On July 4th in 1776 the Continental Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies were no longer subject to Britain and were now united, free and independent states. Flash forward 243 years and to this day we still celebrate the freedom and independence declared and won by our forefathers.
We celebrate what it means to be American and we celebrate the wonderful country that we get to call home.
Now there’s no doubt that there are wonderful celebrations all over the country, but many would agree that there is none quite like a July 4th spent in the little town of Lander, WY. With events starting as early as 6 am the day literally goes off with a BANG. Locals line up on main street to compete in the Annual Half Marathon or 5K to support local charities, meanwhile kids get to compete in one-mile youth dash. Following the end of the race is the Annual Lander Pioneer Days Parade. And when I say parade, I mean PARADE! People set up chairs and line trucks up days before the 4th to be sure and get a good spot for this event. Main street swells to overflowing as over 12,000 people crowd in to get a good look at floats that have taken months to prepare. After the parade the afternoon event list is endless. Whether you head to City Park for the annual BBQ, take a hike up to The Falls in Sinks Canyon State Park, or run home and enjoy time with your family, the afternoon is sure to be filled with fun. The Annual Rodeo starts around 6 pm and isn’t an event to be missed - Lander is after all the home of the oldest paid rodeo on earth. Enjoy bull riding, barrel racing, calf roping, and so much more.
But don’t get comfortable just yet, the evening has barely begun. Seriously. Fireworks are legal within city limits on July 4th in Lander, WY. And we take that fact to heart here in Lander. Once the sun dips below the mountain you’ll get to see a firework show unlike any other. Now there is an “official” firework show put on by the fire department immediately following the rodeo, but don’t be fooled, that is definitely not the only place in town to enjoy a true display of firepower. In reality it doesn’t matter where you are in Lander on the 4th, because fireworks are everywhere. Neighborhoods will pool money together to put on their very own fireworks show, countless family’s shoot them off in their own backyard and local business’s stock up on fireworks to show some community pride and celebrate Independence Day in true Lander-style.
The entire sky across the valley is illuminated from end to end with fireworks exploding until the wee hours of the morning.
All day the atmosphere is thick with excitement, abuzz with energy, and alight with true celebration.
Pictures truly never do it justice, and stories never quite explain how epic a Lander WY Independence Day is.
We really take pride not only in our community but in our Country.
As the saying goes…. 4th of July in Lander…. You just have to be there to understand.
Written by: Alyx Raven Zgurich