Denver put on a fiery spectacle for thousands at the Civic Center Independence Eve for a third year with a free concert Tuesday night by the Colorado Symphony, rooftop fireworks and hundreds of tiny lights on cellphones recording the show for absent friends .
While the night sky burned red, white and blue over the City and County Building, spectators cheered on their country and some pledged their support to help this year's wildfire victims, a mission of this year's show.
The "Star-Spangled Banner" rose in splendor in the twilight last gleaming.
"I love this," shouted 7-year-old Tamara Wilson of the Five Points neighborhood.
"She can't wait for the fireworks show," said her mother, Denise Winston. "She's been jabbering about it all week. She remembers last year."
This year's show was dedicated to supporting wildfire victims and the "remarkable Colorado spirit," according to the Civic Center Conservancy.
"It's times like these that make me proud to be a Coloradoan," the event's emcee Denise Plante, the co-host of 9News' "Colorado and Company" and co-host of the "Murphy & Denise Morning Show" on KOSI 101.1.
Spectators at the free show were urged to make a $10 donation by sending a text with the message "Fire" to 8000 Tuesday night or in the coming days.
Anadarko Petroleum Corp., the main sponsor of the Civic Center park show, will match the total up to $25,000 for wildfire victims statewide.
"I'm going to make a request that's rarely made at a symphony concert," symphony president and CEO Gene Sobczak told the crowd. "Please pull out your cellphones."
Besides Anadarko, the show was made possible by donations from The Denver Post Community, 9News, Arts & Venues Denver, Visit Denver, Comcast and Xcel Energy.
Denver's show is one of the few across the state that hasn't been cancelled this year, because of the high fire risk that already has spawned large, deadly, expensive blazes in Colorado.
Personal use of fireworks is banned across the state, after a declaration by Gov. John Hickenlooper last month.
Denver police spokesman Sonny Jackson said that so far, Denver residents seem to be getting the message.
Though the number of citations written so far this year are not yet available, Jackson said anecdotally that violations are way down.
Fines can run as high as $1,000, plus the confiscation of fireworks. Many municipalities across the state have established special patrols to find and fine fireworks this year, because of the danger.
"Our chief has made it clear that he expects and increase in citations for fireworks this year," said Steve Davis, spokesman for Lakewood police, which will have six patrols dedicated to fireworks scofflaws for the next few days.
"I think the general feeling is impatience (with violators). People want this law enforced this year. For so many years, it was something a lot of people haven't taken very seriously, it was just something people disregarded, but with the fire danger this year, that's not going to be tolerated."