City of Steamboat exploring backup plan in case July 4th fireworks are a no-go | SteamboatToday.com

City of Steamboat exploring backup plan in case July 4th fireworks are a no-go

Fourth of July fireworks.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — With a dry and hot start to June and high wildfire risk in parts of Colorado, the city of Steamboat Springs has been working on a backup plan if it is too dry to launch July Fourth fireworks.

"The leaning from the fire chief at this point is no fireworks," City Manager Gary Suiter told Steamboat Springs City Council members Tuesday. "The long-term forecast shows maybe an afternoon shower later in the month."

When fireworks were canceled last July Fourth, the city was left without a backup plan, and city officials have been wanting to make plans for future years.

"It's not going to get any wetter," Steamboat councilwoman Robin Crossan said during Tuesday's council meeting.

Steamboat Fire Chief Mel Stewart said he could make a decision about fireworks as early as next week.

There is already a lot to do in Steamboat during the July Fourth holiday period, and the city budgets $30,000 each year for the fireworks show. The city is trying to put that money toward a laser light show instead, using a company based out of Las Vegas.

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"We still do not have a contract signed yet, and the price is going up because I bet they are getting other offers from other mountain communities," Suiter said.

There was talk of putting on a concert in place of the fireworks, but city officials did not think it was a good idea for this year.

Coleman Cook, a Steamboat Springs Free Summer Concert Series board member, looked into whether adding a July Fourth concert was feasible. Super Diamond, a Neil Diamond cover band, was available to perform.

Cook said putting on a July Fourth concert could be overwhelming for everyone involved this year because there are already free concerts planned for June 30 and July 7.

There was also the cost of an additional concert. Production would cost $30,000 and hiring the band would cost between $10,000 and $15,000.

As a nonprofit, the Steamboat Springs Free Summer Concert Series could not risk losing money, and there would likely need to be a revenue guarantee agreement with the city in case the concert did not generate enough revenue from concession sales.

Suiter said the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series also expressed concerns about a free concert because the July Fourth rodeo is their biggest rodeo of the year and a concert might hurt attendance.

"This is their biggest revenue night of the year," Suiter said.

Suiter said he considered having the concert after the rodeo, but that would meant the concert would potentially go until 11 p.m., and that would likely lead to complaints.

"I thought it might be better to have people disperse into our lovely downtown after the laser light show," Suiter said.

The city should find out about the laser light show soon.

Regardless of what the city decides to do, Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association CEO Kara Stoller said Steamboat is still offering a lot to do during the July Fourth holiday.

"People cannot walk away from July Fourth in Steamboat Springs and say they weren't entertained," Stoller said.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland.