Tenth Mountain Division to be part of July 4 events
BRECKENRIDGE – Breckenridge’s Fourth of July activities will be a little different than in the past, primarily because of the dissolution of the volunteer organization that hosted the events.
Wednesday night, volunteers with the Red, White and Blue fire department agreed to disband the nonprofit volunteer arm as the department has almost completed its transition from a volunteer to a paid organization.
But the volunteers have long sponsored the Fourth of July food and beer sales and kids’ games – events that now will fall to Hearthstone Catering and the Breckenridge Resort Chamber.
The fire department will still drive fire trucks in the parade and organize the popular water fights, but it will no longer serve beer and food or hold kids’ games.
The new organizers will set up a food and beer garden on Washington Street; the annual Firecracker 40 bike race will lead the parade before heading up into the hills; the Breckenridge Resort Chamber will hold kids’ games in the Blue River Plaza; musicians will play at the Riverwalk Center; and 20 to 30 Dodge Vipers will park their sports cars along the 100 block of South Main Street to “show and shine.” Fireworks at the end of the day will be launched from Peak 9.
The parade, which attracts thousands of people to Main Street, also will continue – with a few twists.
One addition this year is the the 10th Mountain Division Colorado ski troopers, who will bring up the rear of the parade and unveil a monument at the south end of the Riverwalk parking lot.
The Army’s 10th Mountain Division trained in the high-altitude terrain at Camp Hale near Leadville before heading to Italy in World War II. Almost 200 were killed in action.
The dedication of the monument is the culmination of more than four years’ work for Don and Marietta Carlson, who have raised thousands of dollars – at one point, taking out a second mortgage on their home – to pay for the design and creation of a bronze statue of a ski trooper. The cost of the monument – including four design changes – was $90,000.
Don Carlson trained with the division for the Korean War, and the monument will honor those who fought in WWII.
“I have a lot of feeling for them,” Don said. “I know most of the guys, and I wanted to honor them.”
The statue of the trooper arrived from New York earlier this month and was erected on a 50-ton boulder. The monument will be dedicated after the parade.
A Jeep with a ski trooper banner and flags will head the 10th Mountain Division’s procession. the U.S. Army Color Guard will follow, then a 21-Gun Salute Team, a platoon of 20 men, two Humvees, the 10th’s division banner, color guard and a group of about 50 World War II veterans. They will be followed by a “living history group,” about 50 descendents of the 10th Mountain Division families and Breckenridge Elementary School students.
When the trooper statue is unveiled, helicopters from the Colorado Air National Guard will fly over the area and dip their noses in a salute to the monument.
Also in attendance will be retired Four-Star General William Crouch of Breckenridge; 10th Mountain Light Division Sgt. Vincent Donald of Fort Drum, N.Y.; 10th Special Forces Sgt. First Class Michael Joyce of Fort Carson in Colorado Springs; and sculptor Rob Eccleston.
Marietta Carlson said she’s excited for the event to unfold.
“There were times when it was getting discouraging, but it’s a week from tomorrow,” she said. “I can’t believe it.”
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.
Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User