Museum of Northwest Colorado: Fireworks and children’s faces |

Museum of Northwest Colorado: Fireworks and children’s faces

Mary Pat Dunn, Museum of Northwest Colorado Registrar
Ninety-nine years after that exciting weekend in 1915, a piece of memorabilia from that early Independence Day celebration found its way into the collections of the Museum of Northwest Colorado. The pennant, graciously donated by Susan and Stephen Powell, is on display in the museum along with a photo of the "auto" parade held that day.
Courtesy Photo

The spectacular firework shows of Craig have been around for numerous years. Nothing says Fourth of July like the reflected glow and awe in a little child’s face as they watch the colors magically appear then fade away into the black summer night sky. The celebration of our country’s independence traditionally culminates in an exhilarating display, which thrills all ages, particularly little children. Their exuberant response to the event brings smiles to fond adults watching both the display and the little faces upturned to the sky.

Craig hosted a valley-wide celebration in 1915, which encompassed three full days of activities. The newspaper headlines proclaimed that “Three Days of Woolly Western Sports” were in store for the region. With over $600 in prize money, there was eager participation in all the contests. Children competed in foot races, potato races and sack races. Six gentlemen proudly raced their “autos” in a fast paced course with the winning vehicle passing the finish line at an amazing 80 miles per hour! There were bucking contests, horse races, boxing events, relay races, an auto parade, a dance and of course the grand finale: the fireworks. It was indeed a hectic weekend designed to exhaust children and mothers alike.

Just as they do today, Craig businessmen shelled out the $300 needed to put on an hour long pyrotechnic event that left children and adults alike dazed at the brilliance of the colors and forms that spangled the night sky. The newspaper reported that F.M. Pleasant, Walter Spencer and 10 assistants orchestrated the dazzling display, which was held on Saturday night, July 3. Sunday was a quieter day, with the final baseball games, boxing events and a patriotic program listed on the program of events. Over 2,000 people, from all over the valley, Meeker and even Vernal, attended the grand weekend which coincided with that perfect July weather which so often visits the Yampa Valley in the summer.

Be sure to thank the sponsors of this year’s fireworks celebration who, like the community members of 1915, made sure this lovely event could happen. Those sponsors include McDonald’s Restaurant, Maybell Women’s Club, Downtown Books, T& H Auto Parts, Yampa Valley Bank, Peakview Oil Company, Clarion Inn & Suites, Steve and Tina Fulton, The Memorial Hospital and the Memorial Hospital Ladies Auxiliary. The staff at the Museum of Northwest Colorado sincerely thanks all those who made Craig’s tradition of a marvelous fireworks display possible again this year. Once again, tired children headed home with their sleepy heads filled with the sights and sounds of another colorful tradition celebrating our country’s independence.

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