4,000 sausages, 200 pounds of pancake batter, 40 pounds of butter…
“I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure it will cost us to maintain this declaration, and support and defend these states. Yet through all the gloom I see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is worth all the means. This is our day of deliverance.”
—John Adams, on signing the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776
Independence Day. No town on earth celebrates as well as Crested Butte with all its anticipated festivities. The Fourth of July conjures up a variety of memories and celebration for all who choose to participate in its traditions or create their own annual shindig.
Just before he signed the Declaration in 1776 John Adams had a firm grasp on the future of the holiday when he wrote, “It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”
Let’s not forget why it’s a party. It’s the day the Declaration of Independence was passed. We’re free. And we party. We love parades, barbecues and potlucks, lots of pancakes, laughing dogs and giggling kids, tank tops and flip flops weather, water fights and sparklers, friends and family returning home and the grand finale of fish and whistles and 36-inch shells of variegated chrysanthemums exploding into bouquets of color in the night sky. Yes, John Adams, you got that right.
What better way to kick off the shindig than with an all American Crested Butte tradition: pancakes! July 4 from 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. will ring in the 40th annual Fourth of July Pancake Breakfast sponsored by the Crested Butte Fire and EMS Squad at 306 Maroon Avenue, at the Fire Station.
Pancakes will be flipping, sausage will be scarfed and this year, by special request, there’ll be toppings like berries, whipped cream and rainbow sprinkles for the pancakes. If you’re not running in the Gothic/Crested Butte 1/3 Marathon it’s advisable to get there early because it gets packed with post-race participants.
Last year the crew served up those flapjacks to 1,200 people. That’s probably more than 2,400 pancakes because who can eat just one? Just to give an idea of how much food and preparation goes into this breakfast event, more than 50 local businesses donate either food or money to the Crested Butte Fire and EMS Squad to feed the multitudes. That’s 4,000 sausages, 200 pounds of pancake batter, 40 pounds of butter, 24 gallons of syrup, 25 pounds of coffee, 16 gallons of milk and 12 quarts of half-and-half. It’s a recipe for community love.
The event is a fundraiser for the fire district, the money that they use for various excellent causes and projects, the most notable being the Fallen Firefighter Fund, which helps support the current crewmembers in case of financial emergencies. They also donate the money to local people who need some financial assistance.
Last year, the Crested Butte Fire and EMS Squad donated a large percentage of the ticket sales to the Granite Mountain Hotshot Crew out of Prescott, Ariz., where 19 firefighters died in a wildfire on June 30, 2013.
Crested Butte Fire and EMS Squad volunteers meet four times a year just to discuss the pancake breakfast and decide who gets the proceeds. Much of it stays in the coffers for the Fallen Firefighter Fund, but a lot of it goes back into the community. Every child dreams of the fire truck rides that will take place, and the crew will be selling t-shirts, hoodies and drink cozies too.
Crested Butte is especially known for its voracious party appetite, community spirit, and outrageous parades. Throughout its history Crested Butte’s local population has put on a spectacle of creatively wacky floats and processions. There were times, back in the early days, that the parade ran both ways because it was so short, going up Elk Avenue and then circling back, turning around at the Four-way Stop to march back up Elk Avenue.
Fourth of July Schedule
6:30 a.m. Free shuttle departs to Gothic for start of 1/3 Marathon race at the Four-way Stop in Crested Butte (Elk Avenue and 6th Street)
7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Crested Butte Fire and EMS Department’s Pancake Breakfast at the fire station in Crested Butte
8 a.m. 44th Annual Gothic to Crested Butte 1/3 Marathon (proceeds benefit the Rocky Mountain Biological Lab)
10 a.m. Food Court and Budweiser Beer Garden open
11 a.m. Best Parade in America!
12 p.m. (following parade): CBMF Patriotic Brass Band, 3rd and Elk Avenue in Crested Butte
1 p.m. Live music, 3rd and Elk Avenue in Crested Butte
2:30 p.m. Pie Eating Contest
3 p.m. Hot Dog Eating Contest
6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Yarn Band, Red Lady Stage, Crested Butte Mountain Resort (glow sticks, food, beverages and fun for all!)
8:30 p.m. Announcement of Winner of Raffle
At dusk after the concert. Fireworks at the Base Area, Crested Butte Mountain Resort.