Most of Tuesday’s Fourth of July activities are unchanged from recent years, but that does not make them less enjoyable, nor less significant.
There is a breakfast at the Lions Club in Bayfield and the parade at 10 a.m. A breakfast in Durango at Rotary Park, with the parade at 6 p.m. Fireworks at dusk, except for Durango, and multiple mid-day events.
In Silverton, known for having the noise of its fireworks show amplified by the surrounding mountains, do not expect another evening of alcohol and rowdyism by younger participants. Silverton’s new image on the Fourth is family-friendly, and law enforcement will be numerous.
We are celebrating the birth of the nation, and flags will be flying proudly. Be sure to stand for the American flags at the beginning of a parade, remove your hat and place hand over heart. Youth needs to see how it is done.
This is a wonderful country where the things that are amiss can be put right, and we all are fortunate to be here. Happy July 4th.
HHHRugged individualists. The term describes many of us and offers a solid reason why we live in an isolated county of 1,700 square miles (almost the size of Delaware) with a population density of 26 people per square mile. We are a self-sufficient, self-determined lot that loves the tall peaks and wide-open spaces that are, if we weren’t born in the county, what attracted us here.
Whether we work the land or enjoy it for pleasure, an entrepreneurial and adventuresome spirit is something we identify in ourselves and recognize in others. We do not shy away from newness and change, rather we push ourselves to build something from scratch and achieve big goals, and we share La Plata County as our home.
These qualities are perhaps best represented by the approximately 7,000 businesses registered in the county, of which almost 90 percent are small, and include approximately 2,500 self-employed individuals and 4,000 businesses with fewer than 10 employees.
Of this group, there are 230 members of Local First, their not-for-profit alliance, which defines “locally owned” as businesses or organizations where “the majority of owners live in La Plata County and have full autonomy and decision-making authority with respect to their business practices.”
They have come together out of recognition of the limits of their independence and the benefits of cooperation. They even coined a new word: “Coopetition,” which means “collaboration between business competitors, in the hope of mutually beneficial results.”
A 2011 retail leakage study showed that La Plata County residents spent between $90 million and $290 million outside the county, starving our local businesses as well as our sales tax-dependent municipalities. Local First has documented that for every $100 spent at a locally owned independent business, $43 remained in the economy compared to $13 for a non-local business.
The decision to purchase a new dress from Animas Trading Co., instead of Amazon, supports a business owner who employs your friend or family member, donates to area not-for-profits and, with their employees, may be an active community volunteer.
To bring attention to the numerous community benefits of supporting locally owned independent businesses and to give shoppers an incentive to try them, Local First is hosting “Independents Week,” which kicked off Saturday and runs through Friday.
A “Local Passport” challenge is underway and a street dance is taking place on Main Avenue on Tuesday night. Visit Local-First.org for event information, but most importantly make a lasting contribution to our community by visiting locally owned independent businesses this week – and all year long.