4th of July Parade returns to holiday lineup

Organizers had to get creative to keep the Cowboys’ Round-Up Days celebration alive last year with a picnic and drive-through style parade. This year they return to a more traditional celebration including the downtown parade down Lincoln Avenue. (File photo by Joel Reichenberger)

The Fourth of July Parade, one of Steamboat Springs’ most cherished traditions, will return to Lincoln Avenue this summer after the city of Steamboat Springs approved a special use permit earlier this week.

“I can’t think of anything that represents what Steamboat is all about, which is families, gorgeous weather in the summertime and getting together and just celebrating our country, more than the parade,” said PJ Wharton, president of Yampa Valley Bank, a longtime sponsor of the holiday parade. “We’re thrilled that the city has approved it.”

The Steamboat Springs Chamber announced the return of the Fourth of July Parade on Tuesday morning.

“After a challenging 2020, we are looking forward to bringing the community together to celebrate,” said Steamboat Springs Chamber CEO Kara Stoller. “There is so much to be thankful for, and this is a great opportunity to honor the Yampa Valley’s rich Western heritage with lots of family fun.”

Organizers elected not to hold the event in 2020 because of the global pandemic and the fear that large crowds would spread COVID-19.

“We were incredibly disappointed,” Wharton said of not holding the event last year. “There really wasn’t any option, but it left a giant hole in the summer — not to have a Fourth of July celebration — so we’re looking forward to it.”

The Chamber did its best to get creative last summer, coming up with creative ways to keep the Cowboys’ Round-Up Days celebration alive with a picnic and drive-thru style parade.

In 2021, the parade is scheduled to take pace at 10 a.m. Sunday, July 4, along Lincoln Avenue. The parade joins a long list of returning events, including the Pro Rodeo Series, which will host four performances Thursday, July 1, through Sunday, July 4; the Lions Club Pancake Breakfast, slated to start at 7:30 a.m. before the parade; and the Jumpin’ and Jammin’ Ski Jumping Competition from noon to 3 p.m. The weekend will be capped off with a special Fourth of July Rodeo performance starting at 6:30 p.m. at Brent Romick Arena.

“We’re very excited to get back to more traditional celebrations, for sure,” said Angelica Salinas, communications coordinator for the Chamber. “We are following all CDC guidelines, recommendations and (are) encouraging people to wear a mask if they’re not vaccinated and to stay home if they’re not feeling well.”

She said the parade should look a lot like those held before the pandemic, but there may be a few modifications in an attempt to create more elbow room along Lincoln Avenue.

“We’re going to encourage social distancing, and we’re going to encourage people to wear a mask if they’re not vaccinated,” Salinas said. “We’re going to follow those CDC guidelines and make sure we effectively communicate them. But other than that, it’ll be a traditional parade.”

Groups looking to participate in the parade will be able to register a float starting Friday, June 11, on the Chamber website. Floats will be judged on originality, creativity and spirit, and the official parade theme will be announced soon.

“There isn’t a more all-American setting than a parade down Lincoln Avenue complete with local cowboys, horses, fire trucks and extravagant floats,” Wharton said. “We are proud to sponsor this family friendly event and can’t wait to see our friends, neighbors and customers along the parade route.”

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