Celebrating our Nation’s 248th Birthday Bash

Huge Lineup of Independence-Day Festivities Planned Locally

 Trevor Phipps

According to national statistics, nearly 90 percent of citizens in the United States celebrate the Fourth of July holiday in some way with about 65 percent of them hosting a cookout or barbecue.

The National Hot Dog & Sausage Council estimates that Americans eat approximately 150 million hot dogs on Independence Day every year, and it has become the top holiday for at-home beer consumption, according to the National Beer Wholesalers Association.

But for those who choose not to spend their holiday stuffing their faces with hot dogs and guzzling up beer at their homes or friend’s house, just about every municipality in southern Colorado offers some type of community-wide Independence Day event.

In the Ute Pass region this year, Green Mountain Falls, Woodland Park and Cripple Creek all have special festivities planned. These are ideal gatherings for those who wish to join their community in celebrating our nation’s birthday.

But there have been significant changes in past traditions.

Over the past several years, mountain communities have tended to shy away from fireworks due to the fire dangers associated with this traditional way to celebrate the Fourth. But that has meant that festival organizers have gotten creative with safer celebrations, including Green Mountain Falls’ Water Lantern Launch and Woodland Park’s past drone light shows.

This year there won’t be any fireworks in Green Mountain Falls or Woodland Park, but the city of Cripple Creek remains to be the sole city in the region that offers a spectacular fireworks display. To wrap up the day-long festivities in the gambling town, the fireworks launch at around 9:30 p.m. once it gets dark and they can be seen just about everywhere in the city’s downtown strip. Here is short run-down of what to expect this Thursday in our local communities, when we officially celebrate July 4th, 2024.


Cripple Creek

The party for the Fourth in Cripple Creek launches at noon when alcohol and food will be served at the “Re-Igniting Patriotism” event that will be put on by the American Legion Post 171 at the 300 block of E. Bennett Ave. on the south side of the main street. There will be a beer tent and food options include hamburgers, brats, hot dogs, root beer floats, kettle corn and food items from the Margaret Munchies food truck.

First responders and their vehicles will be on display along with military vehicles and of course Cripple Creek’s famous donkeys. Events will include live music, corn hole, merchandise vendors and a “Kiss My Ass Booth.”

Live music from the Exit West Outlaw Country Band will play at the Cripple Creek District Museum parking lot from 3 to 7 p.m. According to the museum’s director Bill Burcaw, the museum will also have their train car open for guests during the day.

“We got the train car back so what we are doing with that now is we converted the back side into a book library for all Cripple Creek books, so we sell books out of there now,” Burcaw said. “We also brought in a lot of old clothing, and we staged it in racks. People can come in and dress up and it’s like a photo booth where we use their phone to take a photo and turn it into black and white, so it looks like they are riding an old train. We only ask for a $5 donation and we take as many pictures as they want with their phone. People have had a lot of fun with that one, some of them look really good like they were taken 100 years ago.”

The museum also has live music from Slopeside on July 5 from 2 to 6 p.m. and a performance from the Jason Lee Band on July 6 from 2 to 6 p.m.


Woodland Park

Celebrating the holiday in the “City  Above the Clouds” this year will be more fun than ever before with their two famous events taking place on the same day. In fact, this is the first time  this has occurred in recent history. The Old Fashioned Fourth of July celebration kicks the party off at 9 a.m. at the city’s Memorial Park.

Until 3 p.m. there will be food and drink vendors set up at the park. There will also be a packed lineup of entertainment and activities planned throughout the day.

Then starting at 5:30 p.m. the annual Symphony Above the Clouds will commence with the event occurring on July 4th instead of July 5th for the first time in its history that spans over decades. The Woodland Park Wind Symphony will be the headliner for the event that will take place at Memorial Park this year, instead of the Woodland Park Middle School.  This has been the site of the Symphony Above the Clouds for decades.


Green Mountain Falls

The Fourth of July is also celebrated in Green Mountain Falls as it lands smack dab in the middle of the town’s  annual Green Box Arts Festival. The festival that is packed with a variety of live music and theater, dance performances, art displays, hikes, classes, and community forums, runs from July 1-14.

But Independence Day is one of the prime days for the 16th annual festival.

On the Fourth, the day’s events start off at 8 a.m. with a hike with Friends Of Ute Pass Trails on the Catamount Trail. There will then be fitness court training at the Keith Haring Fitness Court from 9 to 11 a.m.

Also, at 9 a.m., there will be a hike with the Green Mountain Falls Fire Mitigation Committee at the HB Wallace Reserve. In addition, yoga training will occur at the Bear Crossing Studio from 9 to 10 a.m.

From 10 to 11:30 a.m., guided art walks occur at Green Box Farm Stand. The annual Mayor’s Forum then occurs at the Church in the Wildwood from noon to 1 p.m. This event typically attracts a huge crowd and hits on some big topics of concern.

The Fourth of July Pie Contest kicks off at 1:30 p.m. and it will be followed by The Ephrat “Bounce” Asherie Dance Masterclass from 3 to 4 p.m.

Then at 5 p.m. the Fourth of July Block Party begins with live music from the Stillhouse Junkies at the Green Box Farm Stand. Music will play until 10 p.m. with the water lantern launch starting at 9 p.m. This launch is accompanied by a number of patriotic tunes and even some past musical folk stars, such as Woody Guthrie.

For more information, visit the respective websites of the city of Cripple Creek, Woodland Park and that of the Green Box Arts Festival.