July 4th parade showcases flavor of Routt County, Steamboat Springs

Michael Schrantz
Steamboat Springs resident Charlie Holthausen's dragon spits fire during the July 4 parade on Lincoln Avenue.
Matt Stensland

— There were flags, animals, candies, Super Soakers, dancing and even a fire-breathing dragon. The Fourth of July parade on Lincoln Avenue in downtown Steamboat Springs was a kid’s dream.

As what seemed like the unofficial anthem of Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the U.S.A.” drifted over the crowd lining the street, floats running the gamut of Steamboat’s community meandered along.

Emergency responders and hot shot crews got large ovations. Children awed at groups of riders on horseback and puppies that were close enough to pet.

The faux snow being tossed out by those manning Steamboat Ski Area’s float would have been welcomed had it been our trademark cool crystals on the warm afternoon.

The two Bernese mountain dogs, Vernors and Julia, pulling a small cart in the Heeling Friends group were feeling the heat.

Vernors, 10, is a parade veteran, having been participating since 2004, while Julia has been in the parade the past four years.

Barbara Clark and Carson Kelly, 8, guided the two therapy dogs to the shade at the end of the route as they took a well deserved rest.

“They love pulling,” she said.

The good looking 1935 Ford pickup drawing envious stares during the parade was directing onlookers toward the Tread of Pioneers Museum with a poster advertising the block party taking place immediately after.

Max Graham was driving the classic truck, which belongs to Glenn Reiff, with his daughter and grandson in the front. Graham said his own 1947 Chevy hot rod might not have fit as well at the entrance to the Tread’s party.

The line for Routt beer floats wrapped around where Graham eventually parked the truck at the entrance to the museum’s block party. Reiff called the truck “more of a Heinz 57” because of a few updates and parts from 1936 models.

Reiff said he wasn’t one to drive in parades himself, but he’s “glad to see (his) toys out there.”

“I’m glad he trusts me to drive it,” Graham said.

The parade continued with a camel, a mariachi band, the Redneck Olympics float and a host of other groups representing the flavor of Routt County and Steamboat Springs.

As dancers from Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp rounded the corner of Sixth Street and closed the parade, the last notes of “Party in the U.S.A.” floated toward the Yampa River, and the crowd finished packing up its chairs and coolers.

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206 or email

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