Monument, Fort Carson give Fourth of July a second chance in September

ANDREW WINEKE Updated: September 3, 2012 at 12:00 am • Published: September 3, 2012

The Pikes Peak region gave the Fourth of July a second chance on Labor Day, with fireworks, fairs and a parade to make up for the festivities canceled during the Waldo Canyon fire.
In Monument, crowds lined 2nd Street for the annual, albeit delayed, street parade.

Two months ago, the town was somber instead of celebratory, said Colleen McCrary of Monument.

“It was a completely different atmosphere than the Fourth of July usually is,” she said. “It was surreal.”

McCrary, her son Joshua Lester and friends Angie Morlan and her son Christopher, held big signs saying “Thank you” to firefighters and police.

“I knew the purpose of the parade was to honor the first responders,” she said. “The least I could do is make a sign and let them know how much we appreciate them.”

Bob Combs said there was still smoke in the air on Fourth of July in Monument. Parts of the city had been on pre-evacuation status during the fire.

For Monday's parade, Combs' daughter, Piper, made a sign thanking firefighters for their efforts.

“The kids certainly didn’t like not having the Fourth of July,” Combs said. “This is nice; we can get them out and have a parade and tell (the firefighters), ‘Thanks.’”

Heather Krueger, a native of Palmer Lake, said the crowds were smaller than the typical Fourth of July turnout, but that just boosted the small-town feel.

“It should be like the parade used to be,” said Krueger, who said she has been coming to the event since 1975.

Fort Carson also planned to celebrate the Fourth of July on the third of September, with fireworks and live entertainment Monday evening.

These summer flashbacks didn’t delay traditional Labor Day events, however. The Colorado Balloon Classic wrapped up the weekend in good form Monday morning, with scores of hot air balloons lifting off in light winds and sailing south from Memorial Park.

Rock Ledge Ranch was hosting its annual vintage baseball game, and the Commonwheel Artists Co-op held its 38th annual arts and crafts festival in Manitou Springs.

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