The Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club put on a great show during the parade, with candy tossing to the eager crowd.
CUTS (all photo credits go to Joshua Sukoff/Special to the Aspen Daily News)
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Alexandra Jerkunica, co-founder of Coredination and Bonedale Ballet with her husband Anthony, smiles for the camera with her white cape billowing in the wind during the 4th of July parade in Aspen.
The Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club put on a great show during the parade, with candy tossing to the eager crowd. Joshua Sukoff / Special for Aspen Daily News
A woman sporting an Uncle Sam outfit is particularly popular with children who came to watch the parade. Joshua Sukoff / Special for Aspen Daily News
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In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of John Denver’s hit song ‘Rocky Mountain High’, a man is ‘paragliding’ down Galena Street, with the help of a bright yellow Jeep. Joshua Sukoff / Special for Aspen Daily News
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A girl waves her little flag while donning red, white and blue on the back of a truck during the 4th of July parade in Aspen. Joshua Sukoff / Special for Aspen Daily News
A throwback to the days of steam, powered by Carl’s Pharmacy and the Miner’s Building, draws cheers from passers-by during Monday’s festivities.
Joshua Sukoff / Special for Aspen Daily News
4th of July Parade, Community Village draws large crowds to Aspen
Independence Day celebrations mix the old, the new
The community village provided food, games and fun for all ages
“I think over the years they’ve always done the parade, but this, for us, is a better setup in the village to be more interactive and get more kids doing stuff and trying hockey and to put a stick in their hands.”
Executive Director Aspen Junior Hockey
By Megan Webber
Aspen Daily News Staff Editor
Downtown Aspen was buzzing Monday as smiling crowds gathered for the July 4 parade and a full day of festivities.
After two years of pandemic disruption, the old-fashioned parade along the traditional route through downtown Aspen stole the show. Led by Grand Marshal Joe Zanin, the parade featured dozens of local organizations, businesses and nonprofits. Some parade participants threw candy to the crowd or turned on their lights and sirens, while others hosed down observers with hoses and water guns. Six groups won awards in the catwalk categories, which were judged by the Commercial Core and Lodging Commission.
“It was exciting to see our traditional parade return after missing it in its usual form during the pandemic,” CCLC President Jeb Ball said in a City of Aspen press release. “There were so many fantastic entries that it made our job as judges particularly difficult to limit ourselves to a few winners. In our eyes, everyone who entered this year made the event a success.
Valley Vets won the “Most Patriotic” award and Carl’s Pharmacy and Miner’s Building Steam Calliope won the “Most Historic” award. Aspen’s David Dyer played calliope on a flatbed truck to signal the end of the parade.
Kids on Bikes, which had enough kids on bikes to create their own mini-parade, won the ‘community spirit’ award and Aspen Mountain Rescue won ‘community service’. Aspen Gymnastics won ‘best performance’ and Elk Mountain Aspen Rafting, which was tasked with dozing off half the crowd with water guns from the top of a pile of rafts, won ‘most creative’.
In addition to the parade, the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Folklorico and students from the Aspen Music Festival and School performed near Wagner Park. Aspen Valley Ski Club also served its famous BBQ lunch in Koch Park. The “Community Village,” which was brought back after a successful stationary parade last year, featured interactive booths from local businesses and organizations.
The community village allowed participants to learn about local organizations, source food, play games and get involved. From voter registration to decorating kites, the village had something for all ages.
“I think – over the years they’ve always done the parade – but this, for us, is a better facility in the village, to be more interactive and get more kids doing stuff and trying hockey and put a stick in their hands,” said Harlan Pratt, general manager of Aspen Junior Hockey. “It was awesome.”
The Aspen Leafs stand has been set up with a fenced-in area for kids to practice throwing pucks into a net or trying table hockey, which is almost like foosball. The Leafs also handed out snow cones, t-shirts, stickers and other merchandise which continued to draw crowds throughout the early afternoon. Pratt said with the Colorado Avalanche’s recent win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Colorado hockey is an exciting place for kids right now and he hopes to see a lot of young people interested in participating in the Leafs summer skills camp. July 8, 15 and 22 at the Aspen Ice Garden. More information can be found at aspenjuniorhockey.com.
“Hopefully it will open more people’s eyes to try hockey and start getting involved, and that’s what we want to do,” Pratt said. “It’s prevalent across the state as a community for hockey, so I think it’s great to see – and hopefully it only grows for us here too. If that happens, then that’s a bonus for us.
Across the street, the Aspen Community Theater hosted a booth where kids could decorate kites and check out ACT’s upcoming production of “Mary Poppins.” Auditions will take place August 19-21, rehearsals begin September 12, and performances will take place November 4-6 and November 11-13. All roles will be doubled and ACT is also looking for adult volunteers to help with sets, stage management and other behind-the-scenes duties. Applications for backstage roles and more information on auditions can be found at aspencommunitytheatre.org/auditions.
“We really want to get everyone excited and fill the seats,” said ACT board member Laurel Fox. “‘Mary Poppins’ is going to include kids and a lot of great people from the community. We need helpers. We’re super excited about it.
Voluntary organizations like the Rotary Club of Aspen and AssistUkraine also maintained booths in the village. Heinz Coordes and Art Davidson, who launched Help Ukraine along with former National Public Radio correspondent Anne Garrels in February, have delivered medical supplies, hot weather gear and defensive gear to those in need in Ukraine since the Russian invasion began on February 24. In April, the group told the Aspen Daily News that they needed more donations to help buy body armor for Ukrainian soldiers.
On Monday, Davidson said they weren’t raising a lot of money at the booth, but were focusing more on meetups and spreading the word to keep donations flowing.
“We are incredibly grateful for the support and we must continue to do all we can,” he said. “It’s a difficult situation, but we continue to do our best. Our support goes directly to the community defending their country. Directly to them.
AssistUkraine is still accepting donations to assist-ukraine.org. Proceeds go directly to purchasing supplies to deliver to those in need in affected areas of Ukraine and Eastern Europe. Donors will receive a message from Assist Ukraine shortly after their donation.
The community village ended at 2 p.m. and a laser light show, after the press deadline, at Wagner Park was scheduled for after dark.
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