Folks who want to see fireworks this year will have to hit the highway for a roadtrip.
Vallecito, Bayfield, Durango, Pagosa Springs, Mancos, and Silverton have postponed their shows this year, citing extreme drought. That leaves Farmington's fireworks on Tuesday, July 3, and Cortez and Dove Creek's on Wednesday, July 4.
I've never been to those towns to see their pyrotechnics, so I decided it was time to call some locals.
Farmington is hosting its 32nd annual Freedom Days, with events scheduled this week through Wednesday.
Tuesday night's fireworks should start about 9:25 p.m. on Sullivan Hill.
The fireworks are visible from almost anywhere in Farmington, said Deanna Rothlisberger, who answered the phone when I called the visitors center.
Good parking spots to watch the show are at San Juan College, the Animas Valley Mall, and the visitor center and museum. Some people starting staking out spots early in the day near the hill, she added. All Colorado residents are welcome to come south to enjoy the big show, she said.
For Cortez's show, I called my colleague Trent Stephens, editor at The Journal.
He explained to me the cool thing at the end of the Cortez show is gas mines, and viewers close enough to the show can feel the heat from the explosions.
I can't imagine either of our fire chiefs in the Pine River Valley being excited about gas bombs going off next to fireworks, but hey, I guess when in Cortez...
The show there is at Parque de Vida. As many as 6,000 people have come to view the Cortez fireworks in the past, but this year's crowd is expected to be even bigger as more visitors are expected to travel to town.
Organizer Keenan Ertel said this year's display will be the usual explosive affair, with about 500 aerial shells, 25 to 30 ground displays and several gas mines and other pyrotechnics, according to the Journal. Stephens recommends showing up early for the show, and traffic will be bumper-to-bumper afterward, particularly on the south end of town.
The fireworks display this year in Cortez will cost about $15,000, and is funded by local businesses through private donations and the Cortez Retail Enhancement Association. The display will begin about 9 p.m., or whenever the sky grows dark enough.
Highlights from the 2017 show in Cortez can be seen at https://business.facebook.com/TheJournalCO/videos/1528220687252610/
Dove Creek also will hold its fireworks display on July 4 as part of its annual Pick 'n' Hoe Independence Day celebration, which lasts through July 7. Organizer Tabitha Henderson said the Dove Creek Volunteer Fire Department will put on the display, with trucks on standby in case of fire. It will begin at sundown in Weber Park, after live music starting at 7 p.m.
"It'll be as good as it was last year," Henderson told the Journal.
Fire bans remain in effect in La Plata, Montezuma and Dolores counties, which are experiencing exceptional drought conditions and high fire danger as the 416 and Burro fires continues to burn. Stage 2 fire restrictions are also in place in the San Juan National Forest.
With the exception of officially sanctioned displays, fireworks are banned throughout the region.