July 4th Week of Local Celebrations Starts off with a Bang

Golf, fireworks and mega art displays cap initial festivities

~ by Rick Langenberg ~

With a local charity golf event, fireworks show and several award-winning art display exhibits, the July 4th week of celebrations has hit home initially with a bang.

Photo by CR Chambers

And with Mother Nature gracing the region with sunny, ideal weather, big crowds gathered at a variety area events, a trend expected to continue with Wednesday’s scheduled grand finale, Symphony Above the Clouds show.  

Photo by CR Chambers

Last Friday, the national holiday spirit kicked into full gear during the sixth annual Teller County Sheriff’s Office golf tourney that benefits the Honorary Deputy Sheriff’s Association. Hosted at the Shining Mountain Golf Course and Event Center in Woodland Park, the event attracted more than 60 participants, including local government officials, business owners, sheriff deputies and officers and even a few journalists.

Despite brutal winds that conjured up images of the British Open, the winning team carded a score of 18-under par, under a scramble-best-ball format, with fairly liberal rules on certain holes. On the high side, the losing team barely broke 80. But this event really wasn’t really about golf scores.  

With a new Teller sheriff on board, Jason Mikesell, the tournament took on extra meaning this year. And according to preliminary estimates, the event has already raised more than $12,000 for the Deputy Sheriff’s Association, money that can be used for volunteer uniforms, equipment and other necessary needs.

The new sheriff administration wants to spruce up its posse and reserve programs, and this money can help move the agency and county in this direction, according to department leaders.     

In brief remarks, newly-appointed Sheriff Mikesell thanked the participants for their support, and touted the event as a great way to enhance Teller County. “We are all part of the Teller County family,” noted Mikesell.  

Then, on Saturday (July 1) the Independence week celebration headed to Cripple Creek, as the city unleashed another spectacular fireworks show. Cripple Creek fireworks shows are now regarded as the premiere fireworks displays in southern Colorado.

This marked the first time in recent memory Cripple Creek opted to celebrate the Independence Day, prior to the actual July 4th date.

But the decision was based on a way to reap the benefits of the pre-July 4th weekend.  Plus, several casinos featured special musical acts and events to compliment the festivities. 

Photo by Cindy Valade

In Green Mountain Falls, locals and visitors enjoyed the initial preview of the Field of Light and Tepees displays, the signature premiere celebration of this year’s Green Box Arts Festival that extends until July 9. Green Box plays host to a celebration of art and artists with concerts, performances, classes and unique displays. The signature light displays feature the work of renowned artist Bruce Munro, and will be exhibited through the middle of September. The Field of Light, located at the Flagpole Park, encompasses 3,000 strands of light, and represents the Red Desert in central Australia, although it can evoke memories of many different landscapes (see related story). 

The work was inspired during a trip the artist took with his then girlfriend through Australia decades ago, and it has received international recognition and has been housed in several top-rate museums. The initial night lighting of the displays occurred last Thursday evening.

In the last few years, Green Box has focused on more signature displays that are exhibited at premiere sites across the country, such as the previous Cloud City. This work was once displayed at the top of the New York Metropolitan Art Museum.

A Green Box block party was held on July 4, capped by showcase jazz bands.  

On Independence Day, Woodland Park featured its Old Fashioned 4th of July Celebration, highlighted by games and festivities at the newly revamped Memorial Park facility. Fireworks  then ignited at the Woodland Park High School.

The celebration continued Wednesday evening with the Symphony Above the Clouds, an event that attracts more attendees then virtually any cultural performance in the high country. The celebration concluded with the usual stunning display of fireworks.