests, etc. After the parade most folks make their way over to the Town Park where the firemen serve up a delectable meal of that roast of beef, potato salad, baked beans, corn on the cob and watermelon. The past few years we've not braved the crowds at the park but have opted for a smaller pot-luck at the Elks Club. Many old-timers who come back to town for this day gather to visit, reminisce and remember those who passed on.
When it's dark, the firemen again put on a fireworks extravaganza that has been a tradition for decades. This year for their 130th, they really blew up the sky. They shoot them off in a little box canyon at the end of town so you can see them from anywhere in town. The bombast lights up the surrounding mountain peaks and the blasts echo back and forth from mountain to valley. While many cities did without this year due to a plant explosion in China that destroyed a good portion of the world's supply of firecrackers, Telluride Firemen order their stock a year in advance so there was no shortage in this spectacular display.
If you're looking for a great place to celebrate next 4th of July, bring your family to enjoy a healthy slice of small-town American Independence Day. I saw Leon Russell perform the night before, Jonny Lang gave a FREE performance the day after, most everything is FREE except the BBQ, which'l set ya back $12 bucks. Come on up. It's a great time and you'll make memories that'll last a lifetime.
Gene Wunderlich - Selling Southwest California Homes including Temecula, Murrieta & The Southern California Wine Country
Remember, Don't wait to buy real estate - Buy real estate and wait.