Fourth of July

Uncle Sam amazed the crowd with his roller-skating abilities as part of the Telluride Festival Cars and Colors ensemble at previous Fourth of July Parade on Colorado Avenue. (Planet file photo)

The Fourth of July in Telluride is a celebration unlike any other, most notably the parade down Main Street at 11 a.m. and firework display in Town Park at dusk.

While fireworks were a no-go last year due to wildfire concerns and fire restrictions, the Telluride Fire Protection District announced the return of the nighttime display Friday.

“I think all the shooters are excited for the opportunity to put on a show. A lot of work went into making sure it is a good show,” Chief David Wadley said. “It will be one of the largest, if not the largest, firework show Telluride has ever seen. There will be some big stuff going off.”

He explained the fireworks will be “more elaborate” with bigger shells on the Fourth of July Thursday.

“We have made sure that we have really good fireworks,” he said.

A team of 20 shooters will oversee the launch across seven stations on Firecracker Hill. This year’s VIP shooter will be the chief’s wife, Kate Wadley.

“She will send the first bang up. She’s thrilled,” he said.

It will also be the last year that Wadley oversees the firework show, as Captain “Surfer Dan” Curtis will take over next year. As Wadley put it, “I couldn’t go out on a dark year” in 2018.

Along with the fire protection district, Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control and U.S. Forest Service officials will be on hand during the display as well.

Wadley explained conditions will be monitored using fuel moisture reading instruments until the first firework is launched Thursday night, but they seem favorable as the weather forecast is calling for sunny skies with a high of 74.

Crews started preparing the fireworks Tuesday, a process that takes 12 to 14 hours, including fusing all them.

“It’s a tremendous amount of work to make sure it’s done properly and safely, and to the standard in which in needs to be done,” Wadley said.

The holiday is a busy time for fire department staff and volunteers, as the annual fireman’s BBQ takes place following the Main Street parade from noon to 4 p.m. in Town Park. The department’s only fundraiser of the year, Wadley said around 2,800 plates are dished up during the event.

The festivities start Thursday morning with the annual Rundola, starting at the Oak Street gondola station at 8 a.m. For more information and to register, visit

During the holiday, another Fourth of July tradition, the Hot Shot Photo Contest, will be open to the public. Festive photos must be taken in San Miguel County on July 4. All entries will be judged on “expression, creativity, originality and quality,” according to contest organizer Katrine Formby. Entries must be submitted by noon on Friday. First ($1,000 prize), second ($300) and third ($100) place winners will be announced Friday night. For more information, visit

Also on the Fourth, the Telluride Historical Museum will be offering free admission and root beer floats (a suggested $5 donation), but get there early as the floats go fast.

In Mountain Village, the annual Red, White and Blues Celebration starts at 1 p.m. in Heritage Plaza Thursday, featuring local bands Alan Booradley and the NIA, followed by Claybrook Penn and Friends, and Joint Point. DJ Kat V will take the stage at 6:30 p.m. Festivities start Wednesday from 1-5 p.m.

“We look forward to having our members, guests and visitors attend this entertaining holiday event,” said Heidi Stenhammer, Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association administration and operations manager, which organizes the event.

See today’s (Wednesday) Orbit story for more information, including the Movies Under the Stars at 8:45 p.m.


Fourth of July festivities begin bright and early with an all-you-can eat breakfast at the Ouray Community Center at 7:45 a.m. to benefit the Ouray High School French Club and girls athletics, followed by the running of the 10K Ourayce. Other highlights of the day include a parade down Ouray’s Main Street, at 10 a.m., brownies and lemonade at the Ouray Historical Museum (or barbecue, build-your-own Bloody Marys and karaoke at Elks Lodge), and the annual Ouray Volunteer Fire Department waterfights, featuring  “full-pressure fire hoses of freezing water,” downtown at 2 p.m.

A “Jeep Glow” parade follows at dusk, and after that, fireworks. (In Ridgway, there’ll be a free concert at Hartwell Park at 6 p.m.)

The City of Montrose hosts its annual Fourth of July Parade at a different time this year — 4 p.m. — followed by a celebration at Cerise Park (pack a picnic) which includes an apple pie-eating contest, face painting and bouncy houses for the kids, beer and wine for adults and yard games for all ages, and live music by the band Ulterior Motive. A fireworks display caps off the celebration at dusk.