A Small Town America 4th of July - Telluride Colorado

Real Estate Agent with 1st Action Real Estate
7-6 Telluride 4th bannerThere's nothing quite so quintessentially American as a small town 4th of July celebration - especially when the small town knows how to do it up big. Telluride Colorado has been celebrating the 4th in a BIG way since way before my half century of memory comes into play. In fact the Telluride Fire Department, who puts the shindig on, celebrated it's 130th birthday this year so they've got a plenty of experience doing this sort of thing.

paradeThe 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. IreneWhat'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. Irene

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.

prospectorNaturally we have jets fly over and there are floats of all types. popcornSomeone 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. floatAfter 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. zamboniThe 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. elks

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. fireworksWhile 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.

fireworksIf 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
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Comments (6)

John Walters
Frank Rubi Real Estate - Slidell, LA
Licensed in Louisiana

Gene i bet this brought back some great memories to you.  I would love to see some winter pictures.

Jul 07, 2008 12:32 PM
Gene Wunderlich
1st Action Real Estate - Murrieta, CA
Realtor & Legislative Liaison

Maybe I'll do that before I leave. This past winter they had a real old fashioned winter with 20+ feet of snow. This is a great part of Colorado, which has more than it's share of great parts.

Jul 08, 2008 11:38 AM
Kevin Robinson
Twin Falls, ID
Fractional Developer

Telluride is a great place to visit. That looks like one heck of a fun 4th.

Jul 11, 2008 03:54 AM
Pete Jalbert
The Maui Real Estate Team, Inc. - Paia, HI

Telluride is my favorite mountain town in the country. Such a beautiful place.

Jul 11, 2008 03:16 PM
Gene Wunderlich
1st Action Real Estate - Murrieta, CA
Realtor & Legislative Liaison

It is a great place. I'll be over enjoying your island the 2nd week of August. I'm gonna read all your blogs so I know where to go and what to do.

Jul 11, 2008 04:40 PM
Virginia Tatseos
Stage-Show-Sell - Bloomfield Township, MI

What a great town with a great spirit.

Jul 13, 2008 07:38 AM