Winter Carnival 2013: It’s an Extravaganza
To celebrate the 100th Winter Carnival, nearly every part of this year’s Night Extravaganza has received an upgrade, including the fireworks show.
Steamboat Springs resident Tim Borden said this is the 17th year he has helped put on the fireworks show. He said the grand finale Saturday night will last the typical seven minutes, but it will be packed with twice as many fireworks. The fireworks can be seen from throughout the city, but Borden said the best viewing of the show is from the base of Howelsen Hill. From there, people will be able to see all parts of the Extravaganza, including the Lighted Man, the flaming sled jumper and the torchlight parades followed by the grand finale fireworks display that will have shells being fired from three sites.
“Rarely do you have the opportunity to get this close,” Borden said. “It’s one of the most unusual places to watch.”
Borden and his son Scott will be watching the show from above Howelsen Hill, and they have something special planned. In the fall, they buried a mortar tube that will be used to launch a firework that is 24 inches in diameter.
“They’re very unusual fireworks,” Borden said.
Borden, a fireworks manufacturer, had the 24-inch shell made at his ranch. Attached to the shell will be three other shells. It will be the last firework launched and will explode 1/2 mile above the ground in purple, yellow and red.
“People will be able to see this thing going up in the air,” Borden said.
The performance by the Lighted Man also is expected to be at least twice the show. Jon Banks, who has been the Lighted Man since 1971, has recruited his younger brother Kent to be a second Lighted Man. Their father, Claudius, started the tradition in 1936.
Two weeks before the show this year, the brothers were working in Seattle to make a second fire-resistant suit that will be covered in LED lights and shoot fireworks. They are having parts shipped to Steamboat and will finish fabrication once the brothers arrive in town.
“We’re planning on having everything work, but there always seems to be a little hiccup somewhere,” Jon Banks said. “We have a lot to do this year.”
The original suit is on display at the History Colorado Center museum in Denver. Banks will pick it up on his way to Steamboat.
Also new this year, the brothers are building lighted slalom poles that will be carried by eight skiers during the show.
The Lighted Man traditionally makes two ski runs during the Night Extravaganza.
Banks said he is excited to be part of the 100th Winter Carnival because attending it has been an uninterrupted tradition.
“I’ve been there every single year of my life,” Banks said. “That’s exciting.”
The night’s events start at 6:15 p.m. with athletes doing an exhibition of the sports they participate in at the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. The program begins at 7 p.m. with an introduction of Steamboat Olympians along with the Winter Carnival queen and court. The main fireworks show should start by 8 p.m.
For those who want to keep the party rolling, an afterparty is being held from 8 to 10 p.m. in a heated tent at the base of Howelsen Hill. There will be a bonfire, music and food and beverages for sale.
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