Telluride’s Fourth of July: Small Town, Big Happenings

Telluride’s Fourth of July: Small Town, Big Happenings

For details of the holiday week and a few great recipes, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the hot links.

The Fourth of July in Telluride:

T-ride-4th-of-JulySpectacular fireworks – well maybe not so much this year due to the fire hazard – floats, flyovers, a public BBQ, and an outdoor Impressionist art show top the list of reasons why Telluride on the Fourth of July is one unforgettable experience. And should you be hanging around our box canyon to mark Independence Day in America, please be sure to thank two very special ladies for initiating all the fun and games: Joyce Allred and Shari Flatt, women who can move and shake with the best of them.

The backstory on the national holiday:

The original resolution calling for the Continental Congress to declare the United States free from British rule was introduced by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia on June 7, 1776. Three days later, a committee headed by Thomas Jefferson was appointed to prepare a document appropriate to the cause.

The Declaration of Independence was adopted by Congress on July 4, although the resolution that led to its writing had been approved two days earlier, prompting President James Adams to say:

“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, fun, bells, bonfires and illumination from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more.” (From “John Adams” by David McCullough.)

Apart from slipping two days on the calendar to July 4, a ho-hum day back in Adams’ time, his vision became tradition: the Fourth of July became a big birthday party our nation throws for itself.

More on Telluride’s Fourth:

In Telluride that tradition, which began in the 1880s, had gotten out of control some time in the early 1970s, when town was populated by miners, cowboys and hippies. The initial response to the derring-do was to cancel the Fourth of July party until further notice. When the holiday was reinstated on the summer calendar a year or two later, the main event was a BBQ and fireworks sponsored by the Telluride Volunteer Fire Department. Period.

Enter the aforementioned Joyce and Shari, who had moved to town in the 1970s and 1980s respectively. (Joyce came kicking and screaming with husband Ron, who transformed the ski mountain.)

In 1989, thanks to the efforts of that dynamic duo, the parade returned to its past glory. Now almost everyone in the region participates.

“If it weren’t for the tourists, there might be no spectators at all, ” explains Joyce.

For Joyce and Shari highlights of the Fourth of July include convincing then General Norman Schwarzkopf, once a part-time Telluride local, to address the color guard. The flyovers. All the veterans carrying flags. The Rauncherettes. (We wish they’d come back.) Men Without Rhythm. Kids. Dogs. Wagons. Bikes.
It’s a scene straight out of Norman Rockwell.

What’s happening this year on and around Fourth:

Noon on Tuesday, July 2,  the Wilkinson Public Library hosts its first Books & Cooks of the week. Tracy Sherwood, pastry chef at La Marmotte is featured on the library’s terrace. She is making panna cotta with berry sauce topped off with a Florentine cookie, a nice, light summery Italian dessert.

Later that afternoon, Telluride Arts hosts a special holiday edition of Art Walk, the monthly walk about town to showcase local, regional, even international talent with ties to Telluride. Venues stay open late until 8 p.m.

Also that evening, the Palm Theatre hosts two sneak peek screenings (the national release is July 3) of what could be the blockbuster of the summer, “The Lone Ranger,” 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.

(See related post for a preview what’s in store at Art Walk, including major shows at the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art and the Ah Haa School.)

On Wednesday, July 3, 1 p.m. in Mountain Village, the special Red, White & Blue holiday edition of Books & Cooks features Chef Lisa Dahl, executive chef and owner of Dahl & Di Luca Ristorante Italiano and Cucina Rustica in Sedona and author of the award-winning cookbook. “Elixir of Life.” Lisa plans to prepare gazpacho shooters with a Mediterranean summer plate, tabouli, with a luscious lemon-infused humus and kalamata tapenade on a crostini.

(See related Books & Cooks post for further details.)

On July 3 and July 4 (before and after the big parade), the Sheridan Arts Foundation hosts is annual Plein Air exhibition and sale, featuring the work of the 29 artists who have been in town painting all week.

The free Red, White & Blue Concert series opens in Mountain Village and features Dumpstaphunk on Sunset Plaza. Later that evening, Steve Gumble Productions and Blues & Brews features Portugal. The Man in concert at the Telluride Conference Center, 8 p.m.

(See related post for details about Telluride Plein Air and Portugal. The Man.)

The Fourth of July celebration itself kicks off with the Rundola, the Telluride Foundation‘s foot race, which starts at 8 a.m. That is followed by the big parade, 11 p.m. and fireman’s bbq.

Take your best shot on the Fourth to enter The Hot Shot Photography Contest. Top winner takes home $500.  (See related post for details.)

Friday, July 5,The Peaks Resort & Spa is hosting an afternoon of music featuring the Hillstompers, an all-you-can-eat buffet, and family fun. The event takes place 2 – 6 p.m. Music starts at 4 p.m. Drink specials all night long.

Mountainfilm in Telluride hosts its annual July fundraiser at the Palm Theater. The featured film, “Maidentrip,” won the Director’s Award. Showtime is 8 p.m.

The week ends Saturday, July 6, with events uptown and downtown.

The Telluride Historical Museum hosts “1873 – 1913: A Centennial Celebration of Telluride’s Early Years,” 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., Oak Street Park. The free events celebrates the centennial celebration of Telluride’s most significant period of growth, which ended in 1913 with the opening of the historic Sheridan Opera House. Bring the entire family for a fun day in the park with The Jewel Tones, 1920s-themed activities including a pie-eating contest, a speakeasy bar, kid friendly ginger beer, and free cake for everyone! (Presented in partnership with the Town of Telluride and the historic Sheridan Opera House.)

Hotel Madeline hosts artist Sarah Eyestone in a review of the hotel art, which she curates, 5 – 6 p.m.

The bash at the historic Sheridan Opera House celebrates the launch of the historic venue’s centennial year. The Speakeasy Gala which includes music, dancing and games of chance begins at 7 p.m. Costumes recommended, though not required.

A few great recipes to sweeten up your Fourth from Marla Meridith, founder, photographer & editor of the popular food and lifestyle blog, Family Fresh Cooking.

A chocolate pancake layer cake, gluten free

20 more Red, White and Blue spectacular desserts

Berry Bliss rocket pops


1 Comment
  • marla
    Posted at 06:29h, 01 July

    Wow!! We have soooo much FUN going on this week 🙂