Summit County residents share what makes these communities special during Fourth of July festivities
FRISCO — Hundreds of spectators decked out in red, white and blue lined Main Street in Frisco on Thursday morning to celebrate the 243rd birthday of the United States of America.
The Fourth of July was celebrated in Frisco and across Summit County with parades, barbecues and even skiing at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, where the season had been extended several times due to an incredible snowpack this year.
This year’s wet spring and summer had revelers and first responders much more at ease than they were last Independence Day, when a Stage 2 fire ban was in effect and megafires raged across the West.
At the parade in Frisco, dozens of floats crawled from Madison Avenue to the marina, featuring many of the county’s most well-known faces, including Mayor Gary Wilkinson, who is serving his 12th and final year as mayor, along with parade grand marshals and prominent Frisco residents Rick and Judy Amico.
Wilkinson, donning a blue revolutionary soldier overcoat with a tricorn atop a white wig in homage to the nation’s first president, manned the helm of a raft in Washington’s pose on the Delaware for the Frisco Town Council’s float near the front of the parade. He said he was proud to serve the town over the past dozen years.
“It’s been a great experience,” Wilkinson said. “We saw the town come out of the Great Recession when I was elected in 2008, and we overcame it, moving forward on the Peak One neighborhood, Basecamp project and the Frisco Adventure Park.”
Wilkinson also offered some sage advice for his successors.
“Honor what Frisco is, what the community it is,” Wilkinson said. “Honor our sense of place, respect our environment and try to tackle some of our bigger issues, such as housing.”
Also seen at the parade were classic cars, a horde of jeeps and associated enthusiasts, first responders throwing candy at crowds out windows of emergency vehicles, throngs of kids cruising with custom-decorated bikes, big and little horses, gymnasts, jugglers, stilt walkers, a 75-member marching band from Minnesota, and dozens of floats from local businesses, government agencies, nonprofits and advocacy groups.
Among the participants were members of the U.S. Forest Service manning a couple of seafoam green vehicles, including a fire response truck. The Forest Service, which manages the vast majority of land in Summit County, also is charged with ensuring forest health to prevent wildfires.
Dillon district ranger Bill Jackson said the difference from last year’s dry summer was stark, but not enough to drop our guard on wildfire.
“Fire danger is not as bad as a year ago, but it doesn’t take a lot to start a fire with warm days and a lot of sun to dry things out quickly,” Jackson said.
Jackson added that anyone out camping this holiday weekend should triple-check to ensure their campfires are out — taking out fuel, pouring water and mixing in dirt until the heat is safely extinguished.
Jackson also put the Forest Service in context as stewards of some of America’s most precious natural resources: its forests and wilderness.
“One of the unique things of the United States is this concept of public lands,” Jackson said. “It’s a very American tradition to have public lands where people can go out, camp and hunt and hike and ski. We’re proud to be the steward of those lands.”
Also participating in the parade were employees and associates of Next Page Books & Nosh, an independent bookstore in Frisco. Their float came in the form of a big, blue truck named Huckleberry, a 1972 Ford F-100 that still gets it done, despite having an odometer that never got past 276,000 miles.
The Next Page floatees also dressed in stripes, promoting the town of Frisco’s “Where’s Waldo?” scavenger hunt this month. The event has kids picking up their own Where’s Waldo “passport” book at Next Page, and then hunting for Waldo at the area’s local businesses with the possibility of winning a grand prize during a drawing at the end of the month.
Jo-Anne Tyson, spokesperson for Next Page, reflected on Independence Day and how Frisco is a place that represents much of what makes America unique.
“We are all transplants here in Frisco,” Tyson said. “We’ve branched out from the home cities and states we love because of our passions and hobbies. People in Frisco and all over Colorado promote that.”
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