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July 3rd community picnic has special meaning
Party to honor police, responders and ‘celebrate the town is still here’
Arbaney barn
The newly renovated Arbaney Barn will open for tours on July 3 as part of a community picnic and celebration honoring firefighters, police and first responders to the 2018 Lake Christine Fire. - photo by Jordan Curet

An old fashioned community picnic to “celebrate the Fourth, celebrate the town is still here” is planned for July 3 in Arbaney Park, according to Janice Duroux, one of the event’s organizers. 

The picnic is scheduled from 4-7 p.m., offers free hot dogs for all and tours of the newly renovated, historic Arbaney Barn. People may bring a potluck dish to share but that is optional, Duroux said.

“It’s a time for people to pop by, have a hot dog, talk about a year ago and go home,” said Duroux, a proud Basalt native, who was raised near the present-day Willits development.

“We’re honoring the police, sheriff’s department and first responders” who assisted with the Lake Christine Fire, which started July 3, 2018, from tracer bullets used on the gun range, she said.

The afternoon begins around 3 p.m. with a “sidewalk parade” featuring dozens of kids from Camp Chip-A-Tooth, Basalt’s long running camp. Director Deb Morrison said her campers, who are aged 5-12, will be joined by children from the Growing Years preschool in the informal march through downtown.

“We’re going to say thank you to the firefighters and the first responders,” Morrison said. Colorful signs and possibly some costumes should lend a festive air.

The children’s parade route, which will be confined to the sidewalk for safety reasons, will sidle along Two Rivers Road past the 7-11, turn up through town and continue to Arbaney Park. The camp, which is headquartered out of Basalt Elementary School, was forced to close for three days last year at the start of the fire due to the amount of smoke that was generated. 

Children from Camp Chip-A-Tooth will be joined by Growing Years preschoolers for a “sidewalk parade” through Basalt on July 3. Photo courtesy Deb Morrison
“The state licensing wouldn’t let us open up (until after three days) because it was so bad,” Morrison recalled this week. She is one of the legions who were impacted personally by the Lake Christine Fire. 

“My family slept in the parking lot of the middle school on the Fourth of July last year” after they were evacuated from their home, she said.

At the fire’s one-year anniversary, there will be time for celebration as well as reflection and thankfulness.

Janice Duroux, who is vice president of the Basalt Heritage Society, said the doors of the Arbaney Barn will be thrown open for the party. The barn’s renovation, which required about eight years of fund-raising, is a point of pride and is the closest thing Basalt has to a museum.

Firefighters will be grilling up to 750 hot dogs, which were donated for this first-ever event by Joe Zuena with Wyndham Destinations and Brad Mosier of Home Team BBQ. Other sponsors include the heritage society, town of Basalt and Mountain Waste, which is donating trash collection bins, according to Duroux.

“Bring a side dish or dessert to share with your neighbors,” she added. While all are invited to the picnic, it’s asked that dogs remain at home.

For questions or donations, contact Duroux at 970-927-3549.