Mt. CB reviews Fourth of July takeaways for future shows

Laser show, fireworks or drones?!

[  By Kendra Walker  ]

While the town of Mt. Crested Butte received positive feedback around the Fourth of July DJ and laser show celebration at the CBMR base, general sentiment was that the lasers came up short and town staff and the town council are discussing ways to improve the light show experience moving forward.

This year, the town opted to move away from its traditional fireworks show and replace it with a laser light show and DJ. The driving factors for the change were wildfire risk and high cost/short supply of available fireworks companies.

The Chamber of Commerce estimates that there were about 3,500 people at the base area for the DJ and light show. Comparatively, the Chamber estimates that there were about 15,000 people at the parade in Crested Butte earlier that day. 

“This year was unique in that it was on a Monday, and we were competing with Alpenglow,” said Mt. Crested Butte communications and marketing officer Marisa Maudsley during the July 19 town council meeting. 

Overall, the community enjoyed the DJ but felt that the laser show could have been improved. In a memo to the town council, Maudsley wrote, “We are in agreement with the community that the laser show itself requires much revision and improvement if we were to implement a laser show again next year. The storyline for the onscreen production did not align with many community members’ beliefs and had too many religious connotations. It was not the storyline Rebecca (Schroeppel, Mt. CB events coordinator) was expecting and took us by surprise. We also felt it was too long in length.” 

“I had a couple concerns. The visibility was to a very limited space of people… it also got repetitious in what they were showing,” said councilmember Janet Farmer. “I was sitting on my balcony watching, and a minute into the show I was watching as many people leave as were arriving. I do think the DJ was great.”

Councilmember Michael Bacani agreed. “During the second song I turned around and looked and 30% of the people were gone…I heard a lot of people say, is it too late to drive down to Gunnison and watch the fireworks?”

Councilmember Alec Lindeman shared feedback he received from community members. “They said the DJ was great and laser show wasn’t that bad, but their perspective was the imagery was problematic.”

“We knew early on that this change would be a learning experience, and now understand more about laser light shows, how they work, and plan to learn from this year,” said Maudsley. 

Maudsley noted that the town did look into what it would take to get lasers or lights shining up on the mountain. “That was about $200,000. That piece is going to be a challenge moving forward.” However, Maudsley said there are a lot of other options to explore with the laser show, and the town would ensure they see the finalized version prior to the event.

She also listed out potential directions for future Fourth of July celebrations, including looking at different laser companies, going back to fireworks, or the more expensive option, drone shows. “Moving forward it would be great if we had some early direction of what’s expected for next year,” she said.  

“We need all the real estate agents in town to donate their drones,” joked mayor Nicholas Kempin. 

“I lean toward going back to the fireworks,” said Bacani. 

Farmer and councilmember Dwayne Lehnertz agreed they also like the fireworks.  

“I feel an internal struggle because I love large explosions and all that jazz,” said Lindeman. “But I also know we’re on National Forest land and it’s pretty horrible to do in a lot of ways.”

I’m in the camp of loving explosions and fireworks… but if the show was banger this year would the desire to go back to fireworks be the conversation?” said councilmember Roman Kolodziej. 

“If we bring back fireworks, we will need to assign a larger budget and start having conversations with suppliers and technicians now,” said Maudsley. 

Maintenance department supervisor Bobby Block also noted that staff has to spend a week or so after the fireworks show cleaning up fireworks debris litter.  

The council gave staff direction to continue exploring the options, and plan to continue discussing in the next month to prepare for next year. 

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