Independence Day celebrations kicked off the busiest two months of the year in the Sun Valley area.
And what a kickoff it was. The area not only celebrated the day that marked the beginning of the nation, but it shouted out hope and confidence in the future.
Music rose from the valley like thousands of balloons: country, rock, jazz, hip-hop, contemporary. From private bistros with live music and parks with open-air jazz to the Sun Valley Pavilion's Peter Cetera concert that packed 'em in, the whole valley was hoppin'.
The opening of the new Ketchum Town Square brought hundreds of people together to the new beating heart of the downtown. Parents and kids, visitors and local residents joined in. With free ice cream, a few speeches and a lot of music, the party was on.
The opening of the public square was a triumph of public and private investment. The public efforts began several years ago when consultant Tom Hudson told the city it lacked both a center and links to Baldy and the Big Wood River. Since then, the city, volunteers and private donors have worked hard to realize the vision created by hundreds of citizens who helped plan how the town should work in the future.
Hailey's traditional hometown parade, rodeo and fireworks were boisterous affairs enjoyed by thousands of people. Sunday's rodeo was the last in the old arena, which is slated to be replaced by a modern, $3.5 million multipurpose facility paid for by Hailey taxpayers.
Recession? What recession? If people could bank confidence and solid investments in hope, the area's coffers would be full to overflowing.