Steamboat’s Fourth of July parade, fireworks display bring bang to Independence Day
Steamboat Springs — The sirens started promptly at 10 a.m., causing some of the hundreds of children sitting along the curb on Lincoln Avenue gripping American flags to scoot forward and look anxiously to the northwest, where a convoy of fire engines kicked off Steamboat Springs’ annual Fourth of July Parade.
Behind them were clusters of horses, classic red Corvettes and white sports cars that complemented the day’s color scheme, and even a dragon car that periodically blew smoke to cheers from the thousands gathered to celebrate Independence Day.
Walking toward the front and carrying the flag of the Civil Air Patrol, Steamboat Springs High School sophomore Garrett Pohlman said the march through town was exciting and fun, but also an honor.
“I was proud to be able to walk with other branches of our military and to represent my peers,” he said, adding that he hopes to someday be a pilot in the armed forces.
His father, Greg, said their family spent the rest of the day enjoying being outside and visiting with relatives, all while remembering the spirit of the holiday.
“One of the meanings of the Fourth is celebrating our independence and supporting our troops,” he said. “It’s been a great day so far.”
While some thought about the historical meaning of the holiday during the festivities, others simply enjoyed the candy throwing, water balloon tossing, and dancing that swept quickly through the crowd on Lincoln Avenue as the parade progressed.
In between her many trips to collect the candy that had spilled onto the streets, Samantha Klein, 4, was content petting the goats, horses and dogs that strolled by, and 7-year-old Cooper Rhoads was carefully eyeing each float that passed, waiting to toss a water balloon at an unsuspecting parade-goer.
“I’m going to throw it at someone that’s open,” he said without taking his eyes off the parade.
Rolling through the parade on her unicycle, Stacey Gibbons high-fived spectators as she celebrated her 57th birthday on the 30th anniversary of her first ride in Steamboat’s parade.
“My birthday is on the Fourth of July, and I wanted to act like I wasn’t my true age,” said Gibbons, who was wearing red, white and blue face paint, oversized blue star sunglasses and a USA tiara. “The reason I love this parade so much is that so many people know me. I like listening to people in the crowd yell ‘Happy birthday’ as I ride by.”
After the parade, hundreds of spectators walked over to Tread of Pioneers Museum to enjoy Routt beer floats, and free admission to the museum, all while listening to a swing band.
Others went the other direction, to picnic at Howelsen Hill and watch ski jumping.
Kara Givnish, the Steamboat Springs Chamber and Resort Association’s special events director, said 61 groups participated in the parade that lasted about an hour and a half.
“There were smiles on everyone’s faces,” she said. “This is one of my favorite events that we put on every year.”
Some spectators said they’ve noticed Steamboat’s parade, a longtime tradition in the Yampa Valley, change slightly every year as it brings in more spectators.
“We used to say there were more horses than people in town, but today there were a lot more kids in the crowd than we’ve seen,” Jane Stein said after the parade. “It shows how family oriented this town is.”
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It was a love story that brought Jason Erwin to Steamboat Springs from Nashville, Tennessee.