We knew we had arrived when we saw a paper mache egg flying through the air. It landed with a dramatic clop! and sent a candy-filled explosion across the pavement. The crowd oohed and ahhed.
It was better than fireworks—although we would soon get to see Longmont’s impressive fireworks display in an uncrowded, lakeside field.
I hate telling you about this because, well, the best thing about the best things is that no one else knows about them. Then, when everyone knows about them, you have to find a new, lesser-known, better thing. But as my patriotic gift to you, and in honor of Kid Rock and drum rolls and mini flags on toothpicks, here’s the best place to celebrate the Fourth of July in Boulder County. This is where we go every year.
It’s called the TinkerMill’s Fourth of July Carnival, conveniently located right in the heart of Longmont a bottle rocket’s shot from the Boulder County Fairgrounds, where the pros light the clouds on fire after the sun goes down.
If you like driving around looking for parking, extreme crowds, long outhouse lines and cuddling super close to strangers in a dark field, then by all means, attend one of the more traditional community fireworks-watching gatherings. Many cities across BoCo have one: Boulder, Longmont, Erie, Lafayette.
But if you’d rather quickly find a parking spot, have plenty of stretching out space and be entertained by live music, dancers, rockets, pyrotechnics, friendly alpacas, watermelon launching and brilliant maker demonstrations, see the same fireworks without any of the stress at the TinkerMill.
The TinkerMill is one of the coolest places in Boulder County, even on the days when you don’t listen to Lee Greenwood on repeat. But it’s extra fun on the Fourth, because the makers bring out all of their creations and inventions to show off. It feels like you’re walking through the mind of a mad scientist, and this doesn’t even account for the direct view of the fireworks; the TinkerMill is located at 1840 Delaware Place, Unit A. It can be a bit tricky to find, since many of the nearby streets get shut down for the fireworks show, so arrive as early as possible (it opens at 4; be there at 4:01).
It’s shocking that all of this family fun costs just $5 per person, a suggested donation. The money goes to the nonprofit group, which claims to be the biggest maker space in the Rocky Mountain region, providing a co-working, creative space for more than 500 makers and artists. Bring extra cash for food trucks, beer and shopping. Also, bring a chair or blanket to sit on and stake out your home base early. The mosquitoes can be nippy, so load up on repellent. Most importantly, bring your hand on your heart, your salute and your best Bruce Springsteen playlist on Spotify to get you in the mood for ‘Murca.
Read more ways to celebrate the Fourth of July in our Independence Day Guide.
Looking for other ways to entertain yourself in Boulder this week? Here’s what all the cool kids are doing:
Bike to Work Day: Today (June 28) is Bike to Work Day, an annual holiday that Boulder takes very seriously. If you ride your bike, you can find all kinds of before- and after-work food stations around Boulder. Register online and check the website at Bike to Work Day for more info on how you can be rewarded for powering your day with your pedals. The town of Superior is also offering a Bike to Work station with snacks and drinks. Visit the Chamber of Commerce for details.
Mountain Bike Skills Class: Want to explore the trails on bike but need to pick up some techniques first? Sign up for a level one mountain bike skills class at Valmont Bike Park 5-7 p.m. this Saturday (June 29) and many more throughout the summer. This two-hour course is $75. For more info, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit EventBrite.
Lavender Farm Dinner under the stars: Enjoy Colorado’s beautiful summer evenings at Colorado Aromatics Herb Farm, 340 Lashley in Longmont, for the Lavender Farm Dinner. On Friday (June 30), you will be served a farm-to-table dinner under the stars with a menu inspired by lavender and other herbs grown on site. For more info, visit lavenderfarmdinner.eventbrite.com.
Outlook for the upcoming weeks…
Summer Festival: Magic. Music. Movement. Hey, it’s an alliteration so it must be cool. Check out this family-friendly event (complete with slacklines, ice cream and live drumming) at the bandshell in Central Park. The Summer Festival is organized by the Boulder Public Library and runs 1-5 p.m. Thursday (July 29). For more info, visit here.