GUNNISON-CRESTED BUTTE, COLORADO
— The Fourth of July is not just another day in Gunnison-Crested Butte, Colo. It is a day to salute our country, breathe in the fresh mountain air, and enjoy red-white-and blue fun. The merriment includes a firehouse pancake breakfast, one-third marathon (run, walk or crawl!), parade, food vendors, old-fashioned games, live music, block parties and, of course, fireworks.
Crested Butte Fire & EMS Department Pancake Breakfast
, 7 – 10 a.m.
Start out the Fourth of July on a hearty note with flapjacks prepared by Crested Butte's volunteer fire department and emergency medical services teams. Pull up a chair at the Crested Butte Fire Station's pump room, 3rd Street and Elk Avenue, and dig in for all-you-can-eat pancakes, sausage, juice and coffee. Rides in a fire truck "cherry picker" are available for a donation, and kids play with sidewalk chalk or finger paint while waiting for their breakfast. For more information and costs, contact Lynn Moore at (970) 349-1108.
40th Annual Gothic to Crested Butte Run, Walk or Crawl 1/3 Marathon
, 8 a.m.
This longtime Independence Day favorite, organized by Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory (RMBL) begins at 8 a.m. in Gothic. The racecourse winds through aspen woods and meadows to Mt. Crested Butte, travels past the ski resort, and ends on Elk Avenue in downtown Crested Butte. Shuttle buses from Crested Butte will transport all participants to the starting line in Gothic.
Pre-registration will be available on July 3 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Crested Butte Visitor Center located at the intersections of Elk Avenue and Sixth Street. On the day of event, registrations will be accepted from 6 to 7 a.m. at the Visitor Center only if the cap of 500 runners has not been met. The pre-registration cost is $25 for ages 12 and up and $5 for children ages 11 and under. Day-of-race registration is $30 for ages 12 and up and $5 for children ages 11 and under.
The race is a fundraiser for the nonprofit RMBL. For more information, contact RMBL at (970) 349-7231 or visit
Parade & Afternoon Fun
, 11 a.m.
Crested Butte, a town of 1,500 knows how to throw a parade. Mardi Gras, Flauschink (annual flushing out of winter to welcome spring) and Independence Day marks parade time in Crested Butte, with July 4th being the granddaddy.
Expect funky, fun and good-natured laughter as people line Crested Butte's Elk Avenue about three deep to take in the sights. Crested Butte Mayor Alan Bernholtz and friends are known for creating floats that wow the crowd with action such as costumed characters skiing down a water slide through a ring of fire, zooming down a zipline or flying over a dirt hill on mountain bikes. Scientists, staff and friends of Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory also have built a reputation for wearing outfits created from skunk cabbage leaves, which grow prolifically near the laboratory's facilities in nearby Gothic.
New to the parade is a "green" section, open only to non-motorized entries and coordinated in conjunction with the Office of Resource of Efficiency (ORE). Last year, ORE pulled its float using people power. If getting wet isn't your idea of fun, stay away from the first block of Elk Avenue because after the parade it turns into the Wet Zone for a big water fight.
Stick around after the parade as the old-fashiioned fun continues along a section of Elk Avenue with a food court featuring local specialties, live music and Crested Butte classics like the log saw competition, pie eating contest, three-legged race and more. Anyone is invited to participate, and there will be prizes for the winner of each activity. Crested Butte's one-of-a-kind, locally-owned shops and restaurants also will be open for the day.
Groups and individuals interested in participating in the parade or the festivities mentioned above should contact the Crested Butte-Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce for more information at (970) 349-6438.
Patriotic Big Band Concert – Crested Butte
, July 4, 4 p.m.
A free big band concert will be held at 4 p.m. on the Crested Butte Center for the Arts' outdoor stage. The University of North Texas - College of Music and the Crested Butte Music Festival present a 13-piece band and vocalist to celebrate Independence Day. Bring lawn chairs, blankets and picnics for an evening of red-white-and-blue fun sponsored by Community Banks of Colorado - Crested Butte. For more information, contact Crested Butte Music Festival at (970) 349-0619 or visit
. The festival runs from July 4 – 31.
The fireworks can be viewed from various places in Crested Butte, including Town Park next to Crested Butte Center for the Arts. The launching point is nearby Town Ranch. The fireworks display is made possible by the Town of Crested Butte, Town of Mt. Crested Butte, Crested Butte Fire Protection District, Crested Butte-Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce, and area businesses and residents. For more information, contact the Crested Butte-Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce at (970) 349-6438.
Gunnison Rotary's 4th of July Festiva
Thousands of locals and visitors make the annual pilgrimage to the Gunnison Rotary Club's Independence Day Fireworks Extravaganza, which includes a block party that kicks off in the afternoon. The Gunnison Rotary Club has sponsored the fireworks for 57 years, raising funds for college scholarships and local charitable causes.
The celebration begins in IOOF Park in downtown, where bike/skateboard/scooter decorating and other activities for kids begin at 2 p.m. The kids will form a bike procession and travel to Jorgensen Park to kick off a block party at 3 p.m.
Spread out the blankets and fold out the chairs to dine on tasty treats from food booths and take part in the many activities for kids and adults, including carnival games, large inflatables, music and more. Bands that will keep the festivities hopping include Half Aspen from Penrose, James and the Devil from Denver, Russ Chapman from Paonia and Boulder Acoustic Society from Boulder.
The official Independence Day program will begin at 8:30 p.m., with the presentation of the flag by the Boy Scouts, singing of the Star Spangled Banner, color guard and recognition of veterans in attendance. The fireworks will launch at dusk, with donations accepted to help cover costs and raise money for Rotary projects. For more information, contact Don Wills at (970) 641-7668.