On scene: Another year at Rio | SteamboatToday.com

On scene: Another year at Rio

When you move to a new spot, it seems as though every experience you have in the first month or so creates a memory. I remember the first conversation I had with my new roommate. I remember the first lunch I had at Winona’s. I remember my first night at the Tugboat with freshly minted friends.

And I remember last year’s anniversary party at the Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant.

It turned into a grown-up costume party. We crammed around a table and sipped margaritas, tying Jose Cuervo bandannas around our heads. We took glowing, adhesive-backed Cuervo medallions and smacked them to our faces, coats, jeans. We hooted. We hollered. We took absurd photos.

It was a silly affair.

So I was stoked to return to the same event this year. When I got up Saturday morning, I planned my day around getting to the Rio to help the restaurant celebrate its seven years. No matter what happened, I was going to do my part.

My only mistake was arriving late.

Our three-person crew made it to the Tex-Mex joint at about 9 p.m. Saturday. Rio was already shoulder-to-shoulder packed, and open tables were as scarce as twentysomethings without tequila on their breath. Bellying up to the bar was a Herculean task.

That might have been a result of the Rio’s celebration strategy. This year, the Rio partnered with KFMU and the Sunshine Kids Foundation. People were allowed to register to DJ the music and keep the party rocking.

The proceeds went to Sunshine Kids in the name of Brad and Laura Cusenbary.

I confess that I didn’t sign up to spin hot jams as a disc jockey. This didn’t seem like the Willie Nelson crowd, and someone had already requested Salt-N-Pepa’s “Shoop.” My music arsenal depleted, I headed for the margaritas.

The atmosphere was vibrant. People were decked out in golden Cuervo scarves, chatting merrily above the clamor. My crew passed a pleasant time, lounging on the stairs to the locked patio. Many friends meandered through. I walked out having made at least one new one.

On the whole, it was a tamer celebration for me. Still, I was happy to participate. The Rio’s shindig reminded me that although I’ve been here only a year, I’m part of a community – even if that community consists mostly of barflies.

– Blythe Terrell, 4 Points

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