One of my favorite summer occasions in the mountains is the 4th of July celebrations. The Vail Valley is the perfect place to celebrate this fantastic event.
Start out by going to the fireworks show down at Nottingham Park in Avon on July 3rd. This is the largest fireworks show on the western slope of Colorado, which is simulcast and choreographed to music. It’s a fun way to get together with family and friends; picnic in the park earlier in the day, enjoy paddle boarding on the lake or a little beach volleyball. Finally, there is a free concert starting at around 6:00pm with the fireworks finishing off the evening around 9:00pm.
Locals Tip: Get there early, as parking tends to fill up very fast. I’d recommend having an early dinner at Maya at the Riverfront Resort – you can park in their garage, which is just a block away from the park. Public transportation and walking are also great options.
The fun continues the next day with the 4th of July Parade. This is a great family event and takes place on the morning of the 4th between Vail and Lionshead Villages. It is a really old-fashioned style parade, which is so fun. If you are lucky, the Lawn Chair Drill Team Brigade might march – they have featured in Presidential Inauguration parades and make for a unique experience.
Another event not to miss is the Bravo Patriotic concert on July 4th at 2pm. It is such a fantastic concert, perfect for the family and friends. It takes place at the Gerald Ford Amphitheater in Vail, which is such a beautiful outdoor music venue. Every year, an orchestra plays patriotic music to get you in the spirit of the holiday.
Locals Tip: Tickets for the Bravo Patriotic concert go on sale on July 1st at the Gerald Ford Amphitheater box office, which opens at 8am. This is such a popular event that typically to get tickets to it you need to be in line for the box office around 5am and they will only sell 2 tickets per person.
For the foodies out there, another spectacular activity is Beano’s Cabin annual mid-mountain BBQ & Seafood buffet. Beano’s restaurant is located in the middle of Beaver Creek Mountain with spectacular mountain views. In addition to the annual BBQ, the whole family can enjoy a range of lawn games. This beautiful setting makes for a unique and special meal in the mountains.
Of course, you need to make sure to visit Beaver Creek Village as well. They set up an entire kids’ zone that includes a bouncy castle/ slide, water ball pool, face painting, arts & crafts area, mini golf, bungee trampoline, air mattress twister game set and more. Additionally, they have a snow cone stand as well as lots of food booths. The outdoor ice-skating rink is also available for a unique summer outdoor ice-skating experience.
There is nothing like skating in the sunshine on a warm summer day! After your day of activities, you can wind down and enjoy the free concerts that begin around 6pm on the evening of the 4th. Then to top it off, sit back and relax to watch the fireworks shows at both Vail and Beaver Creek on the evening on the 4th to conclude the patriotic celebrations. Like I said, nothing tops the 4th of July events in Colorado.
What to expect on the 4th of July
Story by Laura Silverstein