05 July 2008

Independence Day: the good, the bad & the ugly

I attended the most amateurish and paltry Fourth of July fireworks display I have ever witnessed last night in Pueblo, Colorado, a city with a population of a little more than 100,000. I have seen much better fireworks displays from villages of less than 10,000. Last night’s show might have earned a Cub Scout a merit badge for pyrotechnics, but qualified for nothing greater.

The fireworks were preceded by a wretched excuse for a pop music band, The Kahuna Beach Party, which essentially covered Beach Boys songs with harmonies that were bad enough make stray cuts howl in protest, if not anguish. The band members sounded as though they picked up their instruments for the first time a few weeks ago and their solos on guitars and drums were just simply embarrassing. I may have heard a worse band at some point in my life, but I am certain I never tolerated a band this awful for this long: most of one set and another full set followed by encores that no one requested.

The events were held at the Historic Arkansas Riverwalk, the city’s very impressive public restoration of the riparian channel as it winds through Pueblo.

Independence Day 2008 began on a far more encouraging note: a small-town parade in Pueblo West that had both a “dry” and “wet” section. The dry section was a pretty normal parade—politicians, vintage cars and tractors, girls’ dance clubs, and a few commercial floats—but during the wet section the parade entrants and the crowds soaked each other with water guns, hoses, and buckets. A great idea, especially for what would become the hottest day of the summer thus far—101degrees F (38C) and still rising about 2:30 p.m. After the parade, the fire department pumper doused a crowd, mostly kids but adults too, with a water and soap mixture.