Story and photos by Brandy Santos-Newsum
Oohs and aahs from the crowd to the sounds of crackling in the sky can only mean one thing – Fourth of July.
Fort Carson hosted its annual celebration, The Fourth of July on the Third, at Ironhorse Park from 4-10 p.m., concluding with fireworks.
This year’s theme “Salute to America” had something for everyone, from bouncy houses for tiny tots to a beer garden for adults.
The event was open to the public to experience countless activities on this memorable night. Inside the gates everyone was welcomed to carnival games, live music and a cash vault.
“This event is a military highlight, everybody is welcome to enjoy the activities,” said Ann Edinger, Events and Entertainment chief, Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
DFMWR brought a new event to this year’s celebration – the graffiti and tagger contest – which gave artists the ability to express their creative side through art in a safe environment.
Artists were provided with paints, boards and a theme. This year’s theme was Halloween or haunted house. Artists were asked not to create graffiti artwork that is gang related.
“The guidelines are very clear for the artists to follow,” said Frank St. Louis, Auto Craft Center manager, DFMWR. “We want this event to be fun for everybody.”
After more than three hours the Auto Craft Center judges chose the winner for the first graffiti and tagger contest.
Spc. Sinoe Orbe, Troop D, 1st Squadron, 10th
Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, was this year’s winner, chosen from eight artists competing for $500 and a free tattoo. Orbe said he liked the idea of using the artwork for the annual on post haunted houses in October.
“This is an American art form today,” said Don Hollesen, Auto Craft Center. “These young kids can express themselves.”
He also mentioned seeing this form of art on train carts and buildings. “It’s a part of the culture for these young kids.”
Orbe received a certificate for outstanding artwork, $500, a free tattoo from Top Notch Tattoo shop, and cheers from his three children and wife.
The air was filled with ’80s rock and contemporary music from the Ivy Division Band and cover band, “New Sensation” from Denver. New Sensation guitarist, Stuart Noble said, “I’ve done Department of Defense tours and it’s great to perform at these types of event.”
Just past the main stage the Yellow Bus Bike Stunt Team performed to over 1,000 patrons. The patrons cheered as the stunt team showed off bike tricks. Two of the amazing stunts were the 360 turn in mid-air and double back flips.
Stilt walker Birgitta Jackson, from Manitou Art Theatre, signed the Monster Mural banner being sent to Afghanistan to show support to our troops.
Staff Sgt. David Gant, 1st Space Brigade, said,
“I’m stateside most of the time so it’s important to show my support and this is one of the ways I can.”
There were many Soldiers and patrons like Grant that signed the banner to honor their fellow Soldiers and loved ones.
In the background the Ivy Division Band started the night with “The Star-Spangled Banner” and Toby Keith’s “American Soldier.”
Maj. Gen. David G. Perkins, commanding general,
4th Inf. Div. and Fort Carson, talked about the meaning of Fourth of July, the Army’s birthday and the evening’s activities and hoped that “everyone enjoys the show and fireworks.”
The Ivy Division Band closed the night with Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture which included coordinating fireworks and cannons firing together to bring the night’s celebration to an end.