Nostalgic July 4th Celebration in Ouray Colorado
Ouray Colorado's biggest day of the year is the 4th of July. This small town puts on quite a party that begins each year with the all you can eat pancake breakfast in the Ouray Community Center. It begins at 6:00am and goes until all the food is gone! After your stomach is full and bloated, consider running in the Ourayce.
Ourayce, a 10K run through town, gets your blood circulating. The Ourayce is an informal affair so you can just show up that morning at 7:00am in front of the City building to register. The race begins at 8:00am.
By 10:00am, US Highway 550 is closed to traffic for the parade. The volunteer fire department organizes this extravaganza and it includes horses, floats, bikes, costumes, and jeeps. Most anyone who wants to participate in the parade lines up near 4th Ave by 9:30am. For those who enjoy watching the parade, the streets fill in beginning at 8:30 for best viewing. Bring a lawn chair, plenty of sunscreen, a hat and some water. It is going to be fun!
After the parade ends, the join the Ouray Historical Society at the Ouray Museum for a lemonade and brownie social or enjoy some kids games at the park. Of course, a dip in the hot springs is also a possibility.
There is a BBQ lunch following the parade near the Elks Lodge and they typically serve brats. The Masons (next door) typically have ribs. The smells are very enticing.
The San Juan Mountain Guides set up a zip line across the Uncompaghre Gorge ($10/ride) from 11:30-1:30 too. Find this set up at the bridge on Camp Bird Road just above town.
At 2:00pm, the waterfights commence (pictured above, photo courtesy of Kane Scheidegger) at 6th Avenue and Main Street whereby local teams compete against each other. Using firehoses and fire hydrants, this tradition yields new champions each year. The city closes off US 550 again and even sets up some bleachers so the onlookers can see the fun. Prepare to get wet, even if you are just watching since they shoot the hoses up straight into the air to cool down the crowd! Many people opt for umbrellas.
Listen to live music in the afternoon and evenings at O'Briens Pub and at the Backstreet Bistro and then at 9:15ish the torch parade begins followed by the firework show.
Guests staying at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs enjoy the fireworks from the parking lot. They burst just over the hillside and the echos are tremendous. It is a real treat!