Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The 4th in Rico, Colorado

Rico has a great small town 4th of July Parade!
            Naturally I was playing, visiting and cooking up a storm on the 4th so I did not have an opportunity to share my pictures as I had hoped. Every summer my husband and I make a pilgrimage to southwest Colorado to rest and find ourselves again.  In 1975 my father-in-law built a log cabin in Rico, Colorado for all of the family. He is longer with us and as of a couple of weeks ago, neither is the mother of his children. We feel their love in this cabin. We spent our honeymoon here in 1976 and subsequently brought our children and their friends here.  Indeed I always feel like I have “come home” when we vacation here. Someday, in the not too distant future, we will retire in this same area. 

A REAL vintage fire truck!

The old mining town of Rico is very very small. The Delores River, as well as highway 145, run through the town with homes on both sides.  There is no grocery here; just a gas station, a small post office, an elementary school, the old town hall and a liquor store. A couple of years ago a drive-thru coffee hut opened (surprisingly, and fortunately, it is still open) and this summer a small bistro/laundromat  has opened for business,  its called "Dew South".  Yes, it is a small town, but on the 4th of July it is like Christmas here – except no snow! ~ They had snow this year through May!

There are antique cars too! . . . and town divas!
People come from miles aroud to celebrate the 4th here. They gather for the parade. It is quaint, but I would hate to miss it. The volunteer fire department is out in full force “passing the boot” and selling Duck Race tickets to fund their spectacular fireworks show. Immediately following the parade, the highway is opened back up for traffic. Yes, all thru traffic must patiently wait the mere 20 minutes it takes for nearly half the town to parade down Main Street! Immediately following, the “crowd” ambles down to the elementary school for the combination Arts & Crafts Sale, Library Book Sale & Quilt Show! From here you go down to the fire station for breakfast. A local Indian tribe prepares some kind of mouth watering breakfast taco – if you want one, be prepared to stand in a long long line. But, fear not, the local community band seranades you while you wait.

Of course, all of the neighboring Boy Scouts got to march in the parade!

Check out this wonderful float!
Before going to the Fire House to serenade the hungry folks, they get to be in the parade too - naturally!

I think that this may be the local princess!!!!

Even tiny town divas - in their own cars!
There is a picnic in the park later in the afternoon, but not until after the Duck Race! I wouldn’t want to miss this event either! At about 1:30 approximately 500 yellow rubber ducks are “released” off the highway bridge. Each has a black number on their belly. About a quarter of a mile downstream everyone gathers at a small bridge to watch them be scooped up in nets by the local firemen and their wives. The men stand barefoot with their pants rolled up. Their wives sport stylish wet suits . . . the temperature of the water is about 40. As they catch the cute little yellow duckies they yell out the numbers of the first 25 or so as the winners of the race. Yes, there are prizes! Everyone, including the entire dog population, either stands on the bridge or on the banks cheering wildly. I know the race seems really lame, but it is a custom here & the childish simplicity of the event has been come dear to me. 
Catching those speedy Rubber Duckies!
One of the locals taking in the Duck Race!

At dusk the locals and visiting campers commence shooting off their personal arsenal of fireworks. We sit out on the front porch of the cabin, slightly above town, snuggled in wool blankets (it is in the 50’s by now) in anticipation of the highlight of the 4th of July festivities. Soon we spot several truck headlights heading up a mountain across the valley on an old mining road. We know that these are the same talented Duck catching volunteer fire and rescue men that will now conduct “the show”. I never pay any attention to how long this takes them to set up as there is so much other fireworks going off all over town. One year someone lit a bar of magnesium down by the river. We all thought that some camper was attempting to burn up the town. It was just a little added excitement for the evening! As darkness envelops us, a million stars magically appear. They seem brighter on the 4th somehow. Finally the show commences with a thunderous introduction of the BIG fireworks. Obviously, this is not more of the same from the townfolk! If you have ever experienced the sounds and brightness of fireworks in the mountains, then you know what I mean by the resounding echos that reverberate throughout the valley. It is awesome and we enjoy the spectacle for nearly an hour. We are mesmerized. Then we scramble back inside to warmth and fresh peach pie and vanilla icecream. Can it get any better? I hope that all of you had as much fun as we did!
Happy 4th . . . belatedly!  . . . here are some the awesome fireworks pictures that I took!




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