DENVER (CBS) – Work is underway to get Civic Center Park ready for its biggest party of the year, Independence Eve presented by Anadarko.

It’s the fifth year for the event combining an evening of patriotic music and fireworks.

Independence Eve (credit: CBS)

Independence Eve (credit: CBS)

“New this year, the free concert before the fireworks has three local bands. MIX, the Hazel Miller Band and the legendary Denver Municipal Band,” said Lindy Eichenbaum Lent, the executive director of the Civic Center Conservancy, the driving organization behind the concert.

PHOTO GALLERY: Independence Eve 2013

The conservancy works to create public-private-nonprofit partnerships to revitalize the downtown park, and Independence Eve may be its crowning achievement.

“We draw a multi-national crowd down to Civic Center,” Lent said, “to celebrate community, culture and country and civic center itself.”

And that crowd is a real sea of people stretching from the park across Broadway to the steps of the State Capitol.

This year the conservancy is also selling tickets to a balcony party at the Denver Post. The money goes to support the conservancy itself.

And the conservancy does much more than Independence Eve. Most Tuesdays and Thursdays through the summer, it hosts Civic Center Eats.

It’s a popular lunch destination for people in downtown and around the park. Food trucks take over part of the plaza offering a buffet of choices from barbecue to locally sourced burgers to Chinese to biscuits.

Some of the lines snake around the trucks but patient diners waiting in line say it is well worth it.

(credit: CBS)

Civic Center Eats (credit: CBS)

“It’s a great way to experience new food you haven’t tried before,” said one diner, David Marsh.

And in 2014, the conservancy added a way to work off all those extra calories offering up yoga classes and a boot camp right in the park.

Add in the music and parkgoers say it’s a great place to bring the family.

“Come out here and try the food, it’s a good family outing for the day,” was Cara Smith’s advice.

But it wasn’t always that way for the park. Once it was riddled with crime and many avoided it, even during the day. That’s what prompted the conservancy to take action.

“We are revitalizing, improving people’s perceptions,” Lent said. “We are asking the community to take ownership of this important historic space.”

CBS4 is a proud partner of the Independence Eve event which kicks off at 8 p.m. on Thursday. CBS4’s Jim Benemann will be hosting.

LINK: Independence Eve Information


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