Our View: The show must go on
June 9, 2012
We can't blame the city and local fire officials for their consideration of canceling this year's July Fourth fireworks display in downtown Steamboat Springs, but we hope any such move would be accompanied by an aggressive effort to replace the fireworks display with another community-minded celebration that holiday evening.
Steamboat Springs Fire Chief Mel Stewart told the Steamboat Springs City Council this week that he'll make his decision about the fate of the fireworks display within the next week or so. He acknowledged he is leaning toward canceling it. He would have good reason: Fire conditions throughout Northwest Colorado are extreme and appear to only be getting worse. Steamboat's impressive annual Fourth of July fireworks show is the envy of cities 10 times our size, but it also poses a serious risk of wildfire on Howelsen Hill and Emerald Mountain, where the show is based.
There's bound to be some disappointed residents and visitors if the fireworks display is called off, but the fact that Independence Day falls on a Wednesday this year might mean there are fewer guests in town to begin with. The 105th annual Cowboys' Round-Up Days Ranch Rodeo will be held the evening of July 4 at the Brent Romick Rodeo Arena, providing a good family-friendly option for folks in search of holiday entertainment.
But the rodeo alone isn't enough, and that's why the city immediately should get to work on a backup plan for evening entertainment. We have a suggestion: a community celebration at the Howelsen Hill amphitheater featuring local bands, food vendors and kids games and activities. A broad collaboration utilizing the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, Mainstreet Steamboat Springs, the city, the county, Routt County Riders, the Steamboat Springs Arts Council and other interested groups, businesses and individuals actually might be able to pull off a last-minute, fireworks-free celebration.
Such an event might not drive destination tourism, but it could bring the community together to celebrate that patriotic intent of the holiday. And it probably could be pulled off without a significant financial investment.