DENVER (CBS4) – 2019 marks the 10th anniversary of Independence Eve presented by Anadarko. The free concert, light show and fireworks finale takes over Civic Center Park on July 3.
This year the party gets started early, with food trucks and expanded craft beer & wine gardens opening at 4 p.m. Then the Civic Center Conservancy is really upping the concert by adding bands and starting the music at 5 p.m. CBS4’s Jim Benemann will again emcee the evening.
With the music still playing, the evening ends with its traditional bang – a fireworks finale off the top of the Denver City & County Building, accompanied by a synchronized light show. (Please be aware that these are not the large aerial fireworks you can see in rural or suburban locales. Given the dense urban environment in which this display takes place – as well as the rooftop launch pad – regulations require the use of close proximate pyrotechnics like you would see at a stadium or downtown on New Year’s Eve.)
The nonprofit Civic Center Conservancy produces the event, working hard year-round to bring the annual tradition to life. CBS4 Denver is pleased to return as a partner this year joining other community partners: Anadarko Petroleum Corporation; the City and County of Denver; FirstBank; VISIT DENVER; and the Great Divide Brewing Co., as well as Comcast.
Where To Park
There are several available parking garages and surface lots near Civic Center Park. The Cultural Center Complex Garage at 12th and Broadway as well as the Denver Justice Center Garage at 14th and Elati will be open. Also nearby are several surface lots owned by Central Parking system and Time Park. Metered street parking is also available nearby, but be sure to follow no parking signs and meter time limits.
How To Get There
If you don’t want to find a place to park, consider taking the RTD Light Rail, a cab, Uber or Lyft. The closest Light Rail stop is on the 16th Street Mall at 16th and California. You can get off there and walk the rest of the way or take the FREE 16th Street Mall Shuttle.
If you’re a cyclist, considering riding to the park or using a Denver B-Cycle. Bike racks will be available on the north and south sides of Civic Center Park.
If you choose to come on a scooter, be aware that you are not allowed to bring it into the park.
What Streets Will Be Closed?
Bannock and Cherokee between 14th Avenue Parkway and Colfax (including the Bannock Street bike lane) as well as 14th Avenue Parkway from Delaware to Broadway (including the 14th Avenue bike lane).
Broadway will remain open between Colfax and 14th Avenue for the start of the event, but may be closed as the evening progresses if it’s necessary to allow more foot access between Civic Center and the State Capitol. A close-in drop-off location will be accessible from eastbound Colfax in front of the McNichols Civic Center Building, 144 W. Colfax. Wheelchair-accessible entrances to the park available at the corner of Colfax and Bannock as well as the Broadway/east side of Civic Center, where there are paved ramps into the center of the park.
Where To Sit
Seating is first-come, first-served on the lawn of the Civic Center Park all the way up to the west steps of the Capitol. The fireworks will be visible above the roof of the City and County Building.
The building will also be a backdrop for an amazing light show so you will want to sit where you can see the building as well as the fireworks overhead. Your best bet is to plan to come early, enjoy the beer gardens and have dinner in the park.
What To Bring
Make a night of it and bring your appetite! There will be 24 food trucks and three beer & wine gardens available in and around the park. Bring a blanket to sit on or low-sitting camp chairs. Keep in mind if you sit up too high in a chair you will be blocking the view for the people around you.
As always in Colorado, bring a fleece because as you know when the sun goes down it can get a little chilly. Feel free to bring your favorite camera to capture all your memories of this patriotic night. Please leave those tall chairs and huge umbrellas at home. Glass bottles and personal fireworks are strictly prohibited.
The food trucks will be grouped in pods along 14th Ave., in the Greek Theatre, on the north end by the Seal Pond and along Broadway Ave. This year’s delicious local vendors are: OG Burger, City Pop, Crock Spot, Biker Jim’s, High Point Creamery, Still Smokin’ BBQ, High Society Pizza, Arepa’s House, Moe’s BBQ, Dude Bro, Em’s Ice Cream, Church of Cupcakes, Turn in BBQ, The Mac Shack, Ba-nom-a-nom Nice Cream, Chuey Fu’s, Basecamp Provisions, Wong Way Veg, Original by Greeks, Sweet Cow Ice Cream, Downtown Fingers, SOS Catering, Smokestack 70.
Expanded Craft Beer & Wine Gardens
This year, the event is expanding the beer and wine gardens. They will be located in the Greek Theatre, on 14th Avenue and on the southwest corner of the park next to Bannock Street (left of the stage). There will be gated areas surrounding the beer gardens where you can enjoy your purchased alcohol, but you can bring in your own to enjoy in the rest of the park – just remember that glass containers are not allowed in the park.
The gardens will be selling canned product from Great Divide and soda and water in plastic bottles from Pepsi. You don’t have to be 21 to get into the beer gardens, so the kids can join Mom & Dad. The beer gardens and all of the food trucks will be open in the park at 4 p.m.
What Is The Civic Center Conservancy?
Formed in 2004, the Civic Center Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to helping the City and County of Denver restore, enhance and activate Civic Center Park. Through programs such as the weekly Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday Civic Center EATS — metro Denver’s largest gathering of food trucks; the free year-round Civic Center MOVES fitness series; Independence Eve and Art in the Park; advocacy around design, infrastructure and policy issues; fundraising for capital improvements, activities and initiatives that support and revitalize the park, the Civic Center Conservancy aims to elevate and sustain Civic Center Park as Denver’s vibrant, iconic community and cultural hub.
Cue The Music
The concert starts even earlier this year with addition of even more bands to the lineup. The music starts at 5 p.m. leading up to the stage program and the Colorado Symphony. Expect fireworks about 9:30 p.m.
Alright Alright is an eclectic folk band with a mission of creating connections with audiences by creating an emotional journey through song. Husband and wife Seth and China Kent share the stories of their lives through their songwriting and performance.
Westword named Jen Korte & The Loss the best folk band of Denver in 2018. Jen Korte came to Colorado from Austin, Texas in 2005, saying she was guided by the convergence of Americana and Caribbean rhythms.
Jen Korte is also nominated this year as best singer songwriter for her solo loop project, Lady Gang, which she debuted last summer. Here is her video for “Simple Truths.”
Colorado favorite Chris Daniels and the Kings are making their third appearance at Independence Eve. The band has entertained the state for 35 years and is ready to make sure the party just keeps rolling. Expect a bit everything from the Kings own songs to favorite covers that will have everyone celebrating.
The Colorado Symphony returns to Civic Center Park for the 10th anniversary of Independence Eve. Expect 80 musicians to finish off the evening with patriotic music. Broadway start Alli Mauzey, one of the stars of “Wicked,” will join the symphony for a sing-along of favorite patriotic songs and Broadway hits. You’ll know it’s time for the fireworks when “The 1812 Overture” begins.
HOW TO WATCH
Watch a live stream of Independence Eve on CBSDenver.com. The coverage starts at 7 p.m. and runs until 9:45 p.m.