The Pueblo Chieftan

Puebloans crowd Riverwalk

Forget trying to count the crowd.

There were the thousands who brought their own chairs to sit in front of the Pueblo Symphony and enjoy the patriotic music. Then thousands more who crowded Main Street and Alan Hamel Avenue.

Add in a few additional thousands — yes thousands — watching from all over the Historic Arkansas Riverwalk of Pueblo. And then all the hundreds down Union Avenue, all along the river bluffs, tailgating in parking lots along Abriendo Avenue...

“Have you ever seen anything like it?” Ruth McDonald, owner of the Gold Dust Saloon, said with huge smile, pointing to the crowd that had gathered at HARP for the Fourth of July celebration Thursday night.

“What a great night for Pueblo,” she declared.

The Rollin’ On the Riverwalk celebration Thursday night didn’t disappoint. Jacob Chi and the Pueblo Symphony serenaded the crowd with patriotic songs and Hollywood movie tunes.

But the main thing was the big boom. The flash and spread of fireworks over Pueblo’s Downtown.

“Most years, I would have been home, doing some fireworks with the family,” agreed businessman Chris Cotter. “But with the fireworks ban in place, I brought my son here tonight.”

“Why fight the crowd when you can see it all from here,” explained one family sitting on benches along Union Avenue.

But the crowd did pour into the Downtown for the show Thursday night and the mood was part holiday cheer and part relief from the oppressiveness of wildfires and heat.

“I do a lot of camping,” McDonald said. “But I really think people are staying out of (the forests) because of the fire danger.”

Thursday night’s fireworks show was in stark contrast to the Stage II fire restrictions and a countywide ban on the sale or use of fireworks. A ban that local residents were clearly respecting given the relative quiet in Pueblo neighborhoods. There were a few pops and bangs, but not very many.

Deputy Police Chief Michael Bennett said extra patrol cars were on the streets Thursday to enforce the fireworks ban but said few complaints actually came.

“I understand we’ve written a few citations today, but it’s really quiet compared to past years,” he said. “I think people are taking the fire danger very seriously.”

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