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Over 1,000 pack into downtown Durango for first city fireworks show since 2019

Independence Day marks third year of city’s ‘Four Days of the Fourth’
Durango celebrated the Fourth of July on Thursday night with fireworks for the first time since 2019. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

For the first time since 2019, fireworks lit up the sky on Independence Day in Durango.

Durango community events administrator Ellen Babers said the spectacle, which was much anticipated by residents, went well.

“I was really pleased with the fireworks,” she said. “They went higher than we thought they were going to.”

The show itself was handled by Zambelli Fireworks, which Durango budgeted $35,000 to host the Independence Day display. The fireworks were launched over 400 feet into the air.

The fireworks launched from the Durango Off-Leash Dog Park at Smelter Mountain, southwest from downtown Durango. Over 1,000 people gathered downtown at the Durango Transit Center where The Motet, a Denver-based American funk, soul and jazz group, and Durango band Desert Child performed live.

The launch point is a break from Durango’s tradition of launching fireworks from Greenmount Cemetery, which is higher in elevation than the dog park. However, people were mostly just excited to have fireworks after years of drought, Babers said.

People cheered as fireworks shot off, dancing to patriotic songs like Miley Cyrus’s “Party in the U.S.A.” and a rock 'n' roll version of the “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Babers said an exact head count was difficult to obtain with all the commotion, but she estimated between 1,200 and 1,400 people were at the transit center before the pyrotechnics commenced.

More people were parked on Cemetery Road leading to Greenmount Cemetery and Rim Drive along the eastern side of Fort Lewis College, which had elevated views ideal for watching the fireworks. Their vehicle headlights and taillights revealed their presence.

Thursday morning at Rotary Park, the Rotary Club of Durango’s All-American Gourmet Breakfast and the Freedom 5K Run, Stroll & Walk received impressive turnout compared to previous years.

Babers said about 430 people attended the joint events, nearly double the turnout of about 225 people in 2023.

This Independence Day marks the third year the city has promoted “Four Days of the Fourth,” a series of contests and events, including the fireworks. The series is designed to make Durango the place to be for holiday celebrations.

Babers said the fireworks were a big part of getting people to stay in town instead of traveling to Silverton, Bayfield or Pagosa Springs for fireworks.

The winners of the Stars and Stripes Parade on Main Avenue, which occurred Thursday night, were the Victorians Pontoon boat and Boxing floats, parade organizer Ryan Simonovich said.

Babers said the weather leading up to and on Independence Day was great and allowed festivities to go off without a hitch.

On June 27, the city announced Durango Fire Protection District had approved fireworks, crediting recent rains with favorable conditions.

cburney@durangoherald.com



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