Days Gone By . . . Celebrating the 4th of July as it Was Meant to Be

I grew up in Downers Grove, Illinois on Grove Street.  We had a large park and an amphitheater across the street from our house. Downtown was just a block down the road.  I have such fond memories of a variety of parades which occurred there; 4th of July, Centennial, Fall Festival, and Christmas.  The parades were spectacular yet our festivities did not end there.  We would also have festivals and concerts to go along with the parades.  For a kid, these events created life-long memories.  I often reminisce on them and feel the joy and excitement that they brought.

As a teenager my parents moved to Florida.  It seemed like a new subdivision was built each week. The next new subdivision was built at the end of the previous new subdivision.  Worse yet, they had about six house designs, so the endless roads of houses all looked the same.  I thought my childhood recollections were simply memories of days gone by that could never be obtained again.  

When I had my own children I wished I could give them some of my childhood recollections. We found other things to do: boating, swimming, horseback riding – yet nothing brought a sense of community into their lives. For vacations we began traveling to Buena Vista, Colorado. After our first vacation I recall leaving this spectacular area and feeling like I was leaving the place I belonged.

Seventeen years ago we moved to Buena Vista.  My youngest was starting fourth grade.  That summer we got to celebrate 4th of July in the small town way that I recalled from my childhood.  I watched her in the Halloween parade; we celebrated Christmas with the towns daytime Equine parade and night time Parade of Lights.  We got to know our neighbors; we became part of our community. I love that one cannot walk through Buena Vista without fondly connecting with someone we know and a smile or wave from a stranger.   

I have had the great pleasure of celebrating the seasons of one’s life noting the passage of time with our town’s parades, and community celebrations.  First, with my youngest daughter, then with my oldest daughter’s two children who have grown up here. Now with a new granddaughter, I shall get to share with her the small town charm of our community.

Please create your own memories of days gone by and join the Buena Vista Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center with our traditional and authentic 4th of July Celebration. Our Independence Day commemoration includes present day allure with past day charm. Kids are encouraged to participate by decorating their pet or bike and can even win prizes for the best decorations.  Businesses and organizations and even family reunions are asked to enter a float or walk in the parade.

We have something to please everyone in the family starting with a pancake breakfast at 7:00 am, Art in the Park from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, Patriotic Parade at 10:00 am, Kids Games at 11:00 am, Free Concert at 2:30 pm, Paddle on the Pond at 4:00 pm, and awe-inspiring Fireworks at 9:00 pm. 

We have much more to share and do please visit for full details.

Come early and stay the week as we have events both weekends to enable you to fully experience our special Buena Vista of the West. Then return to experience our Gold Rush Days, Apple Fest, ATV Historic Color Tour, 14er Fest, Trick or Treat Street Parade, and Christmas parades. Buena Vista will leave you and your family with many memorable stories.

By Jamie Hagen, Marketing Specialist at Buena Vista Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center

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