Fireworks return to Durango for July 4 celebrations

Fireworks return for July 4!

Durango, CO: Fireworks are returning to the City of Durango Fourth of July celebration! Loved by many, hated by some, the bright bursts of color and big booming sounds will return, weather permitting, to the skies on Thursday, July 4, 2024, at 9:15 p.m. as part of the street party downtown.

The fireworks will be an exciting capstone to Thursday’s festivities and one of more than 20 events planned.

The celebration is officially called the “Four Days of the Fourth” and takes place July 3-6.  The City of Durango partners with the Durango Chamber of Commerce, Durango Business Improvement District, Visit Durango, and the La Plata County Fairgrounds and Event Center to entice locals to stay in town and enjoy homestyle festivities.  Back for this year: the Staycation Sweepstakes, which only a resident living in La Plata County can win.

Planners are still adding events, but so far, the lineup includes 8 bands, 2 magic shows, 3 eating contests, an ice cream social, 2 rodeos, a scavenger hunt, a parade, a Freedom 5K, and a day of boxing matches.  Desert Child will return to rock the street dance at the Transit Center and will be joined by a headliner band from Denver.  The band will be announced once the contract is signed.

The parade theme this year is “Play It Like a Local.”  The Young Professionals of Durango are organizing the parade in conjunction with the city.  Spectators should expect to see parade floats featuring musicians playing bluegrass music, mountain bikers performing stunts, horseback riders, casino players and everything in-between.

Zambelli Fireworks is producing the fireworks show, which will contain more than 3,600 total shots. Zambelli is one of the largest fireworks companies in the world with a history dating back to 1893. They launch more than 1,600 fireworks shows a year. The City has had a contract with Zambelli since 2020 but has not been able to use it due to drought conditions and fire danger.

As Durango does every year, this is the time to begin rain dances. The ability to launch the fireworks is dependent on drought conditions and must be determined several weeks in advance. The city works closely with the Durango Fire Protection District and other emergency agencies to determine the risk. If Durango or La Plata County is in a fire ban or if high winds or exceedingly dry conditions are present, the fireworks show will be cancelled.

For the past two years, the city presented a drone show in place of a fireworks show. This innovative approach was requested by a group of citizens who sought an alternative to the fireworks, which can present a fire danger, scatter debris, and frighten animals. The City contracted first with Verge Aero and then with Pixis Drones to produce the shows with 200-plus drones.  After the second show in 2023, it was clear that drones were not the favored entertainment and that realistically, the city budget would not be able to afford the number of drones it takes to create a true spectacle.

Knowing that fireworks are always an “IF” in the dry southwest, the city is also enhancing the street dance by bringing in larger bands for a free show. Stay tuned for more 4th of July news in the next few weeks as we announce the headliner band, open applications for the Staycation, and provide a more detailed list of events.

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