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There are few things more American than blowing shit up, for no other reason than to watch it explode.  That, and dancing like a bit of an idiot.  Throw in a watermelon, a cake decked out with various berries resembling good old Stars and Stripes and some sparklers and you’ve got yourself Independence Day.

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Unless you live in Colorado Springs, where we have had a few wildfires…  Then you don’t get the sparklers.  Don’t worry, you’ll live.

This is the one and only day I miss Chicago – my brothers would buy boatloads of illegal fireworks just over the border in Indiana.  My parents would have the entire neighborhood over.  We would eat copious amounts of my mother’s fabulous potato salad, sit on the lawn; getting munched by mosquitoes while watching the fireworks.  Every one of us (smokers or not) were armed with lit cigarettes to light the fuses of small explosives.  We would throw M80’s down the sewers, crank up “Friends in Low Places” and “Black Betty” on the car stereos and burn our fingers with the wicks of bottle rockets.  The next morning, we would drag our bodies out to the cul-de-sac to sweep up hundreds of dollars of spent pyrotechnics and go back to bed.


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photo 2 (1)We had no idea what to expect of C.Springs when it came to the 4th of July.  We were not disappointed.  The Colorado Springs Philharmonic was set to play a free concert on the lawn of Memorial Park and to accompany the fireworks display.  Pack up the folding lawn chairs and water bottles, ’cause this girl is game for that.

After noshing on kettle corn for dinner, the kids had a blast on the giant inflatable slides and moon bounces.  We found a spot on the lawn and cracked a pair of glow stick wands.  I was fully prepared for the kids to be bored to death with the concert.  Nope.  It must be human nature to want to get out of your seat and dance when the Philharmonic breaks out the Big Band classics.  I couldn’t even get a clear shot of the kids; they would not sit still.  I opted for video instead.

Yes.  My son is a bit of a lunatic.  And has no patience for letting Alice get any screen time.  Too much kettle corn, perhaps?

The two of them bounced around for an hour.  By the time the fireworks started halfway through the 1812 Overture, they were sitting peacefully on our laps.  The next song was the Star Wars theme…  Ohmygod.  The crowd roused to a level of geekness I never thought possible.  But, by the end of Star Wars, both kids were O.U.T.  Like a light.

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“You know, after Disney World, this looks a little bit like Mike and Rick lighting off mortars in the street,” Nae commented.

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And then they got a little better…

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And even better…

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And by the finale, we were both stunned at how GIANT the fireworks were.  Amazing.

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I’ll tell you what wasn’t amazing, though.  Getting stuck in a parking lot for over an hour until a sweet, little old lady decided to direct traffic.  It was worse than leaving an Aerosmith concert.

All in all, I was mighty impressed, Colorado Springs.  Good job making up for the lack of sparklers, smoke bombs and roman candles.  I didn’t even miss the blistered fingers of Chicago.  Snaps to you.