All-American Day: Go red, white and blue, all day, all Fourth

Go red, white and blue, all day, all Fourth

American flag

Hot dog

Sixteen month old Oliver Cabot, sticks his hand out into the cool water as it cascades from the fountain on the Moyer Swimming Pool splash pad for the very first time at Lincoln Park, on Monday afternoon.

Visitors stop at the Independence Monument Overlook in Colorado National Monument on Tuesday afternoon.  The Coalition of National Park Service Retirees urged federal legislators to reject proposed legislation to redesignate the monument.

Fireworks at Lincoln Park.

Thousands of parade goers line Main Street in downtown Grand Junction to watch the Grand Junction “Celebrating our Independence” Parade Wed afternoon.

The Fourth of July is the one day a year when Americans, more than 318 million strong, can unite to celebrate the one thing we all have in common: being American!

Because let’s be honest. We have our fair share of differences.

With the Fourth of July falling on a Friday, it’s as perfect a time as any to truly honor the United States with an over-the-top, cliché Super All-American Day.

From sunrise to sunset, we offer up this itinerary to help guide you through the most red, white and blue day any American could ask for.

Sunrise — Good morning! Celebrate America’s birthday by first putting an American flag outside your house. If you don’t already have one, draw one or consider buying one of those small, inexpensive flags people wave at parades. Hang it by your front door or stick it in your front yard. (I understand if you have no plans to wake up with the sun. No matter what time you wake up, see to it that this remains the first item of your day.)


7:30 a.m. — Sit down for an All-American breakfast: eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns, toast, pancakes or a smaller combination of these items. Add a glass of strawberries, milk and blueberries for a little red, white and blue. (Plus, it’s nice to get some fruit into your system. You’ll thank me later.)


8:30 a.m. — Listen to “The Star-Spangled Banner” (it turns 200 this year) and/or recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Give yourself a pat on the back if you know all the words, particularly to the Pledge of Allegiance, which you may or may not have recited since elementary school.


8:45 a.m. — Get dressed in red, white and blue. Typically, people steer clear of this color combination during the year because it’s so Fourth of July. Good. Let it be.


9 a.m. — The Independence Day Parade starts in downtown Palisade. If you want to attend this parade, push breakfast up 45 minutes or eat faster.


9:15 a.m. — Head to downtown Grand Junction to get your seats for the annual Independence Day Parade. This year’s theme is “America The Beautiful.” Don’t hesitate to dress over-the-top because you won’t be alone. Also, bring your small, inexpensive flag.

11:00 a.m. — Visit Colorado National Monument. It’s right in our backyard and is part of the extensive U.S. National Park Service, an agency Congress created to “...promote and regulate the use of the Federal areas known as national parks, monuments, and reservations ... to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life ... for the enjoyment of future generations.” In other words, the monument highlights the natural beauty of America.

Once you are inside the monument’s gates, head to the Independence Monument overlook to spot an American flag at the top of the monolith in the distance.

The Mesa County Technical Search and Rescue Team will climb Independence Monument earlier in the day to raise an American flag at the top. FYI: The flag is scheduled to go up between 10–11 a.m., in case you’re more interested in seeing that than a parade. Don’t forget to bring binoculars.

The monument’s entrance fee is $10 per vehicle or $5 for motorcycle and bike. This fee covers seven consecutive days of admission.

12:30 p.m. — It’s lunch time! Throw some hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill. Must be a grill. If you don’t have one, go to a park and find one to use.

Chase those dogs and burgers with potato salad, watermelon, baked beans, lemonade and, of course, apple pie. Oh, it might be a good idea to have water, too. The forecast is calling for mostly sunny and 96 degrees.


2 p.m. — Head to a cool body of water. The Lincoln Park-Moyer Swimming Pool has a special Fourth of July admission rate of $2.38, the age of our nation, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. so adjust your schedule if necessary. Regular rates resume at 1:31 p.m.

The Palisade Swimming Pool, 571 W. Fifth St., costs $3.50 for youth (ages 3–17), $4.50 for adults and $3 for seniors (55 and older).

Not interested in a pool? How about Highline Lake State Park, 1800 11 8/10 Road. Cost for day-use is $7 per vehicle. (The Fruita Community Center is closed for the holiday.)


5 p.m. — Did you enjoy lunch? Good, because you’re also having it for dinner.

Eating cliché Americana food is a requirement on July 4. Plus, you can just buy the same things and/or reuse leftovers. But we’re adding a bonus dessert for dinner. In addition to apple pie, serve an All-American cake. Feeling particularly ambitious? Try this recipe: (It will require several hours of prep time.)

Otherwise, keep it simple and bake a boxed cake, frost it with whipped cream and use strawberries or cherries and blueberries to create the stars and stripes.


6:30 p.m. — Game time for the Grand Junction Rockies versus the Orem Owlz. Baseball, long considered the “national pastime,” is the quintessential American sport, much like football or competitive hot dog eating.

Head to the ballpark — Suplizio Field — to take in a live game. Visit the Grand Junction Rockies official site at or call 255-7625 for tickets, if any are left.


7:05 p.m. — Those not attending the Grand Junction Rockies game can turn their attention to other activities. Set up lawn games such as bean bag toss, horseshoes, catch with a baseball/football/frisbee or ladder toss. Don’t forget your bug spray.



7:05 p.m. — Sit down to watch one of these very American movies: “Captain America: The First Avenger” (2011), “Miracle” (2004), “Saving Private Ryan” (1998), “Independence Day” (1996), “The Sandlot” (1993), “Field of Dreams” (1989) or “Rocky” (1973).

Enjoy some popcorn, maybe some all-American candy such as salt water taffy, red licorice, M&Ms or anything Hershey’s related.


8 p.m. — Done with yard games or tired of your movie? Head to James M. Robb-Colorado River State Park, Fruita Section, for an informational look at bald eagles and how they became the nation’s bird. The program is courtesy of Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Admission to the park is $7 per vehicle.


9:15 p.m. — Light off sparklers! They are legal and relatively safe, provided children are supervised and understand what they are holding. Sparklers can be purchased at any area fireworks stand and are arguably the most common and beloved firework out there.

And if you haven’t taken your flag back indoors yet, now would be a good time.


9:45 p.m.-ish — Those who got into the Rockies game will have prime seats for the annual Grand Junction fireworks display lit at nearby Lincoln Park at the conclusion of the Rockies game. Those who didn’t get into the game can catch the display from numerous spots near Lincoln Park and throughout Grand Junction.


After the fireworks display — Celebrate the end of a glorious Fourth of July by lighting the rest of your legal fireworks, if any remain.

But make it snappy. No one wants to hear your “Boom, Boom, Pop!” at 1 a.m.


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