Dalton Bury, 4, marches with Montview Community Preschool and Kindergarten during the 3rd annual Park Hill Neighborhood parade along on 23rd Avenue on Wednesday. (Heather Rousseau, The Denver Post)
The Waldo Canyon fire has been the most destructive in state history, but it has galvanized the community here in ways that are unprecedented too.
In just a few days, as emergency services ramped up and firefighters beat back the blaze that destroyed 346 homes and scorched 18,000 acres, some unlikely partners pulled together an extravaganza to celebrate the Fourth of July, and raise money to get victims back on their feet.
The Colorado Springs Philharmonic, originally scheduled to play at the Air Force Academy fireworks celebration--which was canceled -- will headline a concert in the 7,500-seat World Arena with the Flying W Wranglers, blue grass musicians who were left jobless after their usual venue, the Flying W Ranch, was destroyed in the fire.
A popular news anchor from the local NBC affiliate television station KOAA will emcee the event, The Community Rises, which will be produced by Rocky Mountain Public Television and streamed by all the local commercial television and radio stations while raising fire relief funds through a telethon.
The underwriters of the program are perhaps the most unlikely local partners of all: The alternative left-leaning weekly Colorado Springs Independent and Focus on the Family, a conservative Christian organization that has its international headquarters here.
"We've had fierce battles with Focus over the years," said John Weiss, publisher of the Independent. "But we needed to show we are a community united ... and give people something to do on the Fourth of July since the fireworks are canceled."
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