Making memories at Steamboat’s Fourth of July celebrations

Nicole Inglis
Gracie Piret, 3, of Steamboat, hands out candy from her bicycle during Wednesday's Fourth of July Parade in downtown Steamboat Springs. Sixty floats rolled down Lincoln Avenue during the annual celebration.
Nicole Inglis

— At three years old, Gracie Piret, was making a memory for life.

As she rolled down Lincoln Avenue on her purple bicycle, she threw out pieces of candy from her little white basket to the throngs of shrieking children and smiling adults lining the streets for the Steamboat Springs Fourth of July Parade on Wednesday.

Her mother, Nicole Piret, also grinned from ear to ear has she helped push her daughter along on her first parade bike ride.

“It’s fun memories for the kids,” Piret said. “They can remember growing up in a small town and being in the Fourth of July Parade.”

She said her family was looking forward to heading to the alpine slide at Howelsen Hill after the parade and going to a friend’s barbecue.

And other families in the crowd Wednesday also didn’t seem to be unnerved by the cancellation of the town’s fireworks display because of high fire danger.

In fact, thousands poured into downtown on a hot and hazy morning, crowding downtown businesses as 60 floats cruised by for more than an hour and a half.

Standing on the side of the parade eager for more candy-laden floats were six children in matching tie-dyed red, white and blue shirts. They were from the Tenney and Mulligan families who traveled to Steamboat from Parker for the holiday.

Although 11-year-old Preston Tenney said his favorite part of the holiday is usually the fireworks, he was really excited to go to the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series later in the day.

“It’s a fun day,” he said.

The families also planned to go to the alpine slide.

“We just came because it was the middle of the week and we could get away for a few days,” said Lisa Mulligan, who brought her three children with her. “We’re really excited for the rodeo.”

“This is such a fun small town,” said Preston’s mother Ashley Tenney.

Right after the parade, crowds streamed into Eighth Street for the Pioneer Day Block Party hosted by the Tread of Pioneers museum.

The annual event has offered music, traditional games, “Routt Beer Floats” and free museum admission since its inception in 2000.

Museum executive director Candice Bannister, dressed in a traditional white lace dress and parasol, said the party has become a holiday custom.

“Things are great, we’ve got a big crowd,” she said. “I think my favorite part is everybody getting together and celebrating the holiday and highlighting the museum.

“We’ve made a tradition of it.”

Hailing from Nashville, Sara Wilkinson was visiting Steamboat with her family to visit friends who live in the Yampa Valley. Her two daughters, Hart, 9, and Suzanna, 7, got to ride on one of the floats in the parade.

“We just felt like coming here to such a beautiful place,” Hart explained as she played with a few historic toys at the Tread of Pioneers Museum.

Sara Wilkinson said she wasn’t disappointed at all in the loss of the fireworks show; the replacement activity was more up her alley.

“We’re excited for the concert,” she said. “Really excited. My girls like to dance.”

To reach Nicole Inglis, call, 970-871-4204 or email

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