Leadville News – June 21

July 4th Fireworks Canceled for Leadville

Leadville’s Fourth of July celebration will be missing its special sparkle this year with the news that the annual fireworks display has been canceled. The Leadville Lions Club voted at their weekly meeting held in Leadville Today to cancel the Tony Hren Memorial Fireworks Display put on for the July 4th holiday. According to Lion Karen (Onderdonk): “Lions Club has voted to be safe this year and not put on 4th of July Fireworks.”

While no formal reason has been issued from the Club, with high heat, heavy winds and dry weather, fire safety is certainly a concern. In fact, the cancellation seems to be following suit with others across the state, as Colorado continues to battle several wildfires. Just last week, the cities of Telluride and Durango canceled their fireworks shows.

Of course, Leadvillites were already disappointed to learn that the annual July 4th Community Barbecue held at the Leadville Airport was canceled earlier this month due to a staffing shortage. But fear not, good patriots! You can still celebrate America’s Birthday in style. There’s the Fourth of July parade – why not put all that energy into building a fabulous float to march down historic Harrison  Avenue?!  And don’t forget about the the FireCracker 5k hosted by the Leadville/Lake County Sports Hall of Fame. Plus when you live in America’s highest, there’s plenty of great local eateries, and incredible places to hike and identify all the red, white and blue wildflowers you can find! 

Stay Tuned to Leadville Today for any last minute Fourth of July news. And you can always send yours to info@leadvilletoday.com.


The Firecracker 5k is a family-friendly event held in downtown Leadville on July 4th. The event is sponsored by the Leadville/Lake County Sports Hall of Fame. Photo: Leadville Today

Annual Jewish Cemetery Clean Up This Weekend

Leadville is known for its cemeteries. People actually come to town specifically to spend time walking or driving thru the Evergreen, Hebrew and St. Joseph Cemeteries. And why not? Some of Colorado’s most interesting history and characters have found their final resting places right there on the edge of America’s highest city.

And this weekend, some of those dearly departed are going to receive a little sprucing up. This Saturday and Sunday is the Annual Leadville Jewish Cemetery Clean Up Weekend, on June 23 and 24. Now in its 22nd year, the event helps to beautify the Jewish Cemetery which is located adjacent to the Evergreen Cemetery in Leadville. There are several events planned for what has become an annual pilgrimage for many from the front range Jewish Community. The public is welcome.

Jewish Cemetery Clean Up 2017_2

“Many hands make light work,” was the case at the 21st Annual Jewish Cemetery Clean Up in Leadville in 2017. Photo: Leadville Today

On Saturday, June 23 the day begins at 10 a.m. at the Temple Isreal located at the corner of W. 4th and Pine Streets in Leadville. The Shabbat morning service will be led by Rabbi Sara Gilbert with Torah reading. Kippot are provided for those who wish to wear one. Please bring your tallis if you wish to wear one. Casual dress, blue jeans are fine. No food, drink, or animals are allowed in the Temple Israel building. Please refrain from taking photos during the service. A light kosher-style, dairy Kiddush will follow. Donations of food are most welcome. Note that there is no kosher supervision in Leadville. Those with special food needs (vegan, gluten-free, etc) may wish to bring their own food.

Then on Sunday, June 24 it’s work time. The day begins at 9 a.m. and wraps up at noon for clean up at the historic cemetery. Dress to get dirty! Bring hat, sunscreen, bug spray, work or garden gloves, and wear sturdy closed-toe shoes. Cameras most welcome! Feel free to bring a small folding chair. Volunteers are asked to respect the grave-sites and leave your animals at home. Food will be provided, but there is no kosher supervision, and if you have special food needs (gluten- free, vegan, etc), you may wish to bring your own.

Starting in 1995, B’nai B’rith Denver has partnered with the Temple Israel Foundation to restore the cemetery after decades of neglect. The cemetery was re-consecrated in August 1999 and  is currently accepting new interments. The partnership has remained and annual volunteer clean ups have been continued every summer.

Here’s a video about the Leadville Jewish Cemetery 

Leadville News – June 20

BBQ News: A Hit, A Miss and A Ticket to Ride

Attention all you barbeque aficionados! Heads up, to all you finger-lickin, lip-smackin foodies who just can’t get enough of that smoky, sweet goodness that comes fresh off the grill this time of year. Leadville Today (LT) is bringing you some BBQ news you can use in a segment we’re calling A Hit, A Miss and A Ticket to Ride. Find out everything you need to know about grillin’ and chillin’ at 10, 200 feet.


This Friday and Saturday the Leadville BBQ and Brew Festival returns to historic Harrison Avenue. Photo: Leadville Today/Kathy Bedell.

A Hit: Leadville BBQ & Brew Returns

This weekend will mark year three for the Leadville BBQ & Brew Festival as grill connoisseurs and microbrew lovers descend on America’s highest city to get their grub on. The annual event is back after a year’s reprieve due to the kind of local politics you need your boots for, so be sure to show up with your bib, some sawbucks and get ready to have a good time!

The Leadville/Lake County Chamber of Commerce hosts the event and promotes a family-friendly, festival atmosphere including live music, a kid’s zone and plenty of vendors selling their wares and promoting their businesses. The event kicks off on Friday, June 22 at 10 a.m. on historic Harrison Avenue and culminates on Saturday, June 23 at 4 p.m. when prizes for the BBQ competition will be awarded.

Of course, for the serious grill-masters, it’s all about the BBQ! And as a Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS) and a Rocky Mountain BBQ Association sanctioned event, there’s more on the grill than just that sweet, saucy goodness for the Leadville competition. How about $10,152 in cash and prizes?!


The stage is set for a good time this Friday and Saturday at the 3rd annual Leadville BBQ & Brew Festival. This year, the music stage will rotate to the other end of the avenue, where live music can be heard at Harrison and 8th Street. Se you on the avenue! Photo: Leadville Today/Kathy Bedell

KCBS is the world’s largest organization of barbeque and grilling enthusiasts with over 20,000 members worldwide and is dedicated to promoting and enjoying barbeque. It now sanctions over 500 barbeque contests worldwide and the one being held in Leadville Today is – you guessed it – America’s highest! That special designation, along with the official KCBS sanction will bring some of the best competitors from the BBQ circuit into town this Friday and Saturday. So let the smack-talk begin!

Grill-beasts like Frank Dominguez have been coming to the Leadville BBQ competition since the beginning, and have learned from experience how the lack of oxygen affects cooking temperatures at 10,152 feet. He said, posting on Facebook: “This is our 3rd year in Leadville we got the altitude figured out.”

Per KCBS rules, there are 4 meat categories required to be eligible for the Grand Champion, Reserve Grand Champion and the Top of the Mountain awards. In addition, for the top of the mountain award, you must also have competed in the Frisco Colorado Barbecue Challenge the previous weekend. 

There will also be 2 extra categories; side dish and dessert. And the competition will have something for the little grillers in the Kids Q.

Readers may find out more about the competition, music line-up and other vendor information on the Leadville BBQ & Brew Festival website. It should also be noted, that there will be road closures and parking restrictions in place for this event beginning Thursday evening. The Leadville Police Department has also issued a press release regarding pets at this event.

A Miss: July 4th BBQ at Airport Canceled

For Leadville Today readers who may not be on Facebook, it was announced earlier this month that the annual 4th of July Bar-B-Que at the Leadville Airport had been canceled. That decision remains the same, as Lake County Public Works (the department that manages the airport) faces a staff shortage which has led to the cancellation of events like the annual Fourth of July BBQ at America’s highest airport. Here’s the official word from Madeline Cressley with the Leadville-Lake County Airport:

“We, at the Lake-County Airport, certainly have our hands full this summer with helicopter companies from all over the world testing in our high altitude. We enjoy their time spent in town and what they contribute back into the community. However, since we have so much going on at the airport this year, the Fourth of July is cancelled. We are deeply sorry for any inconvenience this may cause for our loyal leadvilians that have been coming to the airport each year, but please join us for our Fall Fly-in Pancake Breakfast we host each year this September on the 22nd . “

July 4_canceled

The annual 4th of July community barbecue at the Lake County Airport has been canceled this year due to a staffing shortage. But the parade and fireworks are still a go for now!

“What a bummer,” posted one LT reader. “I take my kids to that every year.” And even though several people offered to help/volunteer, at that point it was too late for a Plan B.

There has been word that the fire department will still have their ice cream social after the parade, but notthing official yet. Stay tuned, as the July 4th holiday takes center stage, LT will keep you informed on what is happening and where. And if your business or group has something going on, send an email to info@leadvilletoday.com or post to the Leadville Today Facebook Page.

A Ticket to Ride: BBQ Railroad

And finally in the world of BBQ hopes and dreams, this next event has it all. Because if BBQ and brews gets you excited, just add the third leg to that stool – scenic mountain views – and you’ll feel like you died and went to hog heaven! On July 7, a special Leadville, Colorado and Southern Railroad trip will depart at 4:30 in the afternoon for one of three of its special BBQ rides offered this season. The Devils Tail BBQ Special takes riders up, up, up the Arkansas River Valley as the sun begins to set over the two highest peaks in Colorado. All along the ride while soaking in the views, guests will be treated to some award-winning barbeque and brews (or wine) from its expanded spirits offering this year. This ride usually sells out, so to make your reservation, log on to the Leadville railroad website.


A ticket to ride on the BBQ Train is usually a SELL-OUT. #AllAboard for BBQ, Brews and Views. Photo: Leadville Today/Kathy Bedell.

 The Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railroad offers a 2.5 hour scenic train ride through some of the best terrain the rocky mountains has to offer. At his point in the season they offer two trips daily at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. They also have a number of special train rides including the upcoming wildflower rides as well as the BBQ trips. #AllAboard for summertime fun!