Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect the correct spelling of the name of Palmer Lake Fireworks Committe member Cindy Graff-Kuchinsky.
PALMER LAKE • Although this year’s fireworks display to celebrate the Fourth of July was considered extra special, organizers look to make that heightened level of excitement an annual occurrence.
The Palmer Lake Fireworks Committee held its inaugural Festival on the Fourth celebration to accompany its annual fireworks display. Last year’s fireworks were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which made a return to celebrating as a community exceptional, committee member Cindy Graff-Kuchinsky said.
The full-blown festival featured two beer gardens, 12 live bands, food and craft vendors, and bouncy castles for children. The latter were so popular, Graff-Kuchinsky said the committee looks to make them a permanent fixture of the celebration. She said with the anticipation the pandemic restrictions would be lifted in time, the committee felt there was an opportunity to “super-size” the fireworks event.
“We said, let’s just see if we can have a big celebration for everybody,” Graff-Kuchinsky said. “Not just to celebrate the birth of our great nation but also to celebrate coming out of COVID. Everybody needed that.”
Graff-Kuchinsky came up with the name Festival on the Fourth. In April, the Town of Palmer Lake approved the event and the committee was off and running. The entire event was organized and put together in three months, she said.
Not only did the event get a boost in size, but so did the donations and sponsorships. Graff-Kuchinsky said with the Palmer Lake Fireworks Committee being a nonprofit organization, it thrives on its donations. This year, it received more in donations that it had in recent years, she said.
“I know many people have lost their jobs and whatnot, and despite this fact, I believe a lot of people just wanted to have this come together and be a community,” Graff-Kuchinsky said. “I think people opened up their pocketbooks a little more than usual.”
Although organizers did not as of this writing have an official estimate for the turnout of patrons, based on aerial drone video footage arranged by one of the event’s gold sponsors Bart Wilson, the estimated turnout was between 10,000-15,000, Graff-Kuchinsky said.
She was excited the event came together in such a short amount of time.
“I’m pleased everybody did come out and support the event and the Palmer Lakes Fireworks Committee,” Graff-Kuchinsky said. “We are a new committee, and I was pleased just knowing people felt the same way I did personally — that they did want to get out and celebrate.”
The fireworks display was provided by Fireworks Extraordinaire, a company Graff-Kuchinsky said she was highly impressed by, and with the display itself.
As the Town of Monument held its Fourth of July celebration on July 3, and Palmer Lake had its the next day, Graff-Kuchinsky said it makes sense that next year the Palmer Lake Fireworks Committee looks to make its event a “roll-off” of the festivities in Monument.
“We want it to be a Tri-Lakes Fourth of July celebration,” she said. “We are going to start our activities a little later because we want people in Monument to later come over to Palmer Lake. We are hoping it will be more of a Tri-Lakes-wide event next year.”