Dressed in a red and blue tie-dyed shirt and star-patterned blue shorts, 9-year-old Zeva Baah excitedly prepared for one of her favorite Independence Day celebrations: Lone Tree’s “4th of July Family Fun Ride and Stroll.”
“We just came last year, and I loved it. We had so much fun,” said Zeva’s mom, Melanie Baah.
Baah and Zeva, who live in Highlands Ranch, were among hundreds of people, spanning from young children to older adults, who arrived at Lone Tree Elementary School the morning of July 4 to collect a complimentary bag of decorations to place on their bikes, scooters , wagons, strollers and more before embarking on a 1-mile journey to Prairie Sky Park. It was the first of a series of events the City of Lone Tree hosted to celebrate the holiday.
The Baah family brought a black and pink scooter, each dawning star decorations, and used extra decorations to place on themselves. Describing the event as a well-organized, fun community parade, the event fits in well with some of the new traditions the Baahs are doing, such as having a barbeque and making a Fourth of July-themed cake.
“That’s what it means to me — just spending time with family and friends, being able to relax in the summertime,” Baah said about the holiday’s meaning. “Other than Christmas, I think it’s our favorite holiday.”
Music played as families gathered on the field at Lone Tree Elementary School, where attendees could also visit two police officers mounted on horses. Nearby the horses were Erin Ready’s daughters, 8-year-old Brynn and 5-year-old Kellyn.
Like the Baah family, Ready and her daughters returned to this year’s event after attending last year. She most looked forward to seeing friends and family and doing traditions with her children.
“It’s fun — they call it,’red, white and blue day,’” Ready said. “We just love the City of Lone Tree. They provide so many fun activities for families, just bringing the community together, so it’s fun. We always run into tons of people we know. ”
Ready, a friend of city council member Marissa Harmon, has lived in Lone Tree for eight years, she said. Having previously worked as a Douglas County teacher for 11 years, Ready will be joining the Lone Tree Elementary School staff this fall as a kindergarten teacher.
When asked what the holiday represented to her, Ready said, “Obviously celebrating our amazing country. We’re so thankful we get to live here. But I think, too, just the memories and traditions that you create year after year. And they last a lifetime. ”
After about 30 minutes of decorating, the family ride and stroll commenced as an estimated 350 people made their way towards Prairie Sky Park, said Nate Jones, the city’s communications director, in an email.
The park was set up for Lone Tree’s next celebratory event, “Family Fun Park,” which featured large inflatables, food trucks, a craft station and other interactive activities. Decorated scooters and bikes surrounded the park as attendees, who had to register for the event in advance, entered the park.
Although other municipalities such as Castle Rock, Lakewood, Golden and Englewood canceled their firework showsLone Tree hosted an approximate 15-minute firework display the night of July 4. The show was visible in multiple Lone Tree locations, including six viewing locations Lone Tree promoted such as Prairie Sky Park, Lone Tree Elementary School and Promenade Park.
Jones said Lone Tree’s events manager thinks that the number of people viewing the fireworks this year was higher than previous years, estimating that there were between 7,000 and 8,000 people this year in comparison to the average 5,000 to 6,000.