by Rick Langenberg:
The town of Green Mountain Falls may try to re-ignite one of its more popular, former special events: a July 4th fireworks show with an impressive pyrotechnical display lighting up the skies overlooking the Gazebo lake area.“It is a long shot, but we are going to see what can do,” said GMF Trustee Barbara Gardiner, who is heading a community discussion on reviewing the possibility of bringing back the town’s former Independence-Day show, a celebration that once attracted huge crowds on an annual basis. In fact, some former GMF Independence Day displays rivaled Bronc Day as the premiere local event.
A discussion on this subject is scheduled for tonight’s (Sept. 2) GMF Board of Trustees meeting. GMF Mayor Lorrie Worthey likes the fireworks idea, classifying the show as something many residents would like to see return. “It would be a community thing,” said the mayor, who maintained that the town government wouldn’t foot the bill, but could try to facilitate such a celebration.
More importantly, she indicted she would like to get more input from the community regarding the idea of exploring a revival of the GMF fireworks celebration. This idea was previously tossed around during the initial startup meetings for the reformed Ute Pass Triangle Chamber of Commerce, with many former chamber leaders mentioning the end of the annual fireworks show as a big blow to the community and what killed the previous chamber.
In its previous heyday years, the GMF fireworks shows attracted many visitors from Colorado Springs and other parts of Teller due to GMF’s scenic setting. The fireworks were previously shot off from property located in back of the GMF/Chipita Park fire station, with the display quite visible from the main town center and from many nearby vistas in and around GMF. The combination of the fireworks and the Gazebo lake area provided an unbeatable combination, according to previous reports.Plus, with the timing of next year’s July 4th celebration, Worthey believes a fireworks show could tie in well with the Green Box Arts Festival and give the town a festive July 4th atmosphere.
But the mayor is the first to admit that a possible return of the GMF fireworks show, as scenic as they once were, must overcome major hurdles. “There are issues with funding, safety and the conditions,” said the mayor. In addition, finding property to do the shows could provide the biggest obstacle. Gardiner sees securing land for doing the displays as a key goal, if the shows are brought back.
The GMF/Chipita Park Fire Department was forced to cancel its annual Independence Day show, when it lost the site it used for shooting off the fireworks, following stern objections from a property owner. This occurred after the property changed hands from a previous owner. In addition, the bombardment of super dry conditions, coupled with constant wildfire threats capped by such disasters as the Hayman and Waldo Canyon blazes, muzzled any talk of bringing back the fireworks show. And fireworks shows aren’t cheap. Rough estimates indicate that such a show in GMF could cost $6,000. According to experts, modern fireworks shows now are much stricter regarding liability insurance requirements and fire protection efforts.
The July 4th firworks gala in GMF hasn’t occurred for at least 10 or 15 years, according to members of the fire department. If the fireworks idea proceeds, the GMF Trustess may have to do a lobbying effort with the local fire department. Concerns have been raised about endorsing a fireworks celebration that could end up as a losing endeavor financially. Consequently, a big question hinges on who would actually do the show. At the same time, the Ute Pass community has gotten much more aggressive about doing special events. The Green Box Arts Festival, held around the July 4th time frame, has put Green Mountain Fall on the national art map, with such attractions as Cloud City and The Swings. The Triangle Chamber now sports an impressive events schedule that rivals the festivities in Woodland Park. And more residents have talked about finding a way to make the shows a reality again, according to several trustees.
These issues and more surrounding a future fireworks display in GMF will be addressed at tonight’s GMF trustees meeting, which begins at 7 pm.