Telluride Fourth Of July Is Thanks To Volunteer Fire Department

[To hear Paul Dujardin’s conversation with Susan, click “Play”]

BIT fire, fixing hose
Volunteer Firemen, BIT fire

In a matter of speaking, President John Adams may be the man responsible for Telluride’s Fourth of July celebration. In a letter to his wife Abigail written July 3, 1776, Adams wrote:

  “The second day of July 1776 will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the Day of Deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, funs, bells, bonfires, and illumination from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more.”

Apart from slipping two days on the calendar to July Fourth, a ho-hum day back in Adams’ time, his vision became a national tradition. But it is the men and women of Telluride’s Volunteer Fire Department that make it all happen the one big day in summer when the whole town is on fire – metaphorically speaking.

In Telluride, the Fourth of July tradition began in the 1880s, but spun way out of control some time in the early 1970s. Town had to cancel the event until further notice. When the Independence Day holiday was reinstated on the summer calendar a year or two later, the main events were a barbeque and fireworks sponsored by the Telluride Volunteer Fire Department.

IMG_3605 Today, Telluride’s Fire Department participates in the town parade with fire trucks and The Whistlers (11 a.m. – noon down Main Street).

Its volunteers buy, cook and serve a traditional BBQ with beef, chicken, corn and beans, and watermelon for over 2,500 people.

“The beef gets dipped in John Micetic’s secret sauce, then it is coated in flour and water, a mixture that looks a lot like Elmer’s glue. One night,” explained District Director John Bennett, “the process got way out of hand and we all looked as it a giant condor had taken a monumental dump on our heads.”

Telluride’s Volunteer Fire Department also puts on the best fireworks in Colorado and because they are trained and licensed to put on a fireworks display, Telluride saves the usual cost of hiring an outside firm.

Telluride’s Fourth of July is the Telluride Volunteer Fire Department’s only public fundraiser. If you are unclear as to why it is imperative to support the team, here’s one startling face: last year, 45 firefighters – 41 men and four women, all professionally trained and unpaid – made 809 fire, rescue and ambulance calls. Here’s another: Replacing these dedicated and highly trained professional volunteers with paid firefighters would certainly add over $1,000,000 annual cost for local taxpayers.

Click the “play” button and listen to volunteer firefighter Paul Dujardin to learn more about Telluride firefighters.

(Clint Viebrock photos)

Comments are closed.