Phoenix the dragon makes Halloween appearance |

Phoenix the dragon makes Halloween appearance

Phoenix, the newest fire-breathing dragon created by Steamboat Springs residents Gail and Charlie Holthausen, will be breathing fire at the Downtown Halloween Stroll, which takes place on Lincoln Avenue from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday.
Courtesy Photo

— Ghosts and hobgoblins might want to check to see they are wearing fire retardant costumes on Lincoln Avenue the evening of Oct. 31. Gail and Charlie Holthausen plan to wow participants in the Downtown Halloween Stroll from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday with their new fire-breathing dragon, Phoenix.

Spike, the Holthausen’s first dragon, relocated to Los Angeles earlier this year. He may have enjoyed more fame in his career, but Phoenix is bigger and better acclimated to Steamboat’s wintry climate, Charlie Holthausen said.

Spike was custom-built over the chassis of a working Nissan pickup. Holthausen is known to some as Captain Carburetor from his lengthy career in the automotive repair business. He said Phoenix was built over a larger 1997 GMC Safari van. The skeleton of the big reptile was formed from discarded trampoline frames. Gail, whose alter ego is Kismet, did the meticulous work on the dragon’s scaly skin.

Mechanically, Charlie has devised the means to drive and steer Phoenix from the roof of the Safari. In order to do that, he has welded a second steering column from an auto salvage yard onto the original column in order to extend it.

“The Phoenix was primarily made for the Burning Man Art Festival in Nevada, but we will also share him at the summer and winter festivals in Steamboat,” Captain Carburetor said. Phoenix’s flame will light a spark of delight in the hearts of children and the pyromaniac child that lives in all of us.”

Phoenix has a red-hot gig booked in Telluride this winter, where he will be on display for three nights in the midst of that ski town’s new Fire Festival Jan. 15 to 19.

“We are thrilled that Charlie and Gail will be showcasing their fabulous art car at our Fire Arts Festival,” organizer Erin Ries wrote in an email.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1

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