Abraham Lincoln (John Voehl) sits in the Presidents Tent a short while before he gave the Gettysburg Address at the Old Fashioned July 4th Celebration at the Four Mile Historic Park. (Denver Post file)
If there’s one thing most of us can agree upon right now, it’s that the Fourth of July is best spent outside.
But with varying weather and drought conditions in the metro area, all fireworks displays and outdoor parties are not created (or celebrated) equal. There are still plenty of traditional, large-scale displays planned for the coming days — including the July 4 holiday, which this year falls on a Wednesday — but there are different fire restrictions depending on the city. And this year, many law enforcement officials aren’t taking any chances.
Here’s our annual roundup of displays and fireworks bans. All of the following events are free, all-ages, open to the public and weather-permitting unless otherwise noted.
As a rule of thumb, plan to leave your pets, booze and weapons at home, and be sure to bring your lawn chairs, blankets and bug spray.
The city’s Independence Day fireworks display returns to Stenger Sports Complex (entry at West 58th Avenue and Oak Street) starting at 9 p.m. on July 4 — minus the food trucks and live entertainment that have marked past years. Organizers cited a lack of volunteers, too little parking, conflicts with the surrounding neighborhood and other issues in “focusing on the core of the holiday.” Gates open at 7 p.m. for those looking for the best possible viewing spot. arvadafestivals.com
Outside of this official display, all fireworks are illegal within city limits (even sparklers) and fines can run up to $1,000 per infraction. Call the non-emergency 720-898-6919 line to report fireworks use.
The Aurora Municipal Center’s Great Lawn will host the city’s “Fourth of July Spectacular,” a 6-10 p.m. event on July 4 featuring music, food, adult beverages and a fireworks display at 15151 E. Alameda Parkway. The RTD R-Line (and Aurora Metro Station) is walking distance from the event site. auroragov.org
Due to dry conditions and public safety concerns, Aurora Fire Chief Fernando M. Gray Sr. earlier this month issued an indefinite ban on the sale and use of fireworks within city limits. Residents can call 303-627-3100 for non-emergency police and fire reports.
Ralphie’s Independence Day Blast, a Boulder tradition since 1941, features 8:30 p.m. entertainment followed by fireworks at about 9:40 p.m. All events on July 4 are at the University of Colorado’s Folsom Field, 2400 Colorado Ave. Free shuttles run from downtown and the Twenty Ninth Street mall beginning at 7:30 p.m. bouldercoloradousa.com
Call 303-441-3333 to report illegal fireworks in Boulder.
A concert and fireworks display will take over Carmichael Park, located just behind Brighton City Hall at 500 S. 4th Ave., with entertainment from DJ Tidalwave starting at 5 p.m., and headliner Soul School at 7 p.m. Offerings — including kid’s activities and food — run 4-10 p.m. July 4, with fireworks around 9:45 p.m. brightonco.gov/817/4th-of-july
Unlike many municipalities, Brighton allows limited fireworks use (sparklers, fountains, smoke bombs, ground spinners) but maintains a ban on anything that flies through the air, explodes or emits flames. Call the non-emergency dispatch line at 303-288-1535 to report illegal fireworks in Brighton, Northglenn and Adams County.
Broomfield’s Great American Picnic kicks off at 5:30 p.m. July 4 in Broomfield County Commons Park, 280 Spader Way, and includes a children’s carnival ($3-$8 for pony rides and “inflatables”) and the 11th annual all-ages bike parade (note: kids are required to wear a helmet, so be sure to bring one if you’re riding). Live music starting at 6 p.m. will lead into 9:30 fireworks. Limited parking on-site and additional parking available at Legacy High School, with shuttles available from 5 to 11 p.m. broomfield.org/611/great-american-picnic
Call 303-438-6400 to report illegal fireworks in Broomfield.
While there won’t be any festivals, car shows or food trucks supporting Castle Rock’s 9:30 p.m. fireworks show on July 4 — situated on the top of Santa Fe Quarry butte above Red Hawk Golf Course — the elevation of the display makes for great viewing nearly anywhere in town.
Call 303-663-6100 to report illegal fireworks use in Castle Rock.
You don’t need to buy a ticket to the Colorado Rapids game July 4 to get a view of the 9:30 p.m. fireworks display at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park (which follows the game against the Seattle Sounders). It’s billed as the state’s largest and come as part of Commerce City’s 23rd annual 4th Fest, a free, family-friendly event (outside of Burgundy Boulevard) with karaoke, trampolines, disc golf, human hamster balls, live music, food and drink and other diversions. Game and main events at 6000 Victory Way. 5-9 p.m. coloradorapids.com
All fireworks are banned in Commerce City, with fines increased to $500 for the first offense and $750 for each subsequent offense.Call 303-288-1535 to report illegal fireworks in Commerce City.
The annual Independence Eve celebration at Civic Center offers first-come, first-served lawn seating for its free concert (i.e. blankets and chairs) with live music from Chris Daniels and the Kings and the 101st Army Band of the Colorado National Guard, a City and County Building light show and the 8 p.m. fireworks display on Tuesday, July 3. Get there early when grounds open at 4 p.m. for food trucks, wine and beer (civiccenterconservancy.org). On the other side of downtown, The Colorado Rockies will finish their July 3 home game with fireworks at Coors Field. A day later, Elitch Gardens will offer a dusk fireworks display on July 4 visible from the surrounding areas, while the Denver Outlaws game at Mile High Stadium (against the Boston Cannons) on July 4 will also be followed by fireworks. denver.org
Call 720-913-2000 to report illegal fireworks use in Denver.
The city’s family-friendly July 4 event, starting at 3 p.m., spans Belleview and Cornerstone parks in conjunction with the cities of Littleton and Sheridan. It will feature kid’s activities, food trucks, live music from Dragondeer (7 p.m.) and fireworks at 9:30 p.m. englewoodgov.org
Call 303-761-7410 to report illegal fireworks in Englewood.
For those looking to get more than one fireworks display in the bag a day early, the Erie-Vista Extravaganza also takes place July 3 at Colorado National Golf Club, 2700 Vista Parkway on the north side of Highway 7. Grounds open at 5 p.m. with food vendors, a beer tent, activities for kids and music; fireworks begin between 9:30 and 10 p.m. erieco.gov
Call Boulder County Dispatch at 303-441-4444 to report illegal fireworks in Erie.
Lions Park Ballfields play host to this city’s 9:30 p.m. fireworks display July 4, which is more vulnerable to wind-related cancellation based on Golden’s proximity to open spaces. (Don’t worry: If it’s canceled it will be rescheduled.) A noon-11 p.m. festival leads up to the display with rides, face painting, live music and food/drinks. 1300 10th St. visitgolden.com/4th-of-july
Call 303-384-8045 to report illegal fireworks in Golden.
Four Mile Historic Park makes for a cozy — and early — Independence Day celebration on Monday, July 2, with old-time games and historic demonstrations as well as “the new-found joys of food trucks, a beer garden and a viewing of the Glendale fireworks show after dark,” according to the city’s website. Admission is free, with donations suggested. 5-10 p.m. at 715 S. Forest St. fourmilepark.org/events
Call 303-759-1511 to report illegal fireworks in Glendale.
GREEN VALLEY RANCH
If you’re anywhere near this northeast Denver suburb on July 4, Green Valley Ranch will host a 6-10 p.m. event with live music, adult beverages and food, a free kid’s zone and shuttle service to Green Valley Ranch Golf Club (where parking will not be allowed). Fireworks at 9:35 p.m. See gvrcoconcerts.com/july-4-event for a map of shuttle pick-up and drop-off locations.
Call 720-913-2000 to report illegal fireworks use in Denver.
The celebration at Highland Heritage Park begins at 4 p.m. on July 4, including kid’s attractions such as balloon twisters, face painters, games and inflatables, plus live music, food trucks and fireworks at 9:30 p.m. Biker Jim’s is also sponsoring a hot dog-eating contest at 5:30 for adventurous (foolhardy?) frank-lovers. 9651 S. Quebec St. hrcaonline.org
Call the Douglas County Sheriff’s office at 303-660-7505 to report non-emergency fireworks use.
Chris Daniels & the Kings will return to open this 4-10 p.m. July 4 event at Waneka Lake Park, 1600 Caria Drive in Lafayette. The music, face painting and 9:30 p.m. fireworks are free, but fees apply for food, beer and kid-friendly inflatables and pony rides. No shuttle service. lafayettecolorado.com
Call 303-665-5571 to report illegal fireworks in Lafayette.
Big Boom Bash takes over Jeffco Stadium at 5:30 p.m. on July 4, rain or shine, with fireworks at about 9:15 p.m. Attractions include kids’ activities, community art, vendor booths, local food trucks, a beer garden and more, highlighted by a 20-minute fireworks display choreographed to music provided by MIX 100, according to the city’s website. 500 Kipling St. Check out a map of the grounds and the full schedule at lakewood.org/bigboombash.
All non-professional fireworks displays (of any size) are illegal in Lakewood. Call non-emergency police dispatch at 303-980-7300 to report.
The city’s Red, White & You celebration returns from 5 to 10 p.m. on July 3 at Clement Park (7306 W. Bowles Ave.), rain or shine, with food, adult beverages, exhibitor booths, the Nacho Men and a 9:30 p.m. fireworks show (ifoothills.org/events). Also in Jefferson County: Bandimere Speedway’s Jet Car Nationals & Family Festival on July 4, which costs $18-$30 (children 5 and under are free) with $15 parking, but which will be easy to view from almost anywhere in Morrison or along C-470 (bandimere.com). Finally, The Hudson Gardens & Event Center will present a performance from Colorado’s Firefall with fireworks following the concert. 7:30 p.m. July 4 at 6115 S. Santa Fe Drive; $10-$22 for tickets. hudsongardens.org
Jefferson County’s Fire Information Hotline offers fireworks-violation reporting at 303-271-8200.
See the Longmont Symphony for free at 11 a.m. at Thompson Park (4th Avenue and Bross Street), then take a breather before the 9:30 p.m. fireworks show, which takes place at Boulder County Fairgrounds (9595 Nelson Road). The city also suggests parking at a nearby shopping center and walking to the fenced area in front of Jack Murphy Arena, or watching from anywhere within a mile of the fairgrounds. Handicap-accessible parking is available at the fairground’s Nelson Road (south side of facility) entrance. longmontcolorado.gov
Call 303-651-8501 to report illegal fireworks in Longmont.
Coal Creek Golf Course at 585 W. Dillon Road will host Louisville’s July 4 festivities from 6 to 10 p.m., including live music from the Boulder Concert Band, food trucks and concessions, a bouncy castle, games, free face painting and more. While no parking is available at the golf course, free shuttles will be provided 6-11 p.m. from the Louisville Recreation Center and Home Depot parking lots. louisvilleco.gov
Call Boulder County Dispatch at 303-441-4444 to report illegal fireworks in Louisville and Nederland.
This city’s free, 12-hour fun-fest begins at 10 a.m. on July 4 with a flag-raising ceremony, followed by assorted vendor booths and a performance by the Loveland Concert Band — all before the fireworks begin at 9:17 p.m. over Lake Loveland. (Hey, that’s the time they gave us). 2626 N. Taft Ave. visitlovelandco.org
Wake up early for Northglenn’s 4th of July Family Festival, which begins at 7 a.m. with a pancake breakfast followed by a 4-mile run, the Pedals and Paws Parade, kids fun area, car show, live music and bake sale. Food and community booths open at noon, while fireworks start at 9:30 p.m. at Webster Lake in E.B. Rains Jr. Memorial Park across from City Hall, 11801 Community Center Dr. northglenn.org/july4th
Call 303-288-1535 to report illegal fireworks use in Northglenn.
Parker’s Stars and Stripes Celebration event takes place 6-10 p.m. July 4, offering free bounce houses and inflatable activities, a variety of food trucks, live music from 6 to 9:15 p.m. and, of course, fireworks around 9:30 p.m. at Salisbury Park, 11920 Motsenbocker Road. Parking is $10, and this year they’ve got room for 10,000 so bringing a little extra cash for it might be wise. parkeronline.org
Call 303-841-9800 to report illegal fireworks in Parker.
Family activities begin at 4 p.m. at Carpenter Park (11000 Colorado Blvd.) with food and drinks, live music, a presentation of colors and more. Paved and unpaved parking is available in the lots south of the Carpenter Park Fields and west of 108th Avenue. And don’t miss the annual tradition of the nighttime parachutists, who will herald the fireworks. cityofthornton.net
Call 720-977-5150 to report illegal fireworks in Thornton.
The usual lineup of kids’ activities and food vendors will lead up to the 9:15 p.m. fireworks show on July 4 at City Park, 10455 Sheridan Blvd. Parking is limited, and organizers recommend using a free shuttle from various locations in Westminster and Hyland Hills. cityofwestminster.us
Call 303-658-4360 to report non-emergency fireworks use in Westminster.