I’m Margaret Brady, and I volunteered to be your resident expert on where to be this holiday weekend. As the event manager here at JHMR, I’ve seen and planned a few Independence Days in Jackson, and the 4th has become a bit of a “busman’s holiday.” To be honest, some of my best July 4th holidays were before I was the girl who decides when to light the fireworks.
My husband and I, together and separately, have had some bang-up Fourth weekends in Jackson. For our one big summer holiday, we overdosed on mountain-town activities, the sun, and fireworks: boats on Jackson Lake, extended bike rides, holiday river floats, and camp outs with fireworks in the distance. For a few years in the 90’s, there was even a patriotic, semi-organized triathlon, complete with a 6-pack of beer subbed-in for the swimming leg. To this day, my husband’s sole claim to fame is that he never finished last in the legendary Run-Ride-Rattle.
This year’s a little different as we’re reconsidering the whole holiday, thanks to this little guy.
It’s Max’s first Fourth. He’s about 7 months old, so this year we won’t be throwing him in a raft, on a parade float, or even picnicking too hard. (Though a half-day in a golf cart may be socially acceptable…?) We’ll be planning the holiday with a whole new, possibly corny, squeaky-clean family theme. But that’s what makes America great, right? Whatever happens, Max will see his first world-class fireworks display, or possibly two, bedtimes be damned.
Here are my suggestions for our favorite hot-weather holiday weekend, with some tips mixed in to make it go smoothly and keep everyone cool.
Even if you aren’t a bidder, swing by the Silver Auction after a trip up the tram. Everybody loves to check out the classic cars, you know, just to make sure there’s nothing you can’t live without. The auction starts at 1pm on Saturday and Sunday. Or you can just check out the cars on the way to lunch on the deck at the Mangy Moose. If you’re there Sunday, you can roll into the music and fireworks festivities at the Village that afternoon.
Teton Village celebrates the holiday twice, on July 3rd and 4th, to make sure you get your fill. That means two of the best fireworks shows you’ll ever see, with music both nights to get the party started. On Sunday, we’ll kick it off with bluegrass from Telluride with SxSW veterans Head for the Hills, starting at 7pm, followed by fireworks at 10pm. Then you can brace yourself for the real holiday…
I never grew up with parades but thanks to Jackson, I’m a convert. It’s a picture-perfect small town parade, but I do have some suggestions for getting in and out quickly before it gets too hot. Take the free town shuttle, or park on the North or West sides of town. Come on the early side if you can and catch the Lions Club Street Breakfast on the Town Square. ($10 for adults, $5 kids ages 4-8, and free for little ones!) Before the parade starts at 10:30, get over to Glenwood Street near Snow King Ave, which is the best spot to watch – the street is narrowest and the parade happens right away. Then get out of there, find yourself a sprinkler and a nap to gear up for the festivities.
The Commons features music all afternoon, with no shortage of variety. If you have kids make sure to bring a swimsuit and a towel, because they’ll inevitably end up in the pop-jet fountain. If you stake out a spot early, there’s room for a blanket and a picnic too. The Jazz Foundation of JH starts playing at 4pm. The Grand Teton Music Festival’s famous ‘Music in the Hole’ will be broadcast outdoors on the Commons from inside the Festival Hall from 6-7:30. Finally, Calle Mambo will take the stage at 8, with high energy Latin music so you can dance ‘til the fireworks start at 10.
Have a great time and stay safe!