Fireworks by ‘Gary;’ the show to end all shows |

Fireworks by ‘Gary;’ the show to end all shows

Jane Stebbins

I love a good fireworks display. That’s the reason I bring my daughter, Erin, to every celebration I can find featuring those colorful explosions overhead.Whether it’s the Fourth of July, New Year’s Eve, my friend Sam’s son’s bris, the opening of a new car dealership or May: Month of the Potato Chip, if there are fireworks, I am in attendance.So, it was with great excitement that I took Erin to a friend’s house on the Fourth to watch the pyrotechnic display over the town of Breckenridge.This was the first year in many that we haven’t had a fire ban, so the explosions started early – like 2:30 a.m. the night before. Erin and I were lawn camping – a warm-up for the real thing when the temperature finally bumps its way into double digits – and fireworks were snapping and cracking and flying all over the place. I felt like I was in Baghdad. It seemed everyone had run up to Wyoming (State Motto: We have wind!) to buy all the fireworks that are illegal in Colorado.You didn’t know fireworks are illegal in Colorado? Oh, yes. Anything that leaves the ground, goes “Boom!” or has any semblance of “fun” is not allowed in the Centennial State. That pretty much leaves sparklers, which are great fun for the 2- to 3-month age set. The older kids use them to light M-80s and Roman candles.

Only people with professional pyrotechnical expertise are allowed to light the fun stuff. So, there we were on the Fourth, mingling with friends and listening to the piddly little pops of firecrackers and peals of bottle rockets, running out onto the deck every time we thought the show might be beginning.It was a half-hour until blast off when we heard a boom that shook the rafters. Someone went to Wyoming and purchased the really expensive stock, we thought as we ran out onto the deck, taking out small children, dogs and a few houseplants in our paths.It wasn’t Breckenridge’s show, but someone I don’t know but whom I’ll call … Gary, lighting the big ones in the road below.He had three large tubes set up on the road and would drop something in each, light it and disappear into the shadows of the forest. A few seconds later, shrieks split the night air. My shrieks were followed by the shriek of rocketry speeding, spinning into the night and exploding in round colorful, sparkling globes.One, then another, then another.”Gary! Gary! Gary!” the kids chanted from the railing.”Shhhh! You don’t want to let the cops know where we are!” the adults whispered.

“Gary! Gary! Gary!” the kids chanted. Gary loaded up another round and sent squealing rockets into the sky. Explosions rent the blackness, lighting up the road, the forest, neighbors’ bedrooms.”Gary! Gary! Gary!” The kids, we deduced, were impressed.Gary reloaded and lighted the fireworks. Yellow sunflowers! Pink stars! Green clovers! It was beyond spectacular!Blue diamonds, white dandelions, orange marigolds – all exploded around us, each boom reverberating in our chests.”Where does he get this stuff?!” I said, incredulous.A little girl, backed by all six years of life experience she held, turned to me, rolled her eyes and replied, “He buys them.” She turned around to begin the “Gary!” chant again.Gary responded with three more fireworks explosions – one of which stopped an oncoming car in its tracks, another that summoned what we were sure was the fire department but ended up being a sheriff’s deputy, who overlooked our antics to ask us the whereabouts of an address.Gary’s show ended as the Breckenridge show began. It, too, was spectacular, with many more – and larger – explosions than Gary’s. The vast majority of them were green.

“They must have had a sale on green,” I said.”Gary had more than green,” the little girl in front of me stated. “He had yellow and white and pink and purple. And blue. Gary had blue.””That’s because Gary bought blue,” I said. She frowned at me, then left to join some other little girls at the other end of the deck.Breckenridge’s display, as usual, was fun to watch. It was just the right length, you could see it for miles around and it featured fireworks of all shapes and sizes, most of which were green.But somehow I wasn’t satisfied.I want in on this year’s Fourth of July secret. I want to know where Gary shops.Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having on our residents and businesses. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.

Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.

For tax deductible donations, click here.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User