BRIGHT DAY IN LEADVILLE
Large Crowds on Avenue Listen to Band Play and Watch Sports and Games—Everybody Merry and Sun Smiles Approval.
GAY NIGHT CARNIVAL
July 5, 1919
The weather man deserves a vote of thanks from the people of Leadville and the promoters of the celebration for the kindly treatment he gave them yesterday. All during the celebration the sun blazed down thru a clear sky, bringing out distinctly the vari-colored garments of the gay people who thronged the streets and the perspiration on the brows of the athletes who contested for the prizes in the many events, making the shady side of the street the most comfortable and consequently the most popular. Until noon the east side was crowded with enthusiastic spectators, and on the west side were only the scattered few who had no fear of being sunburnt or sweltering heat. But when the sun had passed the meridian, the position of the majority of the throng was changed to coincide with that of the shade.
And thus every shop along Harrison Avenue received its share of the celebration “rush,” for the thirsty people showed no preference as to the store which they patronized as long as the goods purchased gave the desired results.
Old and young, rich and poor, short and tall were all there and all happy, from the smallest boy with his punk and fire-crackers, which he took delight in throwing between the feet of some unsuspecting bystander just to see him jump when the explosion came, to the weathered old timer with his cigar and wrinkled smile, who watched the excitement with a canny eye, thinking the while of the comparison between this and other celebrations given during the old “boom” days, and with it all the gay summer dresses and laughing voices of the women, adding life and animation to the scene.
The events of the day, altho somewhat delayed by the fact that there were so few men to take charge, went along very smoothly. The band played during the entire day and for the carnival in the evening, and all of the numbers on the bill were watched with enthusiasm.
The number which attracted the greatest amount of interest was the motorcycle race. Many motorists went down to Malta to watch the cycles come in on the home stretch, and they took the last grade at a speed approximating 70 miles per hour.
Prize fight returns, posted at the Herald Democrat office, and announced to the street thru a megaphone by John McMahon, drew an enthusiastic crowd, but the enthusiasm was short lived, as Willard admitted defeat after about nine minutes of severe punishment from Dempsey.
The most laughable event of all was the pie eating contest, in which seven boys excitedly crammed blueberry colored pastry into their mouths, getting well smeared from ear to ear with the soft filling. The winner succeeded in downing three pies.
Yesterday evening Leadville brought her celebration to a close in a great street carnival that was calculated to delight the souls of all people who prefer the romantic out-door night frolic to the more staid indoor dance. The scene was laid between 5th and 6th streets, a large canvas being stretched over the entire width of the avenue for dancing, around which most of the festivities centered.
The band stand was set up on one corner of the canvas and furnished music for all who cared to dance, but most of the revelers seemed to prefer the closely packed sidewalks, where confetti and serpentine could be thrown with more effect.
Fireworks of every kind were popping and whirling around the surging crowd of masked figures so thickly that at times the whole street was illuminated and the confetti covered revellers, busy with feather ticklers on the passers by, had all the appearance of a Venetian festival.
When the players in the band finally gave the last selection and put their instruments away and men started to take down the stand and roll up the canvas at 10 o’clock, the mask carnival was over, but the participants were not thru for the night. Many of them discarded their masquerade costumes and went on up to the Cloud City Rink, where the official Fourth of July ball was being held.
The celebration was in every respect a safe and sane one. Not an accident occurred during the day, the fire wagon never moved from its stall, and not an arrest was made for the full twenty-four hours of the Fourth of July. Unlike the olden times, not a single over-intoxicated person appeared on the streets, nor was there any fistic encounter, making it all the more a celebration that will be remembered and spoken of by those who appreciate the full meaning of these facts.