Fireworks Ban? Try These Fourth Of July Alternatives

fireworks ban
Ming Xia, Flickr

With fireworks bans in place across parts of the Western U.S., it’s going to be another Fourth of July calling for alternative celebratory activities. In Colorado, where I live, we’ve learned to accept this fact, and it doesn’t stop the outdoor revelry.

Picnics and parades are standard July fourth fare, anyway, so if you happen to live in a place suffering from drought or plagued by wildfires, don’t let the lack of fireworks get you down. Instead, find a spark-free way to celebrate our nation’s birth (it also makes for a nice tribute to those victimized by said wildfires). Some suggestions:

Open flame isn’t required for a successful barbecue; use a gas grill instead.

Gather a group for a moonlight hike (this is also a good idea with regard to personal and wildlife safety). Sunset city walks are also fun; end your stroll at a wine bar or brew pub.

Get on the water. Find your nearest reservoir, lake or river, and spend the holiday appreciating this precious resource.

Ride a bike. In Boulder, where I live, Awe-struck Outdoors offers activities like creekside rides that include a bike-to-farm dinner. Get inspired, and organize your own holiday ride.

5 Alternatives To Fireworks This (Very Dry) Fourth of July

wildfireIt’s hard to imagine the Fourth of July without fireworks, but for drought- and fire-stricken regions like Colorado, that’s the way it’s going to be this year. If you happen to be living or traveling in a no-fireworks zone, don’t despair. There are still ways to celebrate our nation’s birth without setting it ablaze.

Since I’m in Colorado right now, I brainstormed with a group of rangers at Boulder’s Chautauqua Park (which is adjacent to the now 90%-contained Flagstaff Mountain blaze). Our ideas, below:

1. Organize a block party

2. Go to a laser show (or hold your own; those PowerPoint things are for more than just entertaining cats)

3. Have a picnic or barbecue and stargaze

4. Go to a concert in a park or other outdoor venue

5. Go camping, minus the open fire

[Photo credit: Flickr user H Dragon]

The Stop, Drop and Role Technique for Fire Safety

New state laws that affect travelers in 2009

There are slew of new state laws that have gone into effect with the change to 2009. Here are some of the ones that I’ve culled from this CBS News/AP article that could impact travelers depending upon which state you head to for a vacation this year.

In California, do not read-or-write text messages while you drive. It’s now illegal. Heavens! Can you imagine someone texting on a freeway in L.A.?

If you are in Illinois and are having a heart attack at an outdoor fitness facility, look for a defibrillator. All such facilities are now required to have one.

Don’t even think about urinating or defecating in public in New Hampshire. If you decide to let go, it could cost you a $1,000 fine. Did people in New Hampshire have a problem holding it until they found a toilet? That was my initial thinking. Turns out, the law is to prevent people who pee in public from being labeled as sex offenders.

For smokers in Oklahoma, only fire-safe cigarettes are being sold. If you’re a smoker in Oregon, don’t light up in a bar. Smoking is now banned in bars. Trans-fat is also banned in Oregon. From the finest restaurants to fast food, not a speck of trans fat is to be used.

Top 10 stupidest laws you could encounter abroad